Make It Happen 9 – Andrew Murray on songwriting

In the latest instalment of Make It Happen we hear from Andrew Murray, who as part of production/songwriting team The Snowflakers has achieved great success, producing over 100 records and having more than 50 written songs released worldwide. Among these were two Top 5 and two Top 10 singles in the UK, Top 10 singles in Australia, Korea and Japan, and No 1 singles in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and South Africa, as well as numerous album cuts internationally. Andrew has worked with names such as Craig David, Cathy Dennis, The Underdogs & Gary Barlow. Remix credits include Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Leona Lewis, Natasha Bedingfield and Shayne Ward.

He chats to M about his take on songwriting.
  • Its ALL about the simplicity of the lyrical and melodic hook. Get the listener repeating it from chorus 2 and you are on to a winner.
  • Don’t settle for second best. If you have a chorus that sounds really strong, but deep down you know it isn’t the one, try using it for a bridge or a verse.. That way, you will push yourself into writing a  chorus that is even stronger, and probably get the result you were after.
  • We have some amazing session singers in the UK. However, be aware that great demo singers are generally much better than most pop artists that you will work with. Great singers can paper over cracks in your material, and frighten popstars to death!!.. Make sure the song would still sound like a hit with your Gran singing it. Unless, of course, your Gran happens to be Gladys Knight.
  • Be cautious with production. Always write the song first. Great songs should stand up with just a vocal, piano or guitar… Production should only be used as a tool. Again, if your song works in many different clothes, you will have more chance of it succeeding.
  • Don’t rush it. Take some time to digest the idea. It’s easy sometimes with time schedules the way they are nowadays to simply make do with what you have at the end of a day’s writing. It’ll be ready when it’s ready, and there’s nothing worse than listening back to your old songs and realising there was a great idea there, but it never cut through because it didn’t get the attention it needed.
  • Always have some ideas in the reserve tank before you write with someone. That way, worst case scenario, you’ll have a good starting place for some inspiration. It can be really hard sometimes to write with someone you have only known for 5 minutes, so be prepared.
  • Don’t get too bogged down with a brief. They can often hamper more than they help, and make the whole process contrived. All of us are guilty of writing a bad version of Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head! Briefs are obviously there for a good reason, but try to come at it from a different angle. A lot of people in this industry don’t actually know what they want until they hear it…!

www.andrewmurraymusic.com

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