Ever heard the words of a song that begin, “wo, wo, wo, wo, wo, wo, wo.” Ever heard Dionne Warwick’s 1970s hit, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” Dionne Warwick refused to sing this silly song at first. Why? Because Dionne Warwick has a master’s degree in music and this silly “wo-wo-wo-wo” song was beneath her musical credentials. Turns out it was a big hit and she sang it all the way to the bank. What about these first bass notes to a big hit- “G-C-C, G-C-C?” These are the intro notes to a song that starts, “I’ve got sunshine on a sunny day”—got it—My Girl. Who knows how folks come up with lyrics and melodies—lucky breaks, but somebody has to write the songs. Barry Manilow even had a hit song called, “I Write the Songs.”
So who wrote “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” Well we all know who—Burt Bacharach and Hal David—but this duo-before they parted ways– wrote plenty of big hits. Ever heard of David Foster—song after song this man writes—just him and a piano creating music—and getting rich. Everything needs a song—words set to music. Commericals need songs, no radio without songs, no Grammys without songs, no movies without songs, Broadway plays needs songs, no church without songs—no Happy Birthday with a song. So is there a song or two in you? Have a song—lyrics and melody and don’t know what to do next?
If you want to write songs it helps to play an instrument. It helps if you can set your own lyrics to a melody and perform it yourself. The reason is this. I’ve written a song or two—just the lyrics—then took the next step of getting a demo. A demo is a tape of lyrics set to music. I’ve paid for a demo. What you do is find someone with a studio who will use its musicians, either guitar, or guitar, drums, and keyboards, to make a professional quality tape for you using your lyrics and your suggested melody. They charge a flat fee for this. They then give you the demo and you set about to “shop your demo” trying to find someone to listen to your demo and hopefully see a “hit.” There are “song services” that will do the same thing. For a fee they will take your lyrics, that you own, that are your copyrighted work, do some arranging and then give you the demo. Some of these “song services” will also help promote your song, but you want to read the fine print. Another thing you can do is find local band to perform your song and you get some of the money if they get paid. Or you can perform you own song—everywhere you can— on the Internet, social media, local clubs and events, at the County Fair, at local festivals and musicals—wherever, just perform. But write more than one song—develop an album or two of your songs so you can showcase your talent. The world needs songs and who knows what song will be the next big hit-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo.
Copyright 2015 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.