10 Songwriting Tips for Beginners Who Want to Write Their First Song - Careers in Music
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When it comes to making music and penning a successful track, one can only look for songwriting tips, as opposed to any tried-and-true formula, because, well...it doesn’t exist.

Every Songwriter has their own process, their own way of doing things. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t suggestions that could be helpful for people just starting down this complicated, scary, thrilling road.

Here are 10 songwriting tips that should be useful for new Songwriters:

  1. Know your instrument
  2. Decide what comes first
  3. Learn your genre
  4. Choose a song structure
  5. Write everything down
  6. Be authentic
  7. Write with others
  8. Write…and rewrite
  9. Step away
  10. Know how to get unstuck

Throughout this piece, you’ll be hearing from the following Songwriters on their craft:

  • Cliff Goldmacher (Ke$ha, Keb’ Mo’, Mickey Hart)
  • Ben Johnson (Charlie Puth, Meek Mill, Justin Timberlake)
  • Peter Zizzo (Vanessa Carlton, Avril Lavigne, Jason Mraz)

1. Know Your Instrument

So, you’ve decided to be a musician. That’s great! But…what instrument are you going to play? Are you going to shred a guitar in a hard rock band? Sing along to an electro-dance beat? Croon over a soft piano? While many artists bounce back and forth between styles and certainly use a lot of different tools, having some kind of idea of what may be used to create your next track can be helpful when it comes to writing the song itself.

Some melodies work better in certain kinds of songs, which usually lend themselves to one instrument or another. While there are no hard and fast rules in songwriting, going into penning a track knowing what you’d like the final product to sound like can be a great place to kick off.

How do you write a song with no experience?

Ben Johnson (Charlie Puth, Meek Mill, Justin Timberlake)

Just like you start any new hobby or profession! Just start. A great way to start is to try to write a song that sounds like one of your favorite songs. Then think about what you want to say, or what emotion you want to convey, and then just start singing.

It’s amazing how many hit songs have been written just from someone sitting down and singing whatever comes to the top of their head without thinking too hard about it. Be patient with yourself and understand that it’s most likely going to take a lot of bad songs to get to the good ones.

Cliff Goldmacher (Ke$ha, Keb’ Mo’, Mickey Hart)

There’s certainly no one way to do this. I think a lot of Songwriters come from the place of already being musicians, playing an instrument, or even being Singers. For me, when I started writing songs, I was sort of imitating songs that I knew and liked. Not consciously.

It wasn’t like I said, “I’m going to write a song that sounds like so-and-so.” I just think that we are, as Songwriters, the total sum of our influences. So when I started writing, I guess I was writing songs in the style of songs that I knew and loved.

I think it’s rare that somebody just sits down one day and says, from an intellectual place, “I’m going to write a song.” I think more often than not, you’re doing this because you can’t help it. Maybe you’ve been writing poems or you’ve been playing music for a while, then all of a sudden you just sort of turn a corner and you want to put something new into the world.

For those who are really trying to do this on an intellectual level, I think analyzing songs that you like and that you respond to is a good place to begin, because you can kind of get a sense of what’s working. If you’ve already become aware of a song, that means it’s been successful on some level commercially. So looking at a song like that and thinking about why it works may be a good place to start if you really are starting from scratch.

But more often than not, I think you write a song because you can’t help it; because you were playing your instrument, or you were singing, or you started to write a poem and you realized, “Hey, this kind of feels like the chorus of a song,” and just went from there.

Peter Zizzo (Vanessa Carlton, Avril Lavigne, Jason Mraz)

To be honest, you have to not be able to stop yourself from writing songs. Writing a song—and most importantly, finishing a song—can be a very scary and brutal process. You have to want to do it. You have to have a love for it and be excited about it.

When you get a really good idea or something you’re excited about pursuing, that’s nice. But when you get into the work, it can get very hard and you’ll want to stop. If you really want to do anything in life and you want to do it well, you have to understand that it’s not always going to be fun.

What’s fun is when you’ve finished something and you love it. You feel proud about it before anyone else in the world hears it. I find that to write and finish a song that you like when it’s still just yours, and no one else has heard it, is a beautiful moment of self-validation. And it’s an earned validation. It only comes because you did the work.

