Quotes That Helped Me (Songwriting Edition – Part 2)

This last week has been pretty rough. I’m coming off the Phenelzine, which has been a pretty unpleasant process, and I just haven’t had the wherewithal to write anything to be perfectly honest. I’ve just been trying to get through each day. But I wanted to post something and this seemed as good as anything, especially since I’m officially finishing my Masters this week with Graduation on Tuesday. So here are some more of my favourite quotes about songwriting. I hope they inspire you.


“Songwriting really anchored me.” – Freya Ridings

“In a lot of ways, songwriting helped save my life.” – Mary Gauthier

“Creating something beautiful out of pain helps ease the pain. So, that’s kind of how I got to songwriting – quite honestly out of desperation.” – Mary Gauthier

“Music is catharsis for me.” – Sara Bareilles

“Songwriting is like going to church. I’m connecting to something, and it’s rewarding in really important ways. I don’t need to share it with anyone to feel good about it.” – Juliana Hatfield

“Music is the purest form of art… therefore true poets… seek to express the universe in terms of music. The singer has everything within him. The notes come out from his very life. They are not materials gathered from outside.” – Rabindranath Tagore

“For me, songwriting is something like breathing: I just do it. But that doesn’t mean you’re fantastic.” – Adam Duritz

“All I do is just try and learn from the best, and realise that however well I think I’m doing, I could always be better.” – Andy Fraser

“I use three main tools in writing: instinct, hard work and dumb luck. Dumb luck is missing a train and, while you wait for the next one, writing a key word, line or verse. When this happens often enough you begin to believe in fate.” – David Massengill

“My favourite songwriting trick is writing something like ‘XO.’ In my brain, I thought, ‘This is probably going to be a love song. How can I change that and find ways to twist that.’ As a songwriter, it’s your job for the song to take twists and turns that people don’t expect.” – Kelsea Ballerini

“I teach songwriting a lot, and I always tell my students, ‘You gotta write the little songs sometimes to get to the next big song in the chute.’ You gotta write ’em to get to it. You never know what’s going to be a little song or a big song.” – Mary Gauthier

“I think you can refine what you do, and become more consistent. And you write better songs that have a better shape and a better feeling. You evolve into and out of things, and go through stages, but, ultimately, you do improve.” – Richard Thompson

“You might ‘write from the heart,’ but you’d better polish with your brain.” – Margaret Atwood

“Don’t be afraid to write bad songs and then start over and re-evaluate. Songs are like plants, in that you grow them. Some grow really fast, and others need pruning and care… And, finally, a song needs to move you. If it doesn’t move you, it will never move anybody else.” – Corey Harris

“Ultimately all you can do is write songs the best you can, then put them out and see if people like them.” – Michael Kiwanuka

“Musical magic is created by human beings: learning their craft, trying things out, practising.” – Joe Jackson

“Songwriting never gets old. There’s always stuff to write about.” – Tori Kelly

“One of the nice things about songwriting is you can be inspired by absolutely anything.” – Jens Lekman

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams

“It’s the ability to recognise valuable accidents that’s the key part of songwriting.” – Dean Friedman

“Anyone involved with songwriting will testify to the fact that each song, no matter how pure or from the heart, has its own story, its own peculiar way of getting written.” – C. Sigman

“I’ve always loved both writing and songwriting. The journey is fascinating to me.” – Manika

“What keeps me motivated to create new music is the joy of songwriting. The joy of being creative. The joy of writing a poem or essay. Writing anything. I just love writing, whether it is music or words.” – Nick Heyward

“Songwriting is the closest thing to magic that we could ever experience. That’s why I love songwriting.” – Rodney Atkins

“I write all the time, I don’t stop. I love it. It’s a fascinating and endless pool of ideas and thoughts.” – Mark Chadwick

“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” – Plato

“Songwriting is such a sensitive energy. It’s just a vibration of frequencies.” – Victoria Monet

“Combining sounds that are from another universe with the classic songwriting structures never gets old for me.” – Harley Edward Streten

“I’m writing about emotions.” – Sara Bareilles

“My experience with songwriting is usually so confessional, it’s so drawn from my own life and my own stories.” – Taylor Swift

“For me, songwriting has become a practice of finding out what I’m really thinking.” – Kate Dimbleby

“I’ve always used songs and music and songwriting as a way to sort of let feelings go.” – Adam Gontier

“I fell into [songwriting] by mistake and I can’t get out of it. It fascinates me. I like to point out the rawer points of life.” – Keith Richards

“I never judge my own songwriting. It’s just my heart. What’s there to judge about your own heart?” – Jillian Rose Banks

“All songs are living ghosts. And long for a living voice.” – Brendan Kennelly

“I feel like my songs are like diary entries for me. So I usually write about things that have happened to me specifically or sometimes it can be someone who’s close to me.” – Sara Bareilles

“You know, I would say that songwriting is something about the expression of the heart, the intellect and the soul.” – Annie Lennox

“I think songwriting was the biggest way that I found my identity.” – Camila Cabello

“When you write a song… you’re sharing some of your life with the listener.” – Nina Baker


As I said, I hope these have been inspiring. I know they inspire me.

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