Michael Laskow started TAXI music at age 37. That was 1992 and TAXI music is still going strong helping musicians get their music heard by record labels and film and TV publishers today. According to last night’s TAXI TV episode, Michael and his wife didn’t have enough money to both eat and pay rent when they first started TAXI. It has grown in to 10,000 members today.
Watching award-winning, hit songwriter Michael Anderson with Michael Laskow late last night on TAXI TV I was inspired to learn a number of key ideas every aspirational song-writer ought to consider in the context of how committed we are to our art, our craft, our business.
In this episode Michael and Michael share a number of tips that can help all aspirational song-writers improve their craft. I’ve compiled ten of the many highlights for you here.
The episode is well worth a watch, you can find it below.
1. The hardest thing to do is try to explain your song to someone else
The song has to do the talking, not you. You won’t be there to explain the song when they are listening to it. You need to work at your songs so they talk for themselves.
2. A song ought to be as fun to listen to as it is to make
To keep the spirit of a song it must 100% retain the initial excitement and energy that the original inspiration contained.
3. Remain in the zone of creation – overwrite if necessary
It pays, on the first draft, to write way too much. It’s important you get the emotion and inspiration down on paper writing ten verses if necessary.
4. Edit the next morning
Michael Anderson sometimes leaves it until later that day as to remain in the spirit of the song but not to lose the energy. Editing, or re-writing, later can help you trim those ten verses down to three.
5. Our subconcious is where our creativity comes from
When your mind is busy with ‘logic work’ your subconscious sits back. Inspiration strikes when you least expect it: when you’re going to bed, driving somewhere, or any time you disengage your logic. Be ready to capture your inspiration whenever it strikes.
6. Every songwriter should critique someone else’s song
What could you learn from critiquing someone else’s song? What can you learn from those that offer a critical ear for a song? What can you learn from your own critiques? Michael Anderson learned a lot about song-writing in the year he worked on the panel at TAXI critiquing songs.
7. Make sure your song strikes the heart
It’s important to get to heart of the matter in every song. If another person is not ‘getting’ your song, your song isn’t working.
8. The most important thing is the IDEA
You can’t polish a bad idea, however, you can improve a good one.
9. A song is like a child – at some point it is it’s own thing
Once you’ve done all you can with your song it will likely take on a life of it’s own. This important realisation could be the key to success for your song. Let go. Submit. Detach. Re-write if necessary.
10. Take the time, do something now – writing takes so much time
To be a successful songwriter is a full-time gig. If you’re not doing it 24/7, 365 days a year, someone somewhere else is. Never find yourself bored. Always make time to write.
Do you treat your song-writing gig as a profession or a hobby? Leave a COMMENT below:
Listen to these tips in detail and a live version of Michael Anderson performing “Maybe It Was Memphis” on TAXI TV here: