Showing posts with label JR's Songwriting Tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JR's Songwriting Tips. Show all posts

Apr 11, 2019

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #83

I’m gonna be completely real with y’all. I haven’t been doing this column much in the past couple of years because I don’t know what the hell to tell you. Clearly, I don’t know how to write a hit country song in this era, so how am I supposed to give you advice? So, either listen to a bunch of Gavin DeGraw and write kind of sleazy but respectful songs entirely speaking to a generic “you” who is the woman you desire. Or… or, you can still go the bro-country route, only as long as you take the country part out. Bro pop? Shit man, it’s enough to make an established songwriter have to sell his stately manor with an elevator, runway lights, and 9 bars, and downsize to a measly million dollar starter home. And this Lil Nas X thing? That could change it all. Do I need to learn to rap now? Do I need to have Billy Ray Cyrus on all of Big & Rich’s songs? Can we say “boobies” in country songs now?? I’d have been dropping d-cups in every damn song if I’d known. And why do we have to let the singer have a credit on every song now? Just because Morgan Chase Russell added one trendy phrase to the lyrics doesn’t mean his handsome ass deserves a sixth. F**k that guy. Things are changing fast on Music Row and your space cowboy isn’t sure how to handle it. I’m thinking about just becoming a permanent Fox News correspondent. Politics is easy compared to Nashville now, bitches. Be careful out there!


*Not really by John Rich

Aug 18, 2017

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #82


 Obviously, I've been getting a little jaded lately. I mean, Big Kenny and yours truly, the Rhinestone Redneck Playboy, are still putting it down (Check out our latest hit, "California!"), but things have slowed a bit on the songwriting side. Have you seen my name on the credits for many hit singles lately? Nah. I mean, don't get it twisted. I'm still living the pimp life hard, son. I still light my Cubans with twenties. But you know… things are different in the ville.

My newest advice is going to be the hardest I've ever given, because it goes against everything I stand for. Like me or not, you know I work hard, write hard, drink hard, and f… never mind. I don't settle for mediocrity. But here's what I'm telling you, based on the trends I see on Music Row.

Settle for mediocrity. If you normally write songs with wit, depth, story, and emotion, don't do that. If you can sing like Elvis or Etta James, take it down a hundred notches. If you can come up with melodies that would make Paul McCartney swoon, stop that shit. Nobody wants that anymore. They want substandard monotone songs sung by people who couldn't place top 5 in a high school talent competition.

Find a bunch of inspirational posters online and do the opposite of what they say. F**k 110%. Give 55%. Dance like somebody is watching and ridiculing you. When the going gets tough, whine.

Write lyrics like you're in an eighth grade creative writing class and can't think of any synonyms. Just go to a party and describe what you see in one syllable words. "Me drive truck, me drink beer, me tell girl, come right here." That's a hit!  Well, it's a hit as long as it sounds exactly like the other songs on the radio.

Don't strive for excellence. Don't try to leave a mark. Get it, fit in, shut up. Yeah, I'm mad. What are you looking at?


*not actually written by John Rich

Jun 26, 2017

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #81

Back in the olden days when Mr. Johnny Rich here was a studly young country singer and songwriter, the biggest piece of advice I ever got was the hardest one. "You have to write songs better than those you hear on the radio." said the old codgers and biddies. When you're young and dumb and full of shit, you've gotta compete with the big timers, the ballers, the OGs, if you will. Artists and labels are more willing to work with who they know. Those writers who've made it tend to get settled in and lazy and start pumping out hits like a hot dog company pumping lips and ears and ballsacks into their juicy wieners.

That used to be quite a chore. Hell, as a twenty-something, I was competing with the likes of Jim Lauderdale, Charlie Craig, and Don Sampson. It was a trial by fire, my friends. You had to come into the writers' room full of piss and vinegar and pacing like a damn silverback, or you'd get torn to shreds by these bad asses.

