When it comes to songwriting and producing, many people don’t realize how hard it is to start a song, let alone finish one. However, we’re here to help you through this process.
The start of a song can define the rest of the track and will often give the listener an idea of how the rest of the song is going to sound. Keeping someone interested is only half of the process, first, you have to get their attention.
People’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter nowadays, so the best thing to do when starting a song is to get their attention. A lot of famous musicians will often talk at the start of their tune, just to add a splash of personality to their track.
However, many others will opt for a good bassline or some drums to ensure that the song starts in the right tone for what the listener will want to hear.
There are a few different ways to choose, it all comes down to whether you’d prefer a quick start or a slower introduction into the rest of the song. When writing lyrics to a song, many people will often try to come up with a hook or part of a verse first.
If you can do this, then you can choose an introduction or a start to your song that matches the tone and tempo of what you want your track to sound like.
Alternatively, you can start slowly and use anticipation to get your listeners on the edges of their seats. This will make them want to keep listening and will encourage them to give the song a good listen before judging the track.
Creating anticipation will get the listener to want to find out where the song kicks in or where the tempo picks up.
If you can find the balance between leaving the listener balanced on a thread before getting bored, then it’s likely that your song will be off to a successful start.
You see with lots of successful rappers over the years that despite the time when the song was recorded, the technique stays the same.
For example, Eminem’s timeless classic ‘Lose Yourself’ starts with a slow piano tune before jumping in with the electric guitar to set the pace and the tone for the song.
However, the slow start keeps people waiting for the kick rather than boring them, with the song going on to be one of the most recognized rap songs of all time.
Alternatively, you can look even further back to the all-time classic song by AC/DC, Thunderstruck. The song starts with the riff that is seen throughout the backing of the whole song.
Although the track seems to get off to a slower start before the vocals and the drums kick in, the riff sets the tone for the rest of the track and will keep the listener waiting for the rest of the song to catch up with the guitar. This brings us to our next point.
Make It Catchy
Because people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter nowadays, it’s always useful to make sure that you catch your audience’s attention as soon as you can.
By creating a catchy tune with an instrument or starting with some vocals that are easy to sing along to, you’re making sure that you establish a connection with your listeners.
Looking back at another famous artist, Bob Marley, you can see the efforts he made to make the song catchy and worthy enough of singing along.
It takes a good musician to make a good song, but it takes a great musician to bring their whole audience together to sing one tune.
With regards to how to make it catchy, you can always have a repetitive beat that gets stuck in someone’s head. Whenever you hear someone complaining about a song being ‘stuck in their head’, all it means is that the song is being replayed over and over.
Nothing bad about that! On top of this, you can start with some lyrics that rhyme in a certain way or in a certain pitch that will make the listener want to sing along at home. Get these two things going and your song is off to a great start.
Sampling Famous Lyrics
Of course, if you can get the rights to some lyrics for sampling in your song, then this is a popular technique that many musicians will use.
For example, once again mentioning Eminem, uses famous samples in a lot of his songs, like ‘Changes’ by Black Sabbath and ‘What is Love (Don’t Hurt Me)’ by Robert Aguirre in the same album, ‘Recovery’.
This will have a lot of listeners who are fans of the original song wait to hear the rest of the song’ they’ll do this because they’re curious as to whether you’ve done the original song any justice, or because they like the original version of the song.
Make It Your Own!
Finally, it’s important to say that you have to make the song your own. Show the listeners that you’re worth listening to and that you’re not another random artist.
By making yourself stand out, you’re giving your audience a reason to talk about you, giving them a topic of conversation.
Famous rapper Lil Wayne will often start his tracks with the sound of a lighter and smoking. This seems random, but lots of people will recognize the start of his songs before the rest of the track has even come into the picture.
On top of this, have fun! You can tell when a songwriter and musician has put their heart and soul into their music, which makes a huge difference when it comes to the overall sound of the song.
When a singer or rapper doesn’t have their full attention in a song, it’s clear to see and hear. So make sure that you enjoy yourself and believe in yourself!
When starting a song, at the end of the day you want it to hear how you’ve pictured in previous visions. However, these techniques are more like guidelines. If you can hit a few of them whilst writing and composing a song, then you’re off to a good start.
However, if you feel like your song needs to go in a different direction, then this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just make sure that you can hear your personality shining through the lyrics and the instrumentals so that your listeners have a connection to make with you.