I don’t mean for it to sound scary in terms of the work. What I mean to say is, you have to love something to want to try it—whether it’s writing a song, playing a musical instrument, painting, or acting. There has to be some bravery involved. I would say it starts with a desire. It starts with you hearing songs and loving songs and wanting to try to write a song you’ve loved.

In more mechanical terms, I would say if you love songs, figure out why you love them. What are your favorite parts of the song? What is it about that part of the song? Is it the melody? Is it what the words are saying? Do you play a musical instrument?

If so, can you figure out the chords? Most contemporary songs have chord changes. With some pieces, you can adapt those chords and write different songs out of them. There are all kinds of ways operationally to start writing a song, but my overall answer is you just have to do it. And you have to want to do it.

I would say mindset is the second thing. The first thing is the interest and the passion. You have to convince yourself to do it and tell yourself that it’s important to do it. It has to be “this is the thing I have to do.” It’s hard to keep appointments with yourself. Or you might be writing with somebody else and you’re collaborating. You’ll call that person up and say that you want to write a song together and make time to do it.

2. Decide What Comes First

When writing a song, do you pen the lyrics first or the melody? Well, in a nutshell…yes.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?), there is no formula for writing songs, so there is never a perfect place to begin. You may want to launch this latest process with a melody that’s been stuck in your head, or perhaps there’s one line you jotted down some time ago that you know would make a killer title. Great! As long as you have something that’s inspiring you to begin with, don’t worry about what it is, just get started!

3. Learn Your Genre

There’s a saying in most artforms that you can’t break the rules until you know them. This is certainly true in the music industry, as you should first understand things like song structure (more on that soon), the pieces of a song, and genre before you embark on melding them together and crafting something completely original and brand new.

Genre isn’t as important these days as it used to be, but chances are if you’re just starting out as a Songwriter, a great tip is to study other tracks that fit under the style you’d like to make. If you’re planning on writing tunes for the dancefloor, you may not want to borrow lines and ideas from Norwegian death metal bands. You can certainly experiment, but make sure you explore lyrics and listen to lots of songs to create lists of tropes, typical words, structures, and even melodies that are commonly used.

4. Choose a Song Structure

Again, when you’re just beginning your career as a Songwriter, you may want to start with something familiar and simple and work your way from there. Many tracks contain verses, choruses, and bridges placed strategically, and most of the biggest hits follow similar structures. Get to know these, what purpose each piece of the song serves and how you can make each one as interesting and catchy as possible.

I won’t dive into all the different song structures here (this would be a much, much longer article if I did), but this is work you should do to develop a deep understanding of how songs are constructed before you begin trying to assemble some of your own.

How long does it take to become a good Songwriter?

Cliff Goldmacher (Ke$ha, Keb’ Mo’, Mickey Hart)

I hope this doesn’t sound daunting, but I would say don’t even begin to think about knowing who you are as a Songwriter until you’ve written 100 songs. I think once you’ve got 100 songs under your belt, you’ll be able to look back and start to find some patterns in your writing.

You’ll start to find the beginnings of your voice as a Songwriter, and I really mean the beginnings. I’ve written over 1,000 songs. I can promise you that I really didn’t know what I was doing or understand my own process until I’d written over 100 songs.

A friend of mine said the greatest thing: “Every once in a while, you’re gonna screw up and write a great song.” That’s fine. The problem is that you might write one that’s really great, but you might not have any idea how to recreate that process.

By the time you’ve written 100 songs, you’ll understand your process enough as a Songwriter so that every time you sit down to write, you know that you’re at least going to start at a baseline level of quality. And then, every once in a while—and we don’t know why—certain songs that we write will just have that extra magic pinch of pixie dust on them.

By giving yourself permission to just write, and write, and write, and write without expecting to be great right away, you’ll start to learn what’s working and what isn’t and be able to consistently create the stuff that does work.

Peter Zizzo (Vanessa Carlton, Avril Lavigne, Jason Mraz)

Your whole life? One song? Somewhere in between? I was writing songs when I was eleven or twelve. I thought they were great. I always thought I was a good Songwriter. I think the more important question is, how long until you believe you want to be a Songwriter? That shouldn’t take long at all.