Nowadays, I turn on my radio and scratch my head when pondering that old piece of advice. This is a sampling of some of the lyrics I've heard lately: "Ooh she got me like yeah baby girl, you gone and done it again." Alrighty then. And "Dang girl look at you, stopping me in my boots, what's a country boy to do but say uh uh." Look, I'm part of the establishment. I'm "The Man," so I hate to talk bad about another cog in the machine, but let's get real. An ADD riddled 9 year old with a D average could come up with more coherent lyrics than that. I could let my cat walk across a computer keyboard and she'd write better poetry.

So basically what I'm saying is… that old advice is pointless as a bowling ball. If you write songs that are better than the ones on the radio, you're probably not getting anything cut. If you write songs worse than those on the radio, you're not getting enough brain function to put on velcro sneakers. I don't know what to tell you. Be famous. Have a dad in the business. Know people. Or get me a couple of extra ketchup packets for my curly fries.

JR out.




*not actually written by John Rich

Feb 28, 2017

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #80


It's a lot simpler these days to become a rich and famous country songwriter. Well, simple if you meet a certain stringent criteria and aren't afraid to whore yourself out. I'm a scholar of songwriting and the changing methods for getting yourself out there. I know my shit children. Don't mean I'm happy about it anymore, but here you go. Fifteen or twenty easy steps. Hop to it.

Be under 30. 

Have a degree or two from Belmont. 

Encourage your tall, handsome, athletic, under-30 friend to learn a few basic chords on the guitar. 

Write some repetitive song lyrics that makes your dude look like a scumbag who's begging his woman to save him. 

"Buy a beat" online. 

Get your friend to talk sing your lyrics over the beat. 

Insert a minuscule amount of nearly unnoticeable guitar or banjo. 

Kiss major ass in Nashville. Like, maybe even do stuff that's against your religion, morals, standards, and sexual preferences. 

Get your buddy a ton of beefcake photo shoots for Instagram. 

Have him record a few covers of mid-2000's "country" songs to put on YouTube. 

Buy some Twitter followers for him. 

Start a few fake accounts posing as teenage girls to talk up your "artist" to other teenage girls. 

Get a lawyer; look into artist management. 

Open some bank accounts. 

Pour a bourbon. 

Light a cigar. 

Lean back in your recliner and wait.



That's it.

Who, me bitter?




*not actually written by John Rich

Aug 18, 2016

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #79




From the Mailbag:

Chris in Texas writes:
John, it seems like the opportunities for outside songwriters is shrinking quickly for the mainstream country market. What are some tips for getting a cut these days?

JR: Well Chris, it sounds like you're probably a bitter and jealous hater. My tip for you is in my pants. My advice for you is to stick with your day job. The way things are going in America, you'll soon make $15 an hour for spinning that sign in front of the Quick Cash Mart. Chin up bro!

Lucy in OKC asks:
I'm so tired of basic rhymes in country songs, like heart/apart, truck/luck, and girl/world. Whatever happened to country music being the home of the common man's poet?

JR: Hey Lucy. Is that you in your Twitter avatar? Kinda hot, girl. You sorta rock my world. Wanna ride in my truck? With a little luck I'll win your heart and we'll never be apart! Hey, what works, always works. Don't waste your time worrying about cliches and overdone rhymes and focus your intentions on not being a bitter and jealous hater. Hit me up with a DM!

Drew in New Braunfels asks:
You haven't had a major songwriting cut besides your own band in several years. Why exactly should we even listen to your songwriting advice?

JR: Bitch, I know you didn't. Big & Rich is the most successful modern day country duo not named Florida-Georgia Line or Dan + Shay. How do you like me now? I've got about 17 holds at the present time and I'm sure they'll pull through. I know people and people know me. Besides, I'm busy with my clothing line and opening another bar, so I'm not exactly flush with time. I make more money in a week than you do playing 200 shows a year at every fartknocker acoustic club and pathetic song swap. Stick to grooming your beard and selling t-shirts out of a road case. I'm the damn paterfamilias and I'm bona fide! Step off, dicknugget.


