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Writing by Ayla

  1. Finish it. Songwriting seems to come in three waves for me: starting the song, the struggle in the middle where you think you should scrap it, and the final product where it usually turns out okay. I think it’s important to push through the hard middle part (a good analogy for life in general, cause there’s usually hard parts you should push through), and get to a finished product – even if you do hate it in the end, at least you proved to yourself that you can finish a song, and you get to feel the success of having a completed product.


  1. It’s cool to try different approaches. Sometimes I like to make it a bit of a puzzle and approach the song with a hyper-pop lens – trying to keep to a super rigid structure and rhyming pattern. Sometimes I like to do the complete opposite and experiment with a random kind of arrangement/weird additional bars/time signature change or whatever. Sometimes I write on guitar, sometimes to track. It’s good to mix it up and keep it interesting.


  1. The story. For me, the lyrics are the most import part of songwriting. This varies for different artists, but for me, I like to focus on what the song is saying through the lyrics. If I’m trying to express something, then I’ll put that as a higher priority than sticking to any rigid structure, chord pattern or rhyme scheme – even adding random extra bars to fit in the words that I feel are important to say. It’s great to go back through and refine the completed work, to make sure you’re articulating in the most concise way, while still being descriptive.


  1. Write a bunch of songs. They say you become a professional after 10,000 hours at your craft. That’s a lot of songs! I like to write when I feel inspired to do it, but sometimes I’ll try to write – pick up the guitar and fiddle around – and just find I’m not in the mood. It’s good to keep going back to it as regularly as you can though, even if it doesn’t turn into a masterpiece, it’s still another step closer to your 10,000 hours, and every line along the way is a learning experience.


  1. Write from the heart. I remember learning about method acting in high school drama class, a technique where you learn to identify with a character from drawing upon your own similar experiences to convey relevant emotions. I often think about this in songwriting, whether the song is more literal, loosely based on my experiences, or even a completely fictional tale; I think it is very important to be able to connect with the emotion in the song.

Ayla’s single Bitterness is out now.

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