It’s an unquantifiable skill. You can be a magically brilliant Songwriter and never have a break, a hit song, or make a lot of money. I’m thinking of two of the greatest Songwriters I’ve ever known in my life, and they’ve never made a lot of money doing it. I don’t know how important that is to them, but they scare me with how good they are. They own their part and their love of it.

Also, you never know when something might happen. Could be decades down the road. A good thing to go by is if you want to be as successful as someone like Ed Sheeran, read his story. Learn about what he went through. He started putting out EPs when he was fourteen and pretty much homeless and he slept on people’s couches for years.

Someone asked him, “How is it that you stayed with it through all of that rejection and silence?” He said it was because he had no plan B. It was this or death for him. A song like “The A Team,” that was the song that got him going and established here. “The A Team” was on a few of his earlier EPs long before anything happened for him. It was popular in England for a while before his label in the states decided to try it here.

When they tried it as a single here, it took a long time to catch on in radio. The only reason they kept trying was that they knew it had been a hit in the UK. They stayed with it, spent more money, and eventually, it started to happen; it became a massive hit.

To most people, they’re like, “Ed Sheeran wrote this amazing song, it became a big hit, and he became a star.” That’s not the way it works. He wouldn’t have had that kind of dedication from the label here if it hadn’t been a hit in another country. It wouldn’t have been a hit in another country if he’d given up on the song two EPs back and stopped thinking about that song and playing it for people. Staying with it was the only reason he became successful.

Ben Johnson (Charlie Puth, Meek Mill, Justin Timberlake)

It depends a lot on what you classify as “good”. If you’re enjoying writing songs, you’re a good Songwriter in that capacity. If you’re having fun, if your friends enjoy listening to your songs, and that is fulfilling to you, that can be classified as being a good Songwriter. If you want to be a commercially successful Songwriter though, it most likely will take years.

When I moved to Nashville and began my songwriting journey, I had already written hundreds of songs that I thought were pretty good. But it took six years of hard work after that before I landed my first cut. And I’m still learning and striving to be better every day because it is a very competitive industry, so if you don’t enjoy the craft and the process of writing songs, it can quickly wear you down.

I genuinely enjoy writing songs, whether they are ever heard or not, and I think that’s important if you want to be a Songwriter!

5. Write Everything Down

If you think of anything clever, funny, something that rhymes, or a particularly interesting way to convey a feeling or emotion…anything that may one day be of use to you in a song, write it down! You may believe it’s the best thing you’ve ever come up with and you’re sure to remember it, but you won’t. We have all played that game before and lost.

Whether you keep a pen and small notebook in your pocket or stick to some sort of notes app on your phone, make sure you have a dedicated space for all the little snippets and ideas that pop into your brain. You will want to carve out some time to organize all of these and explore some of them. You never know which one will become the chorus to your next hit song or that one line in a verse that sticks with all your fans.

6. Be Authentic

When you’re writing a song, you can choose to open up and share what resides in the deepest recesses of your heart…or you can create a tune that’s all about having fun on the beach in the summer. Not all music has to be emotional and revealing, but the best of it must be authentic.

Writing authentically can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but basically, all you need to focus on is that you have to be yourself. Stick to your writing style, how you like to sing, to make art, and to what you want to say. Don’t try to copy others or pretend you’re someone you’re not. You’ll never succeed by being anyone other than your own interesting, creative self, as tough as that may be sometimes.

7. Write With Others

When most Songwriters are just starting out, penning lyrics and creating melodies is a lonely, solitary practice. Some artists choose to work that way for their entire careers, but most musicians find collaborators who add their two cents and bring the tracks to a new level with their own songwriting tips.

If you are just beginning your songwriting adventure, you may need to do some work to find people who want to write with you. There are plenty of online forums and websites where you can do this, or you may want to stick closer to home and ask a friend, family member, classmate, or someone in a local band to join you.

Writing with others is a good way to flex a new muscle, learn from your collaborator, and experience how many of the biggest hits in the industry are crafted, as very, very few big tunes are composed entirely by one person.

Is songwriting an innate talent or a skill you can develop?

