By: Khaliq Glover
I was watching TV recently and I saw a movie that I hadn't seen in a long time that changed musical history. Wow! Where has the time gone? Can you believe that it's been almost 30 years since the movie "Saturday Night Fever" came out and broke all records at the box office and music sales.
Songwriters and Musicians - Do You Want To Get Paid? You need to go out and rent this movie, or even better, buy the soundtrack and study it very closely. Saturday Night Fever is one of the best selling record albums ever made because of one thing, GREAT SONGS.
The level of song craftsmanship is off the hook. The variety of music in this movie covers every single emotion. There's straight dance music, love songs, funk, r & b, pure disco, ballads, and more.
Up and coming songwriters should make it a point to regularly refer to the greats of the past and examine every nuance of their writing. These masters take the craft to a whole new level that still gets them income decades later.
Don't make the mistake of considering artists like the Bee Gees, or Kool and the Gang, as old fashioned and not what you need to study. These people made hits time and time again, proving that it was no accident. Wouldn't you like to have a fraction of their success? You can if you study them carefully.
You can listen to these songs 30 years later and even though styles have changed, a great song lives forever, and that's how you really get paid. Publishing royalties get you paid over and over and over again.
There is a BIG difference between a SONG and a RECORD. Great songs from the 70's and ‘80's are constantly being redone and sampled by younger writers and artists all the time. As a result, the songwriters of that era are still getting paid time and time again.
The thing that determines whether music sounds modern or old fashioned are the changes to the beat and rhythm. This applies to singing as well as musical instruments. You can even sing the melody to "Mary Had A Little Lamb" over reggae, rock ,or rap and it takes on a new sound each time, but that great and simple melody is still the basis of it all.
Just think about how differently singers such as Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, Sara Vaughn, and Elvis Presley sounded compared to singers like Aretha Franklin, Patsy Cline, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Mary J. Blige, or Beyonce.
Young people started singing and making music with more complicated syncopation compared to back in the day when rhythms were much simpler. But, the same 12 musical notes still exist. They just get shifted to different rhythm based on what's happening now.
Even rap is not immune to this effect. Think about how complicated the rhythm is for most rap compared to the days of "Rapper's Delight".
My point to this whole comparison is that if you build your song based on a great foundation of strong melody and lyrics, then it doesn't matter what happens with the rhythm too much because your song can be done in many styles and redone in the future. This will provide you with income well into the future because more than just one artist can perform it.
Destiny's Child redid "Emotions" written by the Bee Gees and it became a hit all over again and they get paid all over again decades later.
Study, study, study old songs to learn the craft and you'll have a huge advantage over your peers. Learn the reason why these songs are so catchy and why you can remember them even if you were a kid when you first heard them. They hook you and never let you go. So now YOU - GO FISH.