There are three Methods I use:
- The “Do Nothing” method. This is my favourite. It’s when a song drifts into my head for no reason. I could be driving my car, in the bath or going for a walk.
Most of my songs are written this way.
- Inspiration from a personal experience. For example when I wrote Starchild I’d spent the night with my kids in a Space Capsule Hotel in Saigon and the next morning the song popped into my head. The Day America Cried, a song about Heather Heyer (The Victim of Charlottesville) happened after I saw a Documentary about Emmett Till.
Coming Through I wrote after the Parkland massacre. The speech given thereafter by Emma Gonzalez made me well up and the next day the song wrote itself.
- Occasionally I freestyle to a beat or try to hammer out a hook to go with a verse or vice versa. This is the most challenging method but can yield great and unexpected results.
The first line is either the hardest or the easiest line to write. Once you have the first line it’s easy, until you get to the hook that is. To me the hook is a pleasant surprise.
Imagine it’s Christmas Day, you are expecting a present but instead of a pair of slippers you get the keys to a Ferrari. If the hook doesn’t have that effect I keep trying till it does.
I never write Intros/Outros or Middle Eights, I always freestyle them on the fly. I did this on my first song as I grew impatient to finish it and it worked out very well so I have done it the same ever since.
I will freestyle lyrics on the fly with the melody when I’m creating the song. Normally I keep 50% then go back and touch up. Once the song title/hook reveals itself
the song comes together quickly, normally within a day.