Peter Zizzo (Vanessa Carlton, Avril Lavigne, Jason Mraz)

I think both are true. There are people that have a great innate ability to do things, and then there are people that have the love for it and just want to do it. That goes for anything at all. In many cases, I’d put my money on the people that weren’t born with as much innate ability to succeed over the people that were.

When you’re born with a gift, generally what happens is you grow up and people notice you have this gift. People tell you that you’re amazing at this, you’ll be a star, you’ll be incredible, it’ll be easy for you, etc. I know that comes from the right place, but it’s fairly destructive. What happens is when you grow up and get out there in the world, you find out it’s really, really hard to be successful no matter what you’re doing and how good you are.

And you may fail a lot. You may fail for years without a single break. When someone has been groomed to think that they’re the best and that it will be easy for them, they’re not prepared for that kind of rejection. They feel like all the eyes of everyone they grew up with are on them, and they’re going to feel bad so they won’t work as hard. If they start to fail, they’ll become depressed and self-medicated. All sorts of crazy things happen to talented people.

I’ll give you an example. When you ask who the greatest inventors of the last 150 years were, the first two names that come up are Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison is known for inventing the lightbulb. The truth about Thomas Edison is that he didn’t really invent the lightbulb and he really wasn’t a super brilliant guy. He was, by all accounts, a guy that would work ten times harder than everybody else, loved science, and loved the world he got into, more than anybody.

His Teachers said he wasn’t their best student but he outworked everybody. He loved the press and self-promotion. He worked with about thirty other scientists, and a series of things were developed that eventually became the lightbulb, through trial and error, and he got himself a lot of press for it. He’s seen as a great genius, but really what his genius was was his desire and his love of what he did.

The most successful Songwriters and Singer-Songwriters, when you peek behind the curtain, these are also people that are terminators in terms of their work ethic, fearlessness, and their ability to navigate and narrate their story and their brand. You didn’t used to have to be that way. You could be a Joni Mitchell, or a Donovan, or a Laura Nyro and become a hugely successful talent. It was purely based on how good you were.

Today, you also have to have a very canny sense of the age that we live in and how to navigate it. So people like a Shawn Mendes, a Taylor Swift, or a Justin Bieber, these are talented people for sure, but they’re smart and not afraid of anything. They’ve worked harder than most people put together because it’s what they want. Maybe there are more talented people out there who haven’t gotten where they’ve gotten and that’s because of the work ethic and the fearlessness.

Cliff Goldmacher (Ke$ha, Keb’ Mo’, Mickey Hart)

The answer is yes. It’s both. I do a lot of songwriting consultations. When I talk to my songwriting consultation clients, I tell them, “I can’t teach you to be inspired.” You can’t do that. The spark is yours and yours alone. But I can teach you what to do with the spark once it comes.

So there is a certain amount of natural desire to create and natural inspiration that you can’t really teach. But once you’ve got that, I can teach you where to look for inspiration in the future. I can teach you ways to keep that inspiration alive, and I can teach you what we call the craft of songwriting, which is how you take that inspiration and turn it into something that other people will care about.

Ben Johnson (Charlie Puth, Meek Mill, Justin Timberlake)

I think it is both. When I was seven years old, I was the best baseball player on my team. But my mom told me that a lot of the kids who weren’t very good would one day be better than I was if I did not work hard, and she was right. Many of the kids who were riding the pine at 7 beat me out for all-stars at 14.

There’s no doubt that you can have an affinity for something, but in the end, it’s the hours and effort that you put into it that pay the true dividends. If you want to develop your skills as a Songwriter, you should be ready to put the hours in.

Some things I suggest working on are studying songs you love, figuring out why you love them, and trying to implement what you find in your own songs. One thing I think people underestimate is just how many songs you most likely need to write to get to good ones. Even the best Songwriters in the world are writing fifty songs you never hear before they get to one that you do.

8. Write...and Rewrite

So, you’ve come up with excellent rhymes, honed in on your melodies, and even recorded a demo of your song. That means you’re done, right? Not exactly.

Whenever anyone is writing something for public consumption, a big part of the process is rewriting. Yes, everyone has to do it, from Journalists to those creating movies and TV shows and even Songwriters.

