Kathleen (Leena) Hurrell, an instructor in our Independent Artist Program, shares some songwriting tips on how to write relatable lyrics that will span diverse audiences and be authentic to you.

One of the biggest misconceptions in songwriting is that the more general your lyrics are, the more widely relatable your song will be. Hearing this rings alarm bells through every fiber of my being. If someone tries to get you to buy into this, RUN AWAY!!!!! RUN FAR AWAY!!!!!!!
The truth is that, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, the more detailed your lyrics are, the more widely relatable your song will be.
Listeners invest in artists they feel a deep, personal connection to. Surface-level generalities might be agreeable, sure, but they don’t touch the soul. They leave zero opportunity for that moment that we all crave when listening to a song: hearing lyrics that make us go, “Holy sh*t, this is exactly how I feel. It’s like they’re reading my mind.” It’s the uncanny specificities, the vivid vulnerabilities, that make us feel we’re not alone.
Musicians in recording studio
Embracing the power of detailed lyrics can be the difference between someone just saving your single on Spotify and following you on Spotify. It can be the difference between just knowing the name of your song and knowing your name. It can be the difference between just following you on Instagram and buying every piece of merch you ever release. It can be the difference between making it or breaking it.
So get down and dirty with the details. Explain to us not what you feel, but how you feel. Evoke the senses. Bring in sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings. Bring in internal sensations and physical reactions. Bring them to life with metaphors, make ’em shine with similes. Make your verse lines so personally visceral that you feel like you’ve gone too deep. Strike a nerve, wrench the heart, touch the soul.

If you’re interested in more songwriting tips like these, please make sure to check out our Independent Artist program! Starting in January, we will be offering our Certificate in Independent Artist Development through MI Online. Check out more information here.

Musicians Institute is the leader in contemporary music education offering certificates to Masters degrees in programs spanning instrument performance, electronic production, music business, and everything in between.

For more information on all programs offered, please visit here: mi.edu/programs/

For more information on MI Online programs, please visit here: mi.edu/programs/mi-online/

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