Advices for Songwriting and Singing

"How y'all doing out there in Guitar Land? I want to introduce you to AdryA... Many say she's got the voice of an angel and an unique way of phrasing... Her music is relaxing, mysterious and gives soul food to its listeners... She is called Adrienn Antal. The artist name AdryA comes from her nickname Adry to which she added the initial of her second name, a capital "A".

Her excellent ear and sense for music, her clean voice were already noticed in the early nursery school years.

She's been impressed by many styles of music, especially by rock (AOR and progressive), synth-pop, dark, alternative and a bit of industrial music. Some of her most favorite bands/performers are: Depeche Mode, Yes, U2, Nine Inch Nails, A-ha, Europe, Asia, Glenn Hughes and a well known Hungarian singer/songwriter/poet called Ákos.

She is very talented and a beautiful lady too! I'm lucky enough to get her to write an article on "Advices for Songwriting and Singing." So Please... get some refreshment and sit back for a great read." - Scott

  Advice for songwriting and singing

-by AdryA-

Writing a good song is a challenge. There are many different ways to do it, depending on the certain artist(s). After a long journey of experiences and skills, everyone will find the right method to use in the future.

To be able to create, it is essential that you dare to make experiments, love adventures and exploring.

First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is AdryA (Adrienn Antal), I’m a singer/songwriter from Budapest, Hungary and have been dealing with music from my childhood. I would like to share my musical experiences with other artists and also with the curious readers of this site. I really hope my words will give others impulse, strength, encouragement and of course some help how to start or go on…

First part: songwriting advice

  1. The "seed"

In my opinion, the real seed of a song is the inspiration; that’s where everything comes from, the deepest essence… The key to the gate of creating. Inspiration is something magical and mysterious that I can’t really describe, but if I tried I would say it’s a kind of impulse that wants to be manifested by us.

Inspiration always "strikes” us like a bolt from the blue, without counting on it. So never want it to come, it doesn’t work that way! 

  1. The idea

Every song starts with an idea, which can be a short melody you suddenly hear inside, some words that will be a part of the future lyrics, a fine sequence of chords, a whole verse or refrain… Let me mention some possibilities that can be useful to find that special idea:

-         You don’t necessarily need an instrument in front of you. It may be enough just to croon or sing in the bathroom… But if you feel you have sang something really catchy, try to repeat it and then save it so you can work it out later!

-         If you don’t have the opportunity to sing or croon, you can find out some great melodies on the brain… For example, the idea of my best song came while I was sitting on a boring lesson and didn’t have the energy to listen to the lecturer LOL. Once I heard a great refrain in my mind, played by a whole band. I managed to memorize it (at least something really similar to the original theme) and recorded the idea as soon as I got home.

-         It’s always an advantage if you can play an instrument. Improvisation is one of the best ways to collect ideas. If you are a singer also, it is worth to sing along with some accompaniment. Never start to improvise on the purpose you want to write a song! Relax and abandon yourself to the music!

Like an embryo develops into a baby, the idea becomes a complete song after going though a long and complex process.

Don’t worry if your „rehearsals” are not successful; never give up! Sometimes it takes a lot of time and trials to get the right idea.

Advice: Always save your ideas, even if you have only 2 minutes left til you leave… Record them on a tape or on a HDD, don’t care about the quality for the first time. Or write a score.. You never know which idea can be the road to a hit song! ;-)

3. Working out

Maybe this is the most difficult session. It matters a lot how you complete the idea you already have. For example, it’s not enough if a song starts in a catchy way; you must pay attention to the continuation and think with the mind of a listener (if you write songs for the audience and not just for yourself…).

If you haven’t written the lyrics yet and either don’t know exactly what the topic will be but your idea has a special atmosphere, it’s pretty enough! Just follow your feelings and let the inner voice drive you! Words can come later – I think the instrumental version of a song may be a staff for writing lyrics.

A tip how to go on:

Listen to the idea many times and try to continue it (with singing or with an instrumental accompaniment or both together). Keep on doing it until you find the theme you have been looking for. Then try to compose the missing parts of the song by repeating the method mentioned.

Lay emphasis on dynamics and excitement so that the song will have an arc. May it be an emotional journey, a real musical adventure for the listeners! Try to touch their souls with both powerful and lyrical, fast and slow, louder and more silent parts… Make it colorful with different sounds and effects (but don’t use too many)!

In my opinion the two keys to the listeners’ ears are generally a perfect intro/beginning and a great refrain. The first impression is the most important, but you should get the audience listen to the whole song.

Strive for something unique, not for sounding like other artists or bands. It’s obvious we all have been impressed by others but let them be just influences.

Tip: If your song has more versions, ask other’s opinion which one is the best. Knowing people’s demand is always important!

  1. Lyrics

I have heard about many different ways to write lyrics. Just like songwriting, it depends on the artist how to do it.

For me it’s always music that comes at first, I like to feel the atmosphere of the song and hear the musical background because it inspires me.

I let the vibes overrun my body and soul, start playing the music and sing along with it. I try to improvise with words… it’s the same process I do with melodies when I find out the main idea but now I do it with words… If I have the first sentence or verse it is much easier to fill in the remaining gap.

Second part: singing advice

Human voice is the most natural and most sensitive instrument in the world so it needs much caring and a special treatment.

To acquire the best skills it is recommended to seek a good voice teacher and take as many lessons as you think you need. It’s important to learn how to breathe correctly and how to manage your energy.

It takes time, patience and hard work to get your voice well-trained so don’t think it’s just a question of days... But if you feel the development it will motivate you. The key to keeping fit and getting on an even higher level is regular practicing. Vocal cords behave like muscles so they need to be trained constantly. But never force them (especially if you have flu or sore throat), if you feel like „it’s enough” then leave the rest for the other day! We had better prevent inflammation of the cords.

Here are some exercises for breathing technique:

  • Lay down on the bed. Take a deep breathe into your stomach and hold it in for a while then slowly blow it out through your mouth. Repeat it more times.
  • To strengthen your diaphragm, alter the previous exercise in the following way: don’t hold in your breath but start to sing while lying on the bed. (Apply this technique when you are singing in a normal pose as well.)
  • An other great diaphragm-strenghtening practice: stand up, hold a chair or a „heavier” object and lift it up til your arms get in a horizontal position then start singing. It’s not too comfortable but very useful!

Advice: always practise some scales before getting into serious singing because vocal cords need to be warmed up. Start with the easiest excercise that consists of 3 tones or so, then follow with more difficult ones.

Don’t feel less if you can’t get into extra high (or low) ranges like Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey… It’s not range of voice that makes you a good singer. Anyway, I think range can be extended by special exercises but remember: no force! Be careful with extra ranges.

In my opinion it’s unique timbre or tone that really counts. If you have it then you are very lucky! I bet you know more singers whose voices you immediately recognize without guessing who they can be…

Never want to copy any other singers even if you love the way they sing. Strive for developing your own style; this will make you an individuality!

Technical components are just the physical part of singing well. What is more important is that you should color the melodies with a lot of feelings, fill them with heart and soul so that it will be real music not just a scale. Feel that you are free and flying on the wings of music!


Good luck! J


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