Look at what you have and think of new ways to say what is already in front of you in black and white. Are there other perspectives? Different adjectives or verbs that might spice things up? Perhaps a different rhyme scheme, or melody? Maybe the composition is a bit too full and you need to space everything out a little, allowing the lyrics and the music to breathe.

Nobody can tell you exactly what to do to your song during the rewrite, but every track, even the best tunes ever composed, needs to be looked over once finished, and sometimes more than once.

9. Step Away

Once you’ve been through everything listed above, you get to finally record your song…but long before you do that, step away from the track you’ve been working so hard on. Don’t jump right into the studio and consider it perfect! Put down the paper and your audio recorder and do something else. Focus on your homework, go to a movie, see friends, or even write something else (more on that later). Sometimes you’ll want to back away for a day, sometimes a week or more.

You need time for your brain to settle and remove itself from the grueling songwriting process in order to read it and hear it differently. You may find when you return that you still love what you’ve come up with, or, chances are, there will be a number of issues that jump out at you. This is a good thing! It’s better you catch anything you don’t love before you invest in studio time or even release a song in time to make any changes.

Anything else you think up-and-coming Songwriters should know about?

Cliff Goldmacher (Ke$ha, Keb’ Mo’, Mickey Hart)

There’s something I’ve been thinking about recently as far as a career in songwriting … which is that you should be both macro-patient and micro-impatient. You need to get up every day and be hungry to do the work. Every day. You have to be impatient to do that work.

Then you have to be incredibly patient when it comes to the fruits of your labor, because it will never happen as quickly as you would like or in the way that you expect it to happen. But if you get up every day and teach yourself to do the work, the good things will happen over time.

Peter Zizzo (Vanessa Carlton, Avril Lavigne, Jason Mraz)

There’s a theme I keep coming back to here and it’s fearlessness. You really have to not be afraid. When you read the story of anybody or anything that’s super successful, the backstory is always: nobody liked it, everybody rejected it, they went years without getting anything, and there were all these setbacks. But we only hear about them when they become successful; it looks as if they suddenly appear fully formed.

The reality is that’s not how it works. I think the more you know about how much goes into it, the less afraid you should be. If you love it, great! Keep finishing and showing songs to people. Keep connecting with people. Don’t be afraid of people not liking what you do.

Sometimes you shouldn’t listen if people say something like, “You’re too folky for today,” or, “You’re a girl and doing rock. Girls shouldn’t do rock,”—that was an Avril Lavigne concern. I even said that to her. I saw her as an acoustic kind of thing, not a Blink-182 thing. To me, she was a five-foot tall, boy-crazy, super-sensitive little puppy dog with a beautiful voice. She didn’t care. That’s what she wanted to be and she really had a degree of “fuck you” in her DNA and that’s why girls went crazy for her and followed her and loved that defiance.

Listen to the consistent criticism you keep getting. You have to pay attention when you hear a lot of the same thing, like, “I couldn’t follow the melodies and they were too busy.” Compare it to songs you really love and use it to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid of that.

I think my short version is that, if you’re interested in writing songs, it doesn’t matter whether you have innate ability or not. You just have to love it. Really, really love it. Don’t be afraid of stumbling and falling. I think it should start with feeling inspired to do it and then not being afraid.

This applies to anything you want to try and take seriously. This isn’t just songwriting. If you’re going to be afraid of the walls and challenges you need to make a way around, then you’re going to let that fear dictate decisions you make and you’re not going to make the right decisions in your life. Whether it’s people you date, the jobs you accept, or places you choose to go.

There are types of fear you have to recognize that are healthy and types that are based on your own self-doubt and your own feeling of overwhelm.

If you’re starting a song and it feels like it’s too scary or overwhelming or you get stuck, give yourself permission to put it down and get back to it. Make a plan to work on one part of it. Come back the next day. Do that every day. In a handful of days, you’ll probably have the whole song.

When you look at the parts you haven’t done, it can feel overwhelming because there’s so much unknown. You’ll hear songs that come on the radio that are finished and polished and you’ll think, “Fuck this, I don’t want to do it,” and you don’t know what they went through to get that song there. It’s gonna be hard.

