How to Write Lyrics to Music

For many songwriters who began playing music before writing it, music comes more easily than lyrics.  We have loads of musical bits lying around without any lyric.  When we try to write the words, we have trouble saying what we want to say in the space of our melody.  The result is lots of unfinished songs.

So what can we do?  Below are some tutorials offering tips to writing lyrics to your original music.  I hope you find at least a few of these tools generate some momentum for you, and help you finish more of your songs.

Another consider is the stress pattern of the melody, which we’ll need to match with our lyric stress patterns.  This tutorial skims the surface of this element of songwriting.  To really begin to master this tool, I suggest Berklee Online’s course ‘Writing Lyrics to Music.’

The harmonies we write carry with them an emotional tone.  That tone can suggest imagery and language.  Below are some tips to harnessing that tone and generating lyric ideas from it.

Sometimes our job is to write lyric and melody to a track or harmonic progression.  It can feel limiting to be confined to a harmonic progression or emotion of a track, but it can also be freeing as we focus entirely on how to use melody and lyric to their best potential.

Thank you for watching, and happy writing!


Sweet is the Hunnypot

Recently we took our small group of writers and artists to visit the good people who run Hunnypot, a publishing and licensing company that runs a popular ‘variety show’ at the Mint in Los Angeles every other Monday night. Up a rickety flight of stairs behind the club was their office, complete with vintage couches and velvet walls adorned with the autographed head-shots of the slew of legendary artists who have showcased there over the years.


John Anderson, creator of Hunnypot and long-time music industry veteran, sat down with our group and described what makes their company tick and keeps their passion glowing.

Hunnypot staff

“It’s all about the music. If we like a band’s sound, if we can dance to it, we’ll do whatever we can to get their name and their music out there.”

John and his crew talked awhile about their show, describing it as a cocktail of great vibes that settled on no particular genre. And they were right. Coctails in hand, we were taken right through the 80’s, 90’s and well into this decade with a female DJ who had just finished her latest EP. The night finished with a beat-boxer just after the highlight of the show, Young Creatures, a band newly signed by Hunnypot.


If there’s one thing I felt walking out of the Hunnypot meeting and show, John and his Hunnypot crew are fired up about bringing great music to the surface. They are passionate about speaking out about the rights of songwriters, and active in legislation surrounding writers’ royalties. I have no doubt that they listen to all the music that crosses their desks, if presented in an appealing and appropriate manner.  Listen to their live radio show or peruse their archives and get a sense for the wide range of music they enjoy.  You never know, yours may be their next big find.

Thank you, John and the Hunnypot crew, for keeping the music alive. For anyone who finds himself in Los Angeles on any given Monday, this show is worth checking out.

Simple Tools for Writing Melody

In this video, I talk about two important melodic tools: ‘motive‘ and ‘repetition.’ Most melodies we know and love use these two tools in predictable patterns.  The patterns help us to write more accessible songs.  After writing ‘in’ the box of accessibility, we understand better when we can write ‘outside’ that box, too.

I hope this video helps you feel more confident as you write melody and harmony.  Happy writing!