That one word single-handedly changed my musical career.
It's a concept that took years (literally) to sink in and accept. It's one I still grapple with. But it's also the one that helped to change everything. Let me explain:
Years ago I was in L.A. spending time with a guy who was helping me write better songs. This particular guy has written numerous hits in multiple genres, and he was taking me under his wing. We were "driving" the 409 (a/k/a stuck in bumper to bumper traffic!) and he told me to put on my latest CD. He said, "don't turn it up. Don't touch the EQ. This is how A&R guys are gonna' hear it."
So we're driving along and I'm waiting for him to come unglued. I mean, I'm thinking, 'yep - hit after hit,' or something foolish like that! On occasion he nods his head, or tilts it slightly to one side while possibly releasing what could be interpreted as a slight grin; but other than that, nothing.
CD gets done - nothing.
So we head to a taco joint and sit down to eat. And he says....
"Listen, you have diamonds. There's no doubt. Diamonds."
I'm thinking, "OMG, is he really saying this? Ferrarri's, mansions, private jets..."
(Geo's, double-wides, greyhounds...)
"You need to polish them."
Crash, bang, boom. Huh? What? But I thought I had diamonds??!!
He continued, "It's as if you pull a diamond out of the dirt, but never polish it."
Fast forward a few years...
I think I finally get what he was saying! There's the art of songwriting...pulling the song 'out of the ground.' Whether or not is a diamond is not the point here - (BTW, most are NOT!)
But the craft of writing is the polishing process. It's removing the impurities. It's making it shine!
How does that translate to writing?
- Analyze the lyric. Does your story make sense? Are all the tenses correct? Is there tension that the chorus resolves? Does each line stand on its own? Does each line push to the hook? Is the hook original (google it)? You get the idea.
- Analyze the melody. Is is current? Is it fresh and original? Is it memorable? Is it easy? Does it fit the mood of the lyric? Does it fit the the mood of the music? Is it consistent?
Analyze the music. Repeat aforementioned analysis.
Polishing is tweaking. Polishing is also re-writing. Polishing is refining.
Polishing is GOOD!
Some of you may be wondering, "I get the polish concept, but HOW do I pull out diamonds?'
- Learn how to dig!
- Get the right tools! (TAXI provides an extensive list of diamond mining materials)
- Put yourself in the right spot! You don't just dig anywhere!
- Start digging.
- Keep digging.
- Find others who will help you dig and dig together.
TAXI helps you with each step pf this journey. If you're just beginning, they will guide you and teach you to become better (if you're willing to learn.) If you're established, TAXI will refine your skill set and develop your ability to regularly write good songs. Even if you're already a great writer, TAXI will make you better!
If our goal is to write songs that make it in the commercial market, songs that speak to the masses and connect with them emotionally; then we must embrace the polish.
I don't work for TAXI, but TAXI works for me!
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