Honestly, if you don’t want it to be difficult and you want writing songs to be easy, don’t bother. It’s not easy. I don’t care what anybody says. I hate when I read articles that say, “Oh, we wrote the whole thing in about fifteen minutes,” and I think, “Why are you saying that? It’s intimidating and discouraging to people.”

I, for one, have questions about it. I’ve been writing songs for more than thirty years and I’ve never once, alone or in collaboration, written a complete song that fast. You might do most of one, or enough where all that’s left is, say, the second verse lyric or whether or not it needs a bridge; it could be an awesome, fun session. But it’s hyperbolic. I wish these A-list Songwriters would instead talk about the struggle, how hard it was.

Everybody struggles. You have to walk into a room and there’s nothing in existence and create something from nothing that is valuable to other people. How are you going to tell me that’s not hard? It just is. But the beautiful thing is, the song is in the ether, and if you’re willing to keep courting it, it can be yours—and just possibly the world’s—forever. That’s what keeps me coming back.

10. Know How to Get Unstuck

At some point in your journey as a Songwriter, something is going to happen to you, and there is no way to get around it. You’re going to get stuck. It’s inevitable, and while it is certainly frustrating when you crash into a wall and can go no further, there are plenty of things you can do to get unstuck…eventually.

Here are just a handful of ideas that may be helpful to you when you get stuck writing songs.

Write Something Else

There is no rule that says you have to continue writing one song until it’s completely finished, no matter what. In fact, that’s not how most tracks are created, so don’t feel bad if you get stuck. When that does happen, walk away and immediately begin writing something else. Maybe a chorus for another track, or even an email, an article, or a poem. Sometimes when you’re not thinking about the one cut, the solution can come to you.

Write From Another Perspective

If you’ve been writing a song from one perspective, why not try another? If it’s about a boy pining for a girl, why not flip it around and do the opposite? Perhaps there’s another angle or side to the story that should be investigated? Or, if it’s sad, make the tune do a 180 and try penning it as happy. You never know what will come out of this exercise until you’ve done it!

Read

Lyrics. Books. Poems. Articles (perhaps books about songwriting, but not necessarily). If you’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about words and what sounds most interesting and how they fit together and you’ve gotten yourself stuck, try filling your head with sentences and paragraphs and rhymes from other places. They can come from anywhere! The point here is to read anything for inspiration.

Listen

As a musician, you’re already doing a lot of this, but if you’re stuck writing a new piece of music, you may want to stop listening to it over and over and over and press play on something else. Maybe your all-time favorite track, maybe a tune you’ve never heard. Listen to the words, the melodies, the harmonies, and how it all works together. The best artists borrow from others!

Set a Time Limit

This can be a fun exercise, and even if it doesn’t work the first time, it’s worth investigating and trying more than once. Set yourself a time limit to finish the song you’re stuck on. Maybe an hour, maybe three, maybe one day. If you know there’s a stopping point, your brain may finally cease introducing new ideas and alternate options. Sometimes too much freedom is a bad thing and parameters can be helpful!

Songwriter & Producer Cliff Goldmacher
Cliff Goldmacher

In the music business for over twenty-five years, GRAMMY-recognized Songwriter Cliff Goldmacher is also a Producer, Engineer, Author, and Owner of recording studios in Nashville, Tennessee and Sonoma, California. A multi-instrumentalist and Session Musician, Cliff has recorded, played on, and produced thousands of recordings for major and independent Publishers, record labels, from up-and-coming Songwriters to GRAMMY winners.

Cliff has worked as a Staff Songwriter for a major Nashville Publisher and his songwriting collaborators include multi-platinum selling and Grammy-winning artists Ke$ha, Keb’ Mo’, Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead), Chris Barron (Spin Doctors) & Lisa Loeb. Cliff’s songs have been cut by major label artists in genres ranging from country, pop, and jazz to classical crossover. His music has also been used on NPR’s “This American Life” and in national advertising campaigns. Along with multiple songs in the top 40 on the jazz charts, Cliff’s song “Till You Come To Me,” went to #1. Most recently, Cliff’s song “Cold Outside”–a collaboration with Keb’ Mo’–was included on Keb’ Mo’s GRAMMY-winning album, “Oklahoma.”

As an educator, Cliff teaches workshops for BMI, ASCAP, The Stanford Jazz Workshop, NARAS, LinkedIn Learning, The Songwriter’s Guild of America, the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International (NSAI), Taxi, and The Durango Songwriter’s Expo. For multiple years, Cliff served on the San Francisco Board of Governors for the Recording Academy (GRAMMY Organization).

As an Author and Journalist, Cliff has written articles for EQ, Recording and ProSound News magazines along with numerous music websites and blogs. Cliff’s first eBook The Songwriter’s Guide To Recording Professional Demos, has sold over 6,000 copies.

Songwriter Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is a Songwriter, Producer, and artist living in Nashville, TN. He is signed to a worldwide co-publishing deal with Tape Room Music (Nashville) and Artist Publishing Group (Los Angeles) as well as a record deal with BBR (Stoney Creek), and has written songs for artists such as Charlie Puth, Thomas Rhett, Kane Brown, Ava Max, Lee Brice, Meek Mill, Justin Timberlake, Lauren Alaina, Dierks Bentley, HARDY, and more.

Originally from Meridian, Mississippi, Johnson grew up surrounded by music. He is a classically trained Pianist and Cellist, and grew up performing everywhere from bluegrass festivals to orchestra concerts. From a young age, Johnson has written and produced music with his two sisters in their country band Track45 (managed by Missi Gallimore and Gary Borman, and signed to BBR/Stoney Creek).

In 2012, Johnson moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University, and it was at this time that he began co-writing. Johnson also made many connections in the country world singing BGVs for the CMA Awards each year–heʼs had the opportunity to perform with artists like Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Reba, and many more. Johnson met Ashley Gorley of Taperoom Music through a co-writer and they began working together, leading to Johnsonʼs eventual signing at Tape Room Music/APG in 2018.

His first major cut was “Patient” with multi-platinum pop artist Charlie Puth on his 2018 album “Voicenotes”. Since then, heʼs had dozens of cuts in both the pop and country worlds, as well as success as a Producer. Johnson had his first #1 in 2020 with Lee Brice’s “One of Them Girls”, which stayed at the top of the charts for 3 weeks. He’s also had #1 songs with Weezer (“All My Favorite Songs”) and Dierks Bentley (“Gone”).

Currently, Ben spends most of his time writing and producing at his studio on Music Row, and working with his band Track45. Track45 released their first EP in 2020, and their single “Met Me Now” went to radio in 2021. The song earned them a spot as the most added artist on country radio the week of its release. Find Track45 online at www.track45.com.

Songwriter/Producer Peter Zizzo
Peter Zizzo

Peter Zizzo is an Emmy and Grammy Award-winning Songwriter and Producer whose work has sold in excess of one hundred million records worldwide.

He has written/produced worldwide hit songs for, and with, artists including Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, Jason Mraz, Billy Porter, Brie Larson, M2M, Pixie Lott, BeBe and CeCe Winans (Grammy Winner: Best Gospel Album), and many, many more. His songs have also been featured in many major films and television shows.

As a talent developer, he was instrumental in the early careers of Avril Lavigne, Vanessa Carlton, Billy Porter, and Pixie Lott.

As a Composer for children’s television, he has written and produced the theme songs for hit Nickelodeon’ shows like Blue’s Clues and You, Rusty Rivets, Middle School Moguls, and Fresh Beat Band of Spies, and countless other songs for TV shows including Peter Rabbit (Emmy Nominee: Best Original Song), The Fresh Beat Band (Emmy Winner: Best Musical Composition / Direction) Winx Club, Norman Picklestripe, and many others.

Recently, Peter’s focus has shifted more and more toward the children’s television space: “Oddly, I’ve found that almost no other songwriting endeavor I’ve undertaken has so completely freed me to explore so many genres of music, while also tapping into my Jordan-esque level of pun-manship. I love the role songwriting plays in children’s storytelling. I can just fully externalize my messy, uncool inner creative child. In truth, I’m not that messy anymore. Though I do remain highly, and proudly, immature.”

In addition to writing the songs for an upcoming Netflix children’s musical series, Peter is developing his own music-driven kids shows, and has begun a book about songwriting entitled Dare To Suck!.

A lifelong New Yorker, he recently moved to Los Angeles, and lives in Marina Del Rey.

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