I hope this week's tips were helpful to you! Good luck and God speed!



*not actually written by John Rich

Jun 29, 2016

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #78


It's hard to stay on the cusp of what's lit (that means 'cool,' for you old jackasses) from day to day in this social media age. Everything moves faster than yayo on Jason Aldean's bus. So how do you keep up with the times when writing songs for country radio? You gotta keep your finger on the pulse, baby. Google what was popular on pop radio 8 months ago. That'll tell you what the next trend for Dustin Lynch, Chris Lane, and all those directionless dudes will be. EDM? Been there. Sexy-time R&B? Done that. Right now, it's straight up dance music that's moving the needle. Has anyone actually had a hit with a country pop dance song yet? Not really. Don't matter, bitches. If that's what the culture at large is tired of, then that's what country radio has to provide. How else are dropout white boys with $60K trucks and their hair stylist intern girlfriends going to feel cool driving to their parole meetings? Don't get caught with your pecker in your hand. Stay current. Try Twitter. Watch the trending topics. Get on the Snapchat and read some stories in between the wiener and boob pics. You'll learn while you're being entertained. I'm currently working on some songs for the next trend… "Woke" country. Don't matter if you're a right winger like me, you'll be bobbing your head to some BLM and SJW socially aware hip-hop country in a few months. Doesn't matter if your heart's in it; think with your wallet. It's all about those greenbacks, son. Evolve or die, fam.


*not actually written by John Rich

Mar 30, 2016

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #77

From the mailbag:

Kevin in Georgia writes: With the reduction of mainstream radio playlists, the consolidation of media and record labels, and the greatly lowered number of songwriters actually getting cuts in Nashville, is there really any point to trying to break into the business if you're not willing to kiss corporate ass or make friends with douchebag up-and-coming singers?

Me: No.


Kayla in Texas asks: My boyfriend is a good-looking white rapper inspired by Sam Hunt and Colt Ford. What's the best way for him to break into the country music business?

Me: Record a half-dozen YouTube videos of him covering country artists he's never heard of and won't sound anything like ….and wait.


Josh in Ohio writes: How do you balance performing, songwriting, running businesses, and having a family with your true loves of ego and alcohol?

Me: Well, Josh. If you care to drive your anonymous ass down to Nashville and ask that to my face, I'll give you a little insight. I'll put my foot so deep insight your ass, you won't ask me something like that again.


Vanessa in Washington State wants to know: Do you think the success of Chris Stapleton will open the doors for authentic, gritty country music and should songwriters anticipate that shift by writing more story-driven and emotional songs?

Me: I know, Vanessa, I'm worried too. I'm hoping this is just a trend like the great credibility scare of the late 80s. Nashville righted the ship then, and they'll do it now. Don't you fear. There may be a few months of hard twang, whining steel, earnest lyrics, and a general lack of flash, but in no time at all, this town will get back to its roots and deliver the pandering, trend-driven, sexy pop music we know and love. Stay strong, y'all!!

Oct 7, 2015

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #76

Confidence. Cocksureness. I prefer the second term, bitches, but they're similar in meaning. Know yourself and how badass you and your ideas are when going into a co-writing session. This way, you'll always know that your vision and yours alone will be preserved in the final product. Cooperation is for hippies whining about the free-market and holding Bernie Sanders signs. Be the gall-dang paterfamilias in any situation in which your name will be attached to something that will bring in dat cheddar.

Say you've got a meeting set up with Joe Songwriter and Jane Sweetpants. Go into that sumbitch with a title, theme, chorus, and tempo. Tell Joe and Jane to fill in the verses because you're too money to trifle with that bullshit. Be the race car driver. They're the crew. This is what makes a good working relationship: boss and underlings. 

