Bonnie Hayes talks songwriting for Bonnie Raitt (and winning a Grammy for it), touring with Bob Seger, playing keys for Billy Idol, and being blown away by the Sex Pistols in 1978, and how all of that led to her coming to teach at Berklee College of Music and Berklee Online.
To find songwriting remedies for our chord progression difficulties, we often need to start by defining the problems. Here are four ways songwriters describe feeling ‘stuck’ when it comes to writing better chord progressions.
Chords are a driving element of many songs. When we’ve got four elements of songwriting to manipulate (melody, chords, lyrics, and groove), it’s natural to credit them or blame them for a successful song. But how do we songwriters find and use great chords?
Continue the process of writing each day, limiting your time to just 30 to 40 minutes. This limitation helps create a no-excuse mentality, and I personally find it comforting to know that I don’t have to invest several hours of my day in order to do my part in allowing ideas to flow.
PODCAST EPISODE 030: Songwriter Chip Taylor Discusses ‘Wild Thing,’ Hendrix, ‘Angel of the Morning,’ Shaggy, and More
Chip Taylor wrote “Wild Thing.” He really doesn’t need to write any more songs. But that doesn’t mean he’s showing any signs of stopping. He’s got a new album out, and is eager to discuss everything leading up to this moment on this edition of the Music Is My Life podcast.
We songwriters borrow from those who came before us. We take a groove we like, we’re inspired by a sample, we think in terms of a particular vocal quality or use a chord progression from another song and write something new over it. We keep one foot planted in what we know already works, so the rest of us can let loose over top.