Song Writing Tips from Usher
Usher, a music industry titan, finds songwriting inspiration
everywhere. Usher offers advice on navigating a songwriting rut, overcoming
writer's block, and writing personal songs.
Usher Raymond IV, better known as Usher, is an R&B
singer who has won eight Grammy Awards and has captivated audiences for over
twenty-five years. The singer-songwriter cites Prince and Michael Jackson as
major influences while developing his own brand of R&B and hip hop that has
resulted in Billboard-topping songs.
5 Song writing Tips from Usher
Whether it's your first time writing or you want to try
something different in your next song, use Usher's music and lyrical ideas to
get out of your comfort zone and write great songs:
1. Being open promotes creativity. To get the creative
juices flowing, the songwriting process necessitates emotional vulnerability.
"It's great to be vulnerable," Usher says. "Confessions was
probably the first time I let myself be completely vulnerable." The second
time I was completely dedicated and vulnerable in my conviction of where I was
at the time was with Here I Stand."
2. Collaboration can result in new ideas.
"Collaboration begins with admiration and appreciation for the work of an
artist or a producer," Usher says. Reach out to musicians you admire;
their talent may inspire you. Invite them to a brainstorming session, swap
samples, and see if there is an opportunity to feature each other in your
songs. Collaboration is a great way to break out of a songwriting rut.
3. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Song topics range
from love songs to breakup songs to party songs and everything in between.
Artists' work is frequently inspired by real-life situations. "Inspiration
always comes from the most [real] places," Usher says. "As a father,
I was writing songs to my children, [and] I was writing songs for my
marriage," he says.
4. Determine what distinguishes you. People want to hear
that there is only one of you: Don't feel obligated to mimic the sound or style
of others. Celebrate your unique qualities and bring them to the table.
"In artistry, individuality is everything," Usher says. "You
must determine what your brand is."
5. Turn adversity into a hit song. Usher riffs on the
Oscar-winning film Kramer vs. Kramer, starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep,
in the song "Raymond vs. Raymond." "I've discussed with you the
ability to pull references or ideas to create the story. "'Raymond vs.
Raymond' came at a very tumultuous and difficult time in my life," Usher
explains. "I took inspiration from Kramer vs. Kramer to create 'Raymond
vs. Raymond.'" You know, walking away from a relationship is difficult,
but it's also enlightening; you draw from some of the bad things that have