Quotes That Helped Me (Songwriting Edition – Part 1)

Since I’ve just finished my Masters – and a Masters in songwriting, no less – I wanted to do a quotes post specifically about songwriting. It has been taking up the majority of my brain for the last… I don’t know… very long time. So I wanted to pull together some quotes about songwriting because it is my very favourite thing, my most enduring special interest, the one thing that I know without a doubt that I could not live without.


“I think that talent, good songwriting and passion, will always outlast hype.” – Beau Bokan

“I write a song because I want it to make me feel better. Other people have different ways of letting off steam. Mine is writing songs.” – Ed Sheeran

“I write every day, even when I’m on a plane, in the tub or on the bus. It burns in me. Songwriting is my way of channelling my feelings and my thoughts. Not just mine, but the things I see, the people I care about. My head would explode if I didn’t get some of that stuff out. Not everything I write is good, but it’s all good for me.” – Dolly Parton

“I feel the emotion that life conjures up and the songs I write get me closer to my feelings and realising who I am. It’s a natural process.” – Taylor Swift

“Everything in life influences my music. I’ve always used songwriting as a means to share what I think is profound.” – Jason Mraz

“The songs have taught me enough over the years. I know they’re smarter than me.” – Trey Bruce

“There are going to be moments of deep, deep doubts, and you have to have faith that your initial idea was good and just muddle through.” – Ann Brashares

“A song will find the proper moment to come to life.” – Valerie Simpson

“It’s not just music. To me, it’s songwriting more than anything. A lot of people say it’s expression, but to me, it’s more than that.” – Brantley  Gilbert

“I love getting on a big writing binge and staying up a couple days working on song and knowing at the end of those two or three days that I’ve created something that was never in the world before.” – Dolly Parton

“Songwriting is a very mysterious process. It feels like creating something from nothing. It’s something I don’t feel like I really control.” – Tracy Chapman

“It happens so quickly it seems like it’s coming from somewhere else. It’s not. It just means that you’re in sync with yourself.” – Harry Nilsson

“There’s an element to songwriting that I can’t explain, that comes from somewhere else. I can’t explain that dividing line between nothing and something that happens within a song, where you have absolutely nothing, and then suddenly you have something. It’s like the origin of the universe.” – Nick Cave

“I tried to look at writing a song almost like solving a mystery. The song was there, buried somewhere in my brain. All I had to do was follow the clues until I figured it out.” – Jon Skovron

“I often say songwriting is like trying to climb down a ladder at night. You put your foot on the next rung and test it out and make sure it holds and then you reach for the next one.” – Crowder

“Songwriting is like working on a jigsaw puzzle, and it doesn’t make any sense until you find that last piece. It has to make sense or it doesn’t work.” – Chrissie Hynde

“All songs are already perfectly written. It is the writer’s job to find it and get it on paper.” – Beth Nielsen Chapman

“Each song has its own secret that’s different from another song, and each has its own life. Sometimes it has to be teased out, whereas other times it might come fast. There are no laws about songwriting or producing.” – Mark Knopfler

“There are no limitations with a song. To me a song is a little piece of art. It can be whatever you like it to be. You can write the simplest song, and that’s lovely, or you can just write a song that is abstract art.” – Laura Nyro

“The hell with the rules. If it sounds right, then it is.” – Eddie Van Halen

“I don’t think about the styles. I write whatever comes out and I use whatever kind of instrumentation works for those songs.” – Lenny Kravitz

“I really like this trend of songwriting that is honest and intelligent and serious and longing.” – Parker Posey

“I feel some kind of duty to be really, really honest as a writer. The same is true of my songwriting.” – Juliana Hatfield

“Honest always sells. Always has, always will.” – Ryan Tedder

“Just speak your truth, it’s an important cornerstone of how your life ends up sort of unfolding in front of you. Even if it’s painful, if it’s honest, it’s going to bring you to the place you deserve to be.” – Sara Bareilles

“Being so honest in my writing is cathartic.” – Brian Molko

“I’d say, at the end of the day, you know, from a songwriting practice standpoint, you write songs to make yourself feel something true and validating, and cathartic, maybe, and then whoever responds to it is, like, out of your control.” – Ben Hopkins

“The cool thing about writing music, writing anything, is that once you publish it, it’s there forever.” – Ryan Tedder

“If you pour your life into songs, you want them to be heard. It’s a desire to communicate. A deep desire to communicate inspires songwriting.” – Bono

“Songwriting ability is a gift. After a while, you come to realize, ‘I’ve really been blessed. I can write these things and it makes me happy, and it makes millions of people happy.’ It’s an obligation, it’s bigger than you. It’s the only true magic I know. It’s not pulling a rabbit out of a hat; it’s real. It’s your soul floating out to theirs.” – Tom Petty

“All I can be is me – whoever that is.” – Bob Dylan

“I always believed that I have something important to say and I said it.” – Lou Reed


I would like to write some more posts about songwriting in the future, what it means to me as a special interest, as a coping mechanism, what it’s given me, and so on. It means so much to me so it would be nice to talk about it more. I mean, it is my biggest special interest and I’ve yet to really talk about special interests on here. Sometimes the list of important topics feels endless, in both a good way and a bad way.