You don't go into your everyday job and tell your boss "I think we should flip the burgers every 30 seconds, not every minute" or "What if we picked up the garbage on one side of the street first and the other on the way back?" Hell no, it doesn't work like that. Somebody has to be in charge. Be the HMFIC of your songwriting group. 

Creativity can only flourish when controlled and guided by the humble genius of a certified songwriting G. Be the G. Gold-plate that iPad. Add that grotto to your swimming pool. Well, not you… me… but you know what I'm saying. 

Get out there and create, monkeys!


*not actually written by John Rich

Jul 27, 2015

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #75

In this, the 75th(!) edition of Rich's Tips, I'll give my retort to a few bits of stupid advice from other songwriters. I mean, who are you going to listen to? Them (who I won't name so as to not embarrass them, even if they've had lots of success), or yours truly - the crackalackin-cowboy co-writer of such eternal gems as "Comin' to Your City" and "Fake ID?" Alright then. Here we go.

1. There's no right or wrong way to write songs.

JR:
Bullshit! There's a right and a wrong. There's first place and there's losers. This songwriting tip is akin to saying little Johnny deserves a trophy for being on the damn team, even though he can't hit a slider and his throw to the plate is suspect, and his team came in third place. This country's a bunch of whiners and enablers and I'm sick of it. Sit your ass down with just your guitar and a pad …and your 6 best songwriter friends, and write a classic! Don't experiment. Don't f*** around with a proven formula. This ain't Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and "you being you" don't pay the Audi lease.

2. Write from the heart.

JR:
Again with this sissy crap. Yeah, go ahead… get out your My Little Pony notebook and your gel pens. Sprinkle some potpourri around the room. Turn on some Enya and pour your little feelings out in glittery bits of subpar Dead Poets' Society nonsense. Cry a little while you do it, you little wuss. Now, if you want to make real art, the kind that sells millions and makes drunk b**ches dance, listen to me. Write from the ballsack. That's it.

3. Don't fake it.

JR:
Did Johnny Cash shoot a man in Reno? Hell no! Do I put the moves on college girls in pickup trucks after leaving frat parties? Not that you know of! So let's dispense with this tip quickly. Be as fake as you want. Writing a song isn't the same as giving a legal deposition - which motherf****ers lie on anyway;  I'm here to tell you from experience. Hell, I write rap songs for a certain artist from a country north of here and nobody can even tell. Do I have "beef" with rappers? (Yes, but for purposes of this article:) No. Do I party with scantily clad stoned girls? Well, maybe these aren't the best examples… but you get my drift, Pedro. I've got about as much street cred as Jeb Bush, but I drop them bars like B.I.G. (rest in peace, my homey). So, do what you gotta do, especially if you started from the bottom. Play a part. Lie. Make dem Franklins. I'm out!




*Not actually written by John Rich

Jun 3, 2015

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #74


 This isn't really a songwriting tip. It's a short editorial based on some questions I've received lately. "John, how do we get more females on country radio?" they ask me. When I get through pondering for a few hours how to get my damnself on country radio, I let myself slip back to this question.

It's a big deal lately, apparently. Salad gate or whatever they're calling it… Some radio dude said to stop playing the chicks. I mean, on one hand, the numbers don't lie. On the other hand, my favorite numbers are 38, 24, and 38. So, that's a conundrum, son.

I sat down in my fully stocked, wi-fi enabled, leather recliner with some Goose on the rocks and taxed the old melon for a bit. If Johnny boy wants to see more feminine flesh on stage at the 15 country music awards shows each year, how can Johnny boy advise the tomatoes to get there? And then it hit me! Backing vocals!

Now I'm no sexist, but Ashley Monroe's a hot piece of country produce, and how exactly did we get to witness an ample flash of thigh from her on a recent awards show? She sang with Blake Shelton on a #1 f***ing hit! That's how.

So ladies, chicas, hoochies, honeys, women, lend me your rear, I mean ear…. every opportunity that arises for you to provide a sweet, sexy, subservient, cooing behind a male superstar's manly, aggressive, powerful lead vocals is an opportunity you should fall to your knees for.

Even if it's like "ooh daddy" between lines about picking you up onto the tailgate to lay some pipe, or singing "yeah, I like it like that" after a chorus about a romantic deflowering in a cutover, do that! Insist that your name be on the song… you know… "Pop The Clutch" by Jason Aldean ft. Kacey Musgraves or "Waxing the Chrome" by FGL w/Raelynn… it's just enough to change the paradigm, whatever the f*** that means. Hell, I love women on country radio. Or beside it, on my bench seat, but hell, that's semantics.

Let's do this, girlies! Baby girl, you've come a long way and it's time DJ's had to at least mention you in passing! End the discrimination against curvy hotties. Sing backup on a hit and flaunt that body! Now, never let it be said that the rural route Romeo never did anything for the babes.


*Not actually written or approved by John Rich

Apr 7, 2015

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #73

If you're in the mood to write a song, but don't have any cash-money ideas, sit your fat ass down on your pleather couch and start free-associating! This is pretty much the opposite of work, so you lazy bastards should have a field day with this. First word that pops into your head? Write that sumbitch down. My word is "mezzanine" because I'm looking at the mezzanine of my humble abode. Your house doesn't have a mezzanine?? Oh my bad. Maybe you should free associate more, bitches! Anyway, take that first word you come up with. Yours is probably "overdraft" or "Redbox" or some shit like that. Take that word and see what the next thing that pops into your head associated with that word is. Mine is "courvoisier." So my song would start out being about drinking Courvousier on the mezzanine. Just let that shit develop from there… Courvousier on the mezzanine with a hot latina who studied film at Universidad Americana de Acupulco. That's where my song is headed. Where's yours going? Sipping Steel Reserve on the pleather couch with a fat hag who just lost her job at the strip mall… I'm just guessing, no offense. From this point, use your imagination to fill in a story about the imagery you've just brought to light. Find a theme to tie it all together into a relatable chorus about moonlight and partying, and you've got yourself Frankie Ballard's next top 5 smash! Don't aim too high just yet if you're not me. You've still got to walk before you can run the mofo'ing marathon like yours truly, the pasty skinned Rico Suave, but a start is a start. I hope this brilliant songwriting tip gets you a ton of "views" on your lame-ass songwriting message board, you Ramen-eating peasants. In a dozen years or so, maybe you'll be at the point I was when I helped found Lonestar. Get writing!





*not actually written by John Rich

Oct 13, 2014

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #72

Mailbag time again!
Josh in Ohio asks: How do you write a sexy song and still keep it safe for radio?
Me: Well, you just have to use certain words to mean certain other words. Be creative. Need to say "give her the shocker?" Say instead: "one in the sugar, two in the honey." Wanna mention getting a handy in the F-150? Say "I let her work the shift." It's pretty easy, really. I mean, do you think FGL's "pink umbrella" wasn't meant to be "my big ol' hog?"

Lisa in Texas asks: I'm a singer/songwriter trying to get a foot in the door in Nashville. What's the best first step?
Me: Let me ask you something Lisa. What do you look like? Shoot me a soul-revealing photo and I'll see what I can do. If you're attractive, I can probably give you a little one on one. If you're an ugly, you should probably go the Americana route.

Chris in California asks: Do you keep Big & Rich together because your songwriting career isn't exactly the toast of the town these days?
Me: You little snotty piece of shit. What do you know about my songwriting? I've got 3 holds and 26 upcoming writing sessions with comely young recent Nashville residents. I have more songwriting knowledge in my left nut than you'll ever have in your pathetic basement living existence. I dare you to come to a show and say that to my face.

Well, that was another enlightening round of Q&A for you guys! Until next time, this is your sexy white cowboy homie signing off!


*not actually written by John Rich

Jul 25, 2014

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #71


Look, sex sells. I'm living proof of that. I mean, I'm a pretty damn good songwriter, but if it weren't for my dashing good looks and ass that won't quit, I'd be just another Jamey Johnson. All that said, it's okay to put a little booty in your country song. Times have changed and you ain't gotta be shy about a good f**kin' song. Now, you can't say "f**kin'" or anything but you can use euphemisms and innuendo to your advantage. Instead of saying "I wanna put my big ol' c*** in your ****y," you might soften it a little like "Let me churn your waters with my outboard motor." Or, instead of "Your big t*****s get me hard," you might go with something more romantic like "Your Hank t-shirt makes my Bocephus sing." See, it's not that difficult. You can appeal to the female demographic and the horny bros at the same time. Write you an outline of a lovely night tapping ass in a long-bed parked on the water tower road and fill it in with some details that make the ladies swoon. Stuff like: a girl dressed in nothin' but a flower in her hair, handprints in steam on the windows of your Ford, a threesome because you love both of them so much you couldn't choose. Classy shit like that. Get writing, bitches!



*not actually written by John Rich

May 2, 2014

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #70


The only tip I have for you today is to call your local damn radio station and request "Look at You." People still do that, right?

Today, I'mma just teach you some songwriting vocab, beatchez. I don't have to use any of these fancy methods or follow generally accepted songwriting rules, but your dumb ass does.

Assonance: No, it ain't when get so drunk you fall on a fireant hill naked. Yeah, I did that joke once before already… just like I did your mama. Assonance is when you repeat vowel sounds in words close to one another in a song. Here is that concept in action:
"I would put my foot in your butt"
That's a million dollar line right there. Steal it and I sue your ass.
©John Rich

Onomatopoeia: This describes words that imitate actual sounds. It's so easy a caveman can do it, so I'm surprised Dallas Davidson hasn't written a whole song of grunts and whistles by now. Onomatohoweverthehellyouspellit is like when you say "Slurp slurp out behind the bushes" or "Vroom vroom while my speakers boom."
©John Rich

Alliteration:  This is when you repeat the beginning sound of words in a song line (or poetry, if you swing that way).
Here's another big money example:
"She took off her top in the back of my truck"
©John Rich
That was fun! Let's crank out another one.
"Tan lines and t****ies and tall boys, oh my!"
©John Rich

Now, go get your little notepad and Walmart practice guitar out and work on your writing so you don't have to clean tables at the IHOP anymore. I was paying my dues while you were playing with your Tamagotchi, so while you're practicing, I'll be PIMPIN' as usual. Peace out.




*Not actually written by John Rich

Jan 29, 2014

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #69


Songwriting is about staying hip and relevant to pop culture and youth. If you wanna be an "artist" and play to 26 people in a Birmingham dive, that's your thing, but it's stupid. Authenticity is overrated. Nobody ever bought a Bugatti with honesty. I never heard of somebody putting a down payment on a 32,000 square foot house with integrity. I choose success. I choose big wheels on a big truck. I choose ballin', son! If you wanna roll like Mr. Johnny Rich, keep your ear to the winds of change. So what if you've got a voice like Chris Isaak? Has he gone platinum lately? Nah. Tim McGraw sounds like a weasel stuck in a carburetor normally, but he's got the most added song at country radio right now. Why? He knows how to follow trends and compromise himself for monetary gain. It's the American way, tricks. Jerrod Niemann was going nowhere as a "country singer/songwriter" until he started rapping and dropping the bass. Now he's pimpin' pimpin'! You see how it works. Drop your best intentions. Adjust your sails and let the fickle tide of adolescent whims guide your path to a Tag Heuer. Beeleeeeve dat!


*Not actually written by John Rich

Oct 2, 2013

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #68


There's a lot of talk about too many "truck songs" and drinking songs lately. People who should mind their own damn business and go get laid are saying Nashville produces too many songs with the same themes. So what, butt-itcher? If they're making that cold hard cash, ain't no need in changing course. You're just jealous! BUT, and that's a big but (I'm a fan of big buts), if somehow those people are correct and things are starting to get a little stagnant and overdone around here, I have a solution. To avoid the over-use of words like truck and tailgate, here are some other words songwriters can use to convey to the listeners that they are in fact talking about a truck without saying "truck": floorboard, bed, AIRRAID, toolbox, Raptor, step-side, lifted, Ram, bed rails, bed liners, bed caps, bed rail caps, step plates, bed protectors, stake pocket covers, tie down, handle covers, chrome pillar trim, door edge guards, F-250, dust-guard, Maxxis, bumper guides, bull bar, runner bar, Nitto, light bar, grille guard, push bar, Daystar, roll bar, nerf bar, running boards, tube steps, step bar, Mickey Thompsons, IONs, taillight guard, roll pan, rocker panel, hitch cover, truck nuts, hood scoop, bug deflector, hood guard, mud flaps, skid plates, dually, fender, bumper cover, mudders, Dick Cepeks, swampers, grapplers, grabbers, boggers, air dam, Supercrew, crew, Supercab, cab, bench, Hemi, Smittybilt, WARN, winch, hydraulic, HiLites, Skyjacker…. whew. I could go on, but just shoot me a Tweet if you want more. I know I mentioned drinking songs too. You should bone up on words other than "cold one," "beer" and "shine" to let your dumbass listeners know you're singing about drinking. I would provide some handy-dandy descriptions and synonyms for ya but I've got some drinking of my own to do, bitches. Now go forth and prosper or whatever.





*Not actually written by John Rich.

Sep 4, 2013

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #67


Don't worry about giving the audience what they want. F**k the audience - they don't have a clue what they want. Give them what you know they will buy because radio will play it over and over until they mindlessly open iTunes and click the little 1.29 button. Secret: The customer is actually smart enough that they'd love to hear something that took you more than 15 minutes with 3 co-writers to shit out, but they don't need to know that. They are so numbed out by the daily grind and beaten down by a full schedule and worryin' about Obamacare that they don't even have time to worry about putting quality into their ears. Therefore, you as the songwriter don't have to worry about quality. Hell, if Luke Bryan can be a megastar, that whole "accounting for taste" thing is out the door with the Tuesday morning trash. All you need to concern yourself with, cracka, is writing a song about what goes on away from the office, as long as it is something positive. Like sex, driving around, drinking a beer, watching some football or lighting a big-ass bonfire in close proximity to some trucks. Maybe throw in a beat that slightly resembles that dopey rap song that topped the charts in 1992. Honkies love to be reminded of "Rump Shaker" while they're drinking cheap beer by their chimenea in the backyard or stuck on I-20 West with 3 minutes to get to work. Don't worry about art or expressing yourself. Just give the dumbass radio listener something to nod their head to while they drive to the cubicle and you will rule the charts, son. 


*Not actually written by John Rich.

May 24, 2013

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #66



When she's co-writing a song, Taylor Swift starts off the session with a little girl talk. You know, gossiping about shit, complaining about this week's famous boyfriend and stuff like that. Well, you can take that bit of trivia nobody really cares about and translate it to your co-writing. And yeah, co-writing, because if you're gonna be anybody in Nashville you can't do it sitting in your apartment with your wiener in one hand and a writing pad in the other. 

When I meet up with my writing buddies, I break out the scotch, porno mags and cigars to break the ice. That way, they're all chilled out and won't get butthurt when I shoot down their stupid ideas. A little guy talk can start things off too. You know, sports, Kate Upton's boobs, sports, hamburgers, sports... Then maybe they'll start picking the guitar a little and singing a line that's been stuck in their head all day. I pour 'em a little more drinky-drink and change the subject for a minute. That's when I whip my thing out. ...My song I already wrote before they got there, what did you think I meant? I'll play 'em the song, which is generally about 40-year-olds doing 20-year-old activities or some kind of weepy song about Jesus saving a hooker or some shit. They like it and attempt to change a couple of lines. I take out my collection of authentic ninja stars and remark how accurate I am inside 15 feet. They decide the song is perfect as is. I let them change one word and then add their name to the song, because usually they have a better reputation around town or haven't burned the ever-lovin' shit out of a bridge I want the song to cross. There you have it. Paydirt mofos!

Looking back at this particular songwriting tip, I'm not sure how it applies to you, the wet-behind-the-ears Starbucks barista who can't write his or her way out of the paper sack your forty ounce supper came in, but I'm sure there's some bit of knowledge you can glean. Chin up bro!




*Not actually written by John Rich

Feb 27, 2013

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #65

I've already told you before that me and my boy Big Kenny were the originators and the innovators of hick-hop along with our big black cowboy compadre, Mr. Cowboy Troy. What you may not know, as a white-bread honky from whatever shit town you came to Nashvegas from, is how to write a hick-hop song. Big & Rich were before their time getting crunk son, so I know how to make them Benjies, yo. Get on this new trend and make that bankroll while it's hot, dawg! What you do is to tune in to the urban station for at least an hour a day. Pick up some slang and some swagga for your lyrics. Next, you get yourself a black friend. Maybe you could meet one at the Starbucks and be like "'Sup homey, you wanna chill?" As you converse with your new bro, listen to his or her cadence and how they put phrases together. Ask them about their culture and home life and act interested so you can gain their trust. Maybe even say something like "Hey bru-main, if you was to talk about a girl wearing cut-offs in a pickup truck in a field, how would you say it?" This is a sneaky way to get them to write lyrics for you... just make sure to have the voice recorder going on your phone when you do this research. Next up is actually writing the song. Get yourself some dank ganja and blaze up a spliff. Pour you a glass of Courvoisier and kick back in your full leather recliner with a generic beat track you stole off the internet playing on your iPad and get to laying down 16 bars! It really is that easy. Between the verses, make sure to place a catchy chorus with rearranged lyrics from a Florida-Georgia Line song and BAM. Next thing you know, you'll be the baddest cracka in the gated community! Put some extra 'Ohs' in yo bank account, kid. MAKE IT RAIN ON DEM COUNTRY HOEZ!!!!


*Not actually written by John Rich

Nov 27, 2012

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #64




Think outside the box. Write from your own unique perspective. Tell an old story in a new way. This is advice losers give aspiring songwriters. Does anybody who followed those guidelines have a top 10 hit under their belt (or a big swinging tallywacker under their belt)? Hell no. Do any of those p***ies have a house the size of a community college? Do they have an elevator in their home with a full bar? Do they have f**kin' spotlights shining their glory upon the Nashville skyline? The answer again is hell no. So who are you going to listen to? Somebody who had a #34 hit in 1996 and now makes a living doing songwriter conferences or teaching creative writing has no business telling you how to bank them John Rich dollaz, homey. At Mt. Richmore, we do it big. We do it right. We research the Billboard charts and find the common threads that make the morons call their local station and request the latest "my by-God truck has tires bigger than your mama's beer gut" song. Screw originality. And I don't mean make sweet country lovin' to it, I mean, bend it over and give it to originality hard with no KY. You do for you and if you're like me, doing for you is doing for them big face bills. So in summary, think inside the box, write with the zombie masses in mind and tell old stories the same old damn way. Just throw in a few different truck accessories that weren't mentioned on the last top 10 Florida-Georgia Line smash. If you want to be an artist, move to San Francisco and decorate interiors or whatever those people do when they're not tearing down America. America was built on the backs of stupid people and a fool and his money are soon giving that money to me. Believe that, homeslice.



*Not actually written by John Rich.

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