You may have noticed that many musicians can play and write it all, taking on roles from engineer to composer to fill-in trombonist, yet many musicians say that they cannot write lyrics, even if they can sing. In our opinion, this is simply uncharted territory. Lyrics are difficult because they can be easily translated by the listener, arguably putting the writer in a vulnerable position of being fully emotionally exposed, while the art of the instrument is more abstract.
Take the pressure off of yourself and try to get unserious. Lyrics are supposed to be able to reflect a wide range of emotions, this includes the range of trying hard to go with the flow. One way to embody the easy-going, carefree ambience and lifestyle that will translate into your lyrics is to stop taking things so seriously. One method in seeing this in real time is to view your lyric writing in a more conversational format.
If you feel at a loss for words, it may be helpful to mumble a melody and to first lock in the notes of your verses and choruses. Lyrics can come to you. Many of us were raised to not be open with our feelings and our emotions
Have you heard of the term “Free Writing” This is where the creative “writes continuously for a set period of time without worrying about rhetorical concerns or conventions and mechanics, sometimes working from a specific prompt provided by a teacher” It is suggested to give yourself a time limit, start small and set a timer. Keep your hand in motion until the alarm rings. Do not allow your mind to wander. This is where full sentences are key, but you don’t need to pay attention or worry about grammar, punctuation or any specifics like that. This is where you’re free to let your mind wander. Be you as you are.
Find inspiration in new places. Reading poetry, watching foreign films, spending the day at a museum getting lost in the many forms of art - all of this will awaken the lyricist within you just waiting to get out. Attending an event such as a poetry slam, or perhaps a concert of a genre that typically wouldn’t listen to, will help to open your eyes and ears to see the different ways that people are able to twist phrasing, pronunciations, accents and beyond. One word can take on so many different meanings.
Have you ever looked into the many layers within rap lyrics? The depths and double, sometimes, triple meanings can often be overlooked. Some listen to a favorite song of theirs for years and sometimes it will take forever until it hits them - the lyrics that they have loved for so long actually mean something much different, something much deeper.
Ultimately, letting go is the key, as usual! You’ve got to let your mind wander. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how all you really need to do is become as effortless as possible. This is especially easy after you learn the basics and beyond. Have you ever heard the quote by Pablo Picasso “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”? Once you’ve got all those rules in place in your mind, if you can then take the time to unlearn them all, they’ll still be embedded in your thinking, still affecting your skills and bringing them to that next level - but without trying so hard.