Secrets To Writing A Great Song - Webinar with Mia Fieldes (Part 2)
Live Q&A with Mia Fieldes and Andi Rozier
Q: I am a guitarist and singer songwriter who has been trying to record an album for a few years. What is the process you would recommend going through in order to have at least 1-3 songs recorded and out in the world?
A (Mia): Aim for having 3 songs that are amazing. Songs that you have taken to other people who have given you good impartial feedback. God does everything in relationship, so find people in your church or community and ask them to do what they do well (production, pro-tools, musicians etc). Do not spend money or press record until you have amazing songs. It is not worth recording bad songs.
A (Andi): Don’t wait until you have a full album of songs, release a single or an EP of great songs. Write more than what you actually need.
Q: What is some advice you would have for young songwriters like myself who want to break into the singer/songwriter business?
A: Build relationship. Work hard at what you do and God opens doors.
Q: What are the most common methods to communicate music to potential preforming recording artists (piano chart, chord chart, demo etc)?
A: Build relationship with the person you want to listen share it with. Be a good steward of your gifts. Don’t send in songs to people you don’t know. Perhaps put it up on Youtube and then let it get traction from there. When bringing songs to the church do it with lyric sheet, chord sheet and demo. Don’t make it 12 mins long, put your best song in the simplest form and present it in the clearest way possible.
Q: When you are writing do you find you write for yourself, for God, or for a crowd to enjoy? With that do you prefer to write powerful introspective worship songs or more powerful praise (get the crowd pumped up) type songs? Why?
A (Andi): When you write the best song you have ever written, hope that God says "I want to be the only one that ever hears that”. As an artist, I want to wow Him. I don’t want Him to be pleased with my song, I want Him to be pleased with my effort. I write with my church in mind. I want to give them something they want to sing. When you write to the Lord, you are writing letters, love songs to Him. You are also writing it of the heart so that the people can say something to the Lord that they might not be able to say without your words.
A (Mia): As far as approaching songs, if you are going to write a song, write something that people know what to do with. There is no point in bringing a song that is out of context. When I write a song, I am thinking about who it will serve. For the church, I think: "Can people sing this?" "Is it accessible?" "Is it theologically correct?" "Who is it for and who is it going to serve?"
Q: Who are some of your favorite songwriters? Who is your favorite co-writer? And what is your favorite song that you've co-written?
A (Mia): I had one thing I was good at and the rest I had to learn. Lyrics were my strength, the rest I worked at learning as well as continuing to learn at lyrics. There were a lot of people who I learned from.
Nicole Nordeman for getting songs out of me that I did not know were in there. The Hillsong team - Rueben Morgan, Joel Houston, Brooke Fraser, Ben Fielding for lots of different things. It serves you well to be a lover of what everyone else is doing and to learn from what they are doing well.
A (Andi): I am inspired by anybody who does not just have the bible on their lap but in their heart. People who are worshipers before they are worship leaders. People who are broken and willing to be transparent in a song. Matt Redman - he really gets under the surface and digs into a fresh way to say a timeless truth.
Mia Fieldes as a co write - a gifting about co writing is keeping things moving. She is committed to it and to keep the energy up. She will just shifts up through the gears and there is no braking along the way. When you have someone who is strong like that they can drive straight through he obstacles and blocks and you always produce fruit.
Q: It seems harder to write faster or more upbeat songs, what are some things you keep in mind when writing more up-tempo songs?
A (Mia): Don't be intimidated by up tempo song. Set a beat and get that down so that you have inspiration to set you in the right mind space. Thematically think of things that are up. As an example the theme of joy seems more like an up tempo idea.
A (Andi): All of the up tempo songs that I have written someone has loaded up a kick drum sounds and kept it going through the whole writing session. Fast songs are way harder to write that slower songs. In up tempos, try and avoid it being to wordy, especially in the chorus. It is the hub and the wheel of the song.
Q: Can you talk about the difference between how you approach fleshing out a lyrical idea as opposed to a musical/instrumental idea?
A (Mia): Start with a theme, that will give you a few hints and a road map into what kind of lyrics and melody it needs to be. Sing-ability is the goal. Great music without amazing lyrics is just great lyrics and vice versa. Does the stress beat of the music match the stress beat of the song? How do we naturally say that word? How do we make it sing naturally? We want things to sing the way they are said. Mess with lyric and rework things. The weight of the syllable and music should match. We want to write things that are true not just how we feel. Just because you feel it, does not mean it is true? Test your own theology.
Andi A: I tend to lean towards letting things mathematically work out. Not every line has to rhyme. There are lines that don’t rhyme but they still feel good in the song. Make sure the message is clear and do not compromise the theology.
Q: How would you gauge the balance of being the Worship Pastor for your church and "testing" your songs out during congregational worship. One thing Andi Rozier says about new worship songs is that the best way to test them out is to sing them with your congregation and it's almost an automatic test of whether or not the song will work in that context. Is this a good idea in terms of using the worship platform to try out your songs? My greatest fear is that people will either hate them and think I'm promoting myself, or they'll connect through them and make more of me…
A (Andi): Before you ever get a song to the platform, it should go through some hoops. It should have been heard by others. Most of all the senior pastor/music pastor needs to sign off on it. Never have I gone on stage and said “here is a song that I have written”. It is not the place for promotion.
A (Mia): As worship pastors, do everything from acceptance not for acceptance. If you are singing out of a place of insecurity, you will give more weight to your songs than you will others songs because you will set your songs up to win more than someone else. Give it to someone else to lead, that is the best way to get away from it being about “you”.
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