Writing Lyrics That People Can Relate To

Billy Joel - Piano Man

   There are a lot of great songwriters out there. Some writers can write a tune that will stick in your head for days on end. Some writers will write a set of lyrics that will really touch you on a deeper level. The lyrics that I enjoy the most are lyrics that I can personally relate to and that mean something to me. I like a song that will make me say “Yeah man, I’ve been there myself.”

   So how can you as a writer write lyrics that other people can relate to? The best and easiest way is to write what you know. Write about what you have personally experienced in your life. The best things to write about that other people can relate to are the times in your life when you’ve felt really strong emotions. Writing about the first girl you ever fell in love with is always a good subject. Just remember to make it about your experience and not some fantasy where everything went perfectly.

   For example, write about how hard you fell for a girl while making a point in the song that you dumped your drink all over her food while being a klutz at the dinner table. People can really relate to experiences like that. Especially if you write how the girl you fell for thought your klutziness was charming. It sounds hard to fit that into a song but listeners like to get a visual picture from a song.

   If you only write in general terms about things, people can’t relate as well as if you tell a story. Here are two lyric examples: (lyric 1) “And I love her because she’s so beautiful.” (lyric 2) “I love her because she saved my daughters life.”  Now let me ask you, which lyric makes you want to listen to the next line? It’s lyric 2 because now listeners are wondering how this girl saved your daughters life? There’s a lot of intrigue there whereas lyric 1 is a statement that’s pretty much meaningless because everyone that falls in love thinks the other person is beautiful in some way. The key is building up what or how the other person is beautiful to you.

   So to summarize this short post, remember to always write about things you know and be specific. People like details and not generalizations.

Author: Live Musician Central

My name is Matt Rushton. I have been playing in bands for 27 years. I've been playing professionally for 21 years. I have opened for Sheryl Crow, Barenaked Ladies, Joan Jett, Little River Band, and Quiet Riot.

One thought on “Writing Lyrics That People Can Relate To”

  1. wow thanks for the help.

    I’ll make sure that I do that from now on.

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