Mella Barnes


Chord Progressions: A Simple Explanation for Lyricists

A simple explanation of chord progressions

  I included the term "chord progressions" in my book because we often work with lyricists only, so we are creating the music as well as the melody. We will ask if they have a chord progression in mind, mostly to help us determine the melody. Sometimes people need us to define chord progression, so I decided to define it to make it easier! What are chord progressions? Chord Progressions are basically the order that your chords go. If your song is in C major, your chords are going to be C, F, and G primarily, with whatever else fits your particular so[...]


New Release: The Hymn to the Lost and Wicked Souls

New song release for author Jeremy Dwyer

We had the pleasure of creating and performing the music for author Jeremy Dwyer for his latest book release. The song can be heard by clicking on this link. Here is the information from the website about the book and song: The Hymn to the Lost and Wicked Souls is a song of spiritual redemption, that calls the souls of the dead to repentance for their wicked deeds in life. It urges them to turn to God’s ways, admitting their own sins. It also calls spirits to rest, rather than wage war, so that they do not haunt the living. This was written by the character n[...]


How to Write and Label a Song’s Bridge

How to Write and Label your song's bridge

A lot of my clients have trouble writing their song's bridge. It's the one part of the song that breaks away from the rest, so it can definitely be tricky. Another problem writers tend to have is labeling their songs correctly. Lyric sheets need to be formatted so that your session musicians can understand them. Pitch sheets need to be labeled as well. Let's dive into the bridge and straighten all this out! What is a bridge? A song’s bridge is *usually* located before the last chorus and it either changes up the meaning of the song or adds to the story.[...]


My First Article for Songwriting Magazine!

Mella Barnes' first article in Songwriting Magazine

It’s here! My first article for Songwriting Magazine. This is a lo-res version, but you can get the full version here: https://pocketmags.com/viewmagazine.aspx?titleid=2589&title=Songwriting+Magazine This article is based on my experiences with session singing and also from my new book. I am excited to work with Songwriting Magazine again in the future![...]


Brass in a Song: What It Is (and What It Isn’t)

A guide to confusing studio terms

  Actual conversation I had with a client: Customer: I need brass on this song Me: Okay I don’t play that, but I do know someone if you want to hire them - Customer: No, I want you to do it. Me: ….I don’t know how though. I could play it on a synth, but it won’t sound authentic - Customer: No I want you to sing it. Sing the brass. Me: ….. Customer: Like in that style. Sing it like with brass. Me: …do you mean, like, “brassy?” Like a style? Customer: Yes! So…this is why I included the term Brass in my book. B[...]


Bitrate – A Simple Explanation for Musicians

A simple guide to bitrate for non-techie musicians

  Raise your hand if you're a musician who isn't a big tech person! My hand just shot up along with hundreds of other people, I'm sure. Today I'm going to break down a complicated, techie term that goes over a lot of musicians heads: Bitrate. What is Bitrate? Bitrate (or bit rate) is the term for the number of kilobits per second of the song. Boring stuff if you’re just a musician and don’t care about the tech side, but it can definitely impact your final product so it’s worth noting! When you work with a studio or session musician, they[...]


Album Review for Electric Fits: Opposable Thumbs

A review for Electric Fits: Opposable Thumbs by Tarbeach Records

Louder Than War magazine has reviewed Electric Fits: Opposable Thumbs and gave it an 8 out of 10! The writer, Joe Whyte, was kind enough to mention