I often hear people say that “lyrics are just poems put to music,” but I disagree. Whenever I hear a poet speaking, their words seem much different than anything I could write to a song. It’s as if the absence of melody requires them to take bolder chances, to read and speak in a different way than if they were to sing. Let’s say you’re a poet interested in having your poem turned into a song. What are the steps?
For the ease of writing this, I’m going to assume you’re a poet who came to me at Brain Stamp to turn your poem into a song. This will allow me to take you through the steps we would take. You can then use those steps yourself or at least know what the process will be.
1). We ask for reference songs
Who are your favorite artists? Favorite songs? What do you want your song to sound like? We won’t be copying the songs, but we’ll need them for direction. It’s better to be too narrow here than too broad. One song is plenty!
2). We create a couple of rough backing tracks
We use your references to come up with two ideas (generally not more than two, we’ve found that’s plenty).
3). I create a couple rough melodies
I use your poem and put it to a melody to fit within each track option. This is to show you what we can do but also helps me determine how to phrase your words.
4). You choose your favorite option
Pick the one you like best and we get to work! We flesh out the song, tweak all of the spots, and polish it up.
5). We send you a final draft
This is so you can hear an “almost final” version and make any last changes you’d like.
6). We submit your completed song
Celebrate! You’re a songwriter! You have a completed song to use however you’d like! These are my favorite days of work. They are so exciting and I love helping people achieve their songwriting goals.
What if I want to create a song this way, but I don’t have a poem I’d like to use?
There are many exercises and challenges you can find online. Try searching for “Poetry prompts” or exercises or something, then work on something that speaks to you! It is also helpful if you decide on some type of rhythm or tempo NOW before you get started. Trust me. If you know what beat you’re writing to, you’ll avoid tricky situations later where you either have too many or not enough words. This isn’t a requirement, but is helpful down the road! If you hire us to do it we can help you through that part.
What if I want to turn my poetry into lyrics but don’t want to hire someone?
This is totally possible! It will just take a lot of effort on your part. You’ll want to either learn an instrument or learn to use pre-made, royalty-free tracks. It is definitely doable and feel free to try if you don’t have the cash or ability to hire someone! Just go through the steps I listed above but you obviously don’t need to submit the song to yourself.
Do you have any other tips?
Why yes, thank you for asking! My biggest tip is this: Get a metronome (or use one online). Recite your poems out loud to a beat. Actually say them out loud. You can even rap them if you want! This will help you pick out any spots that will need to be edited for music. This is so important I’m going to highlight it in a Tweet. Feel free to share!Use a metronome. Say your lyrics out loud. This will help you become a better songwriter! Click To Tweet
Ultimately, either term (poetry or lyrics) is subjective. What you consider poetry may be entirely different from what I consider it to be. And that’s okay. The beauty of word creativity is that even if no one reads or hears it, it still exists. Every diary you’ve written, every post it note, every song unrecorded has still existed and changed you. Even if no one hears your words, like a tree in the woods, it still makes a sound.
Do you have a favorite poet or lyricist? Let me know who I should check out!
If you do want to hire us to put your poetry to music, please contact us here and let us know!