If you type the phrase, ‘how do I get started on a song’ into Google – it’s almost guaranteed that the first piece of advice you will come across is, ‘Start with a winning title’. or ‘Pick a great title’.
Aye – sure that’s a great idea – but it’s also facile and almost meaningless. A bit like saying if you want to write a song that is pure genius – start by being a pure genius.
But having said that – for some songwriters – getting a good title is a good way to start – so assuming that was possible let’s think about who we could go about it.
Here’s my suggested path to find a song title:
1.Don’t try to find a title
With your first step is – don’t try to find a title – start with a broader topic or theme which you can then explore. That give you a better chance of coming title, e.g.
Let’s say we choose the topic of Death.
2. Draw from your own experience
Troll your own your experience and your imagination – and just write everything down that comes into your mind – related to death.
Feelings, images, environment (church? funeral parlour? hospital…). Review your personal reflection and write down a list of possible ideas for titles.
3. Find synonyms and use a keyword generator
Put your topic into a keyword generator – which is something usually used by website developers trying to improve the searchability of their website by generating the keywords people use in searches. You will find a keyword tool by typing ‘free keywords tool’ into Google.
4. Do online research
Now research the topic online. e.g. Wikipedia, funeral parlour websites, murder cases and so on.
As part of your online research use all of the keywords and phrases you have come up with and search the fiction section on Amazon.
Check the names of books that come up. There just might be a great hook for title for your hit song in among them.
Book titles are a particularly good source of song titles. It’s important to note that a book title can’t be copyrighted. And a book that is a best seller – has probably already got a great memorably title.
Write down all of the possible titles from your internet and amazon search and add them to you list. With any luck there will be a few good contenders there.
5. One more step: sleep on it
Sleep on it. And review and you lists the next day. While you sleep your subconscious mind will thinking about you titles and your topic. There’s a god chance that by the end of that day you will have a great title for your next song.
Here’s your task. Do the exercise above and come up with a song title related to the topic death – and write a song with it. Tell me how you got on on the Songwriting Magic Facebook group. If you make a demo post it to soundcloud so your fellow songwriters can hear it.