In this how-to guide, we will assume that you’ve got all of the songwriting basics and structuring covered, and you are looking to take your songwriting to the next level.
We have curated some of the best tips from award-winning artists leading by example in the charts. Unfortunately, we can’t help you find your signature indie sound, but we can give you the best pointers when it comes to how to write indie music that catches on and becomes meaningful to the masses.
How to Write Indie Music: 5 Top Tips
- Start with Lyrical Sincerity and Build From It.
Do you want to create a hit song, or do you want to encase raw emotion in a hook-filled, euphoria driving track that will resonate with people on a massive scale? If you’re in the first camp, change your attitude to indie. Pop artists may be able to get away with insincerity, but in indie, it stinks. For artists aiming for candid lyricism, start by writing a poem without a major focus on syllable patterns or end rhymes. Let the emotion flow before you start thinking about how the verses will form and how the vocal melodies will sound. In other words, write with your heart, edit with your mind.
- Give Your Track Entrancing Elements
Some indie tracks, you can’t help dancing to them – or at least physically appeasing rhythmic pulses by bobbing your head or tapping your feet, and that is no coincidence. Just think about the most enlivening tracks by New Order, Keiser Chiefs, The Killers, The Smiths etc. Whatever your indie brand is, you can always put a hypnotic groove behind it.
- Check Your Vibe Before You Head to the Studio
This tip isn’t just the usual new-age hippy ‘good vibes only’ toxic rhetoric; the vibe of your single really does matter. Always pay attention to your mood while you are writing and recording the single. Make sure your emotions are in line with what you are conveying. If you want to create an upbeat track, if you’re overly earnest in the process of writing and production, your listeners will instantly know about it.
- Accept That Not Every Song You Write Has to Work
Do chart-topping, award-winning songwriters record every single that they write? No. Why? Because some tracks are better than others, and it is not until songs are finished that a songwriter can see if it’s a real gem or not. This process of writing songs to discard them may sound like a waste of time and talent, but it’s anything but. With each new song written, something new can be learnt along the way, and songwriters only become great via experience.
- Allow Your Song to Evolve in the Writing Process
If you’ve had an idea for your next song, don’t get too attached to the aural dream you initially had once you get to work on it. Some songs feel like the easiest jigsaw puzzle in the world to piece together, while others feel like an intricate and explorative process, and you may as well be learning how to defuse bombs. The trick is to allow your song to evolve as you get closer to finalising it. You can always return to your initial idea if it doesn’t pan out.
If you have an indie demo that you’d like to get in the ears of an experienced A&R team, submit your music to our new indie music blog for a full, fair and thoughtful dissection of your track.