This week Singing Teachers Talk takes a deep dive into the songwriting process with artist, songwriter and vocal coach Allie Moss. The New Orleans-based songwriter reveals how the creative process works for her and shares some top writing tips. Allie’s music has featured in Charmed, Batwoman, and Netflix’s Virgin River. She also co-leads education platform Thinking Outside the Blocks.
- There is no one defining skill that you need to be a songwriter, but it helps if you’re good at storytelling and able to allow yourself to be vulnerable.
- Try reverse engineering the structure of your favourite song. Try ghost writing and counting the syllables. Then write something with the same number of syllables in each line. Keep the hook in the same place and rewrite it in your own words.
- The melody is not more important than the lyrics, nor are the lyrics more important than the melody. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for writing a song. Just experiment and follow your feelings.
- Sometimes writing songs is just for you. It can be a deeply personal way of processing emotion, rather than being intended to be shared with the rest of the world.
- Focus on getting your emotions out on the page. You can spend time and edit later. While the emotion is there you should use that without trying to filter it down.
‘I got bitten by the bug of making something out of nothing and being that creative spark’
‘Songwriting can feel like a little bubble where you’re alone with your thoughts and fears’
‘Pause and assess your skills with kindness and honesty’
Relevant Links & Mentions:
Allie’s artist examples: Joni Mitchell, Sia, David Bazan, Bon Iver, Coldplay, Joseph, The Beatles
Blog on The Genius Myth: thinkingoutsidetheblocks.com/listentothisrevisionisthistory
Recommended Podcast: pushkin.fm/episode/hallelujah
Music Technology Tools: Pro Tools; Logic Pro; Garageband; Splice
Yamaha Reface CP
ABOUT THE GUEST
New Jersey-born Allie Moss is an artist, songwriter, sideman, and vocal coach. Her 2011 debut Late Bloomer landed high-profile syncs on Pretty Little Liars, Bones, Parenthood, and a prominent BT Infinity campaign in the UK. Since then her songs have been placed in many TV & film spots throughout the years. Most recently, her single “Already Down” was featured in Charmed, Batwoman, and Netflix’s Virgin River. She’s been an integral member of Ingrid Michaelson’s band since 2006 and has also toured backing William Fitzsimmons, Joshua Radin, and Rosi Golan.
Allie co-leads Thinking Outside the Blocks with her longtime collaborator Bess Rogers. TOTB is an education platform and soon-to-be membership for songwriters of all levels and genres. Its workshops and resources are designed to help writers break away from unhelpful mindsets and patterns and get them into a place where their creativity is flowing and evolving. What began in 2016 as a single presentation on their personal experiences working through their creative blocks is now a thriving community offering free weekly Community Classes, monthly BlockBusters songwriting challenges, Immersive Workshops, Coaching, and 2 courses (Rhythm for Songwriters, Music Theory for Songwriters).
Allie currently lives in New Orleans, LA with her partner, where she is writing songs, learning Logic Pro, and getting used to the humidity and hurricanes. Her next single, “Forward Motion” will be released in January 2022.