The main ingredient that distinguishes a perfectly respectable “album cut” from a hit song is the presence of a killer hook. But if hooks like that were so easy to create, we’d all be millionaires! How can you enhance the impact of your songs’ hooks to appeal to both audiences and the People Behind Desks? Read on!
To make this article more useful, gather up your 3 strongest or most recent titles, forbes hooks or choruses, so that you can apply what we’re discussing to the “real world” of your material.
Tap Into Your Personal Experiences For “Nuggets of Truth”
It’s my firm belief that the old adage, “write what you know” is applicable to songwriting as well as prose. Although some of us prefer to believe we can write about anyone and anything, our most meaningful and successful songs usually spring from “real life” experiences, and our responses to, and interpretations of, those experiences. Each day we spend on the planet, observed through the prism of songwriting, offers innumerable creative possibilities. The seeds of brilliant songs often lie just beneath the surface, apkdnews but the writer must be willing to nurture their growth.
Let’s say you’re starting with a blank slate: germ of an idea brewing, recording device turned on, and instrument, voice or blank page ready and waiting. How do you go about extracting the proverbial Killer Hook from your precious “nuggets of truth”:
o First, ask: what is true, real, home4cloud intensely felt RIGHT NOW in your life? Be attentive to those flickers of realization, your “aha! moments.”
o What experiences do you have a burning yearning to share?
o What contribution do you want to make to the world?
o What makes your angle on life unique, compelling, interesting?
o In the movie “Walk The Line,” Sam Phillips asks Johnny Cash what song he’d sing if he was dying in a ditch on the side of the road and only had 3 minutes left. What hook would you sing in that situation?
o How can you arrange words and/or musical notes to get your “soul” down in song?
o Get crazy, be bold, bare your deepest truth or your silliest notion.
o Your job as a songwriter is to express what others can’t express. Go overboard!
Now take a few minutes and blurt out what comes up for you. Really dig in there and fearlessly sing, write or play something, anything, as long as it rings true. This is a great exercise to try any time you have 10 minutes to spare.
Next, start to put that spark of inspiration into song form. Stay connected with the essence of your personal experience as you begin to experiment with lyrics and music.
Ways to Enhance the Impact of Your Song’s Hook(s)
In the Verse/Chorus song form — the most common form these days — the chorus, and especially the hook, is where you “deliver the goods.” It’s the equivalent to the summation to the jury, the punch line of the joke, the revelation on the mountaintop. Every verse, every pre-chorus, every bridge, every line and every note leads up to this ultimate payoff. A great hook (and chorus) is packed full of meaning, fun, passionate intensity… or all three! It can’t be overemphasized that your hook has to really Rock Their World. But first, it has to rock YOURS. It has to ring true to you.