The making of a song – 5 Songwriters share their methods

With experience ranging from solo projects to writing music for film and television, 5 singer/songwriters share their biggest pieces of advice.

“Write what you know.”

Elizabeth Royall

“When I started writing from what I know, it made it so much easier for me to write and love what I was writing. I always write a paragraph analyzing the song as if I were doing an “Official Lyrics and Meaning” video for Genius. This allows me to ensure that all the lyrics appropriately tell the story I want to share. Remember that being a songwriter is also being a storyteller.”

Elizabeth Royall is an indie/pop singer-songwriter based in Ottawa, Ontario. She first became interested in music around the age of 4, when her older sister started teaching her to sing. With influences such as Sasha Sloan, Renforshort, Melanie Martinez, Lennon Stella and Billie Eilish, Elizabeth looks forward to releasing original music that reflects her own personal struggles and growth in the coming year. Follow her on Instagram at @elizabethroyallmusic.

“Visualize the environment the story lives in”

Calista Garcia

“The first thing I do when starting a song is that I try to visualize what environment this story lives in, usually dictated by how associations I make with what I’m feeling. I tend to start with lyrics, though not a full lyric, just a couple lines, then I go into chord feel/flow, but it’s all based on that imagery I’ve established.”

Calista Garcia is an indie folk-rock singer-songwriter with a style that harkens back to ’70s classic acts such as Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell, but with a fresh modern twist. Her debut EP “Wild Woman” (2019) garnered a nomination for “Best Roots/Country EP” in the 2020 Independent Music Awards. Calista also writes for film/television and the stage, having completed her second classic-rock inspired musical, Crystal Skies, which is a 2020 semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference. Instagram | Facebook

Let other music inspire you!

Jónína Aradóttir

“It is different, I usually start strumming my guitar and I have the chorus, then the rest comes. Or I also get inspired listening to other music while running, biking, hiking. Then lyrics from my own life somehow come out over the song I’m listening to. I write them down and when home I make a different melody. Or I’ve been trying to write about something in my life for some time and suddenly it just comes in 20 minutes, lyrics and melody.”

Jonina Aradottir is a singer/songwriter who gets her drive from the rural countryside of Iceland and will take you for a ride in her stories and songs which combine hints of Pop, Rock, Country and Blues. Jonina studied guitar, live studio/concert recording, and mixing in Denmark for one year in Den Rytmiske Hojskole and in 2010 she moved to LA where she studied Vocal and art development at the Musicians Institute and the Independent Artist program 3 years later. Jonina released her second album, ‘Remember’, in the Fall 2017 and has followed the album with live concerts around Europe since. Jonina is now living in Norway where she continues to work in music. Find out more about Jonina and her music at Instagram | Facebook

Songwriting as a daily journal

Stephanie Heitz

“Sometimes feelings surface during the songwriting process that I didn’t even realize I was experiencing. I constantly use the Voice Memos app on my phone to record ideas for melodies and lyrics should creativity strike when I’m away from home.

Songwriting has truly been a saving grace in my life! While some may turn to alcohol, food, shopping, or some other means to fill up during the tough times in life, I grab a notepad and sit in front of my keyboard.

I’m not afraid to be vulnerable with my song lyrics because this is the kind of material people really connect with. One of the greatest joys for me is receiving feedback from listeners who find my music relatable, uplifting, or even healing. I would tell aspiring artists to try writing a song from a place of deep emotion. Play around with different chord progressions on your instrument of choice, and see if something moves you. Not only will the lyrics be powerful & relatable, but you’ll feel so much better after letting your feelings surface.”

Stephanie Heitz is a gospel/pop/rnb singer/songwriter based out of southern Indiana. Influenced by her jazz musician grandmother, some of Stephanie’s earliest musical memories include sharing a piano bench with her “Mimi” and harmonizing to classic tunes for hours. Stephanie’s heart and passion is almost tangible when she sings and performs which she does frequently at special events like weddings and in the worship band at her church. In recent years, she discovered her love of songwriting, which eventually led to the release of her debut EP in 2019 followed by a number of singles in 2020. Instagram | Facebook | Spotify

When co-writing, “Bond and find common ground”

Colton and Dani of Ni/Co

“Our first writing session was actually before we knew each other super well, so we spent a lot of that session talking and bonding and finding common ground which helped show us we worked really well together. After that, we just use every time we write as an opportunity to fine tune our craft and our workflow. It’s different every single time, so we try to never stifle the way a song comes out!”

Ni/Co a pop/rnb duo has created + written with producers in Nashville, London + LosAngeles. With over 80 gigs under their belt, they have gained an insatiable passion to perform. Ni/Co’s music has been featured on several official Spotify playlists including multiple ‘New Music Fridays’. Their music has been on various networks including The CW, VH1, NBC, BET, and Freeform. They’ve also had music used in major promos for ‘World of Dance’ and ‘The Today Show’, and ad campaigns for Ralph Lauren and Spotify. Instagram | YouTube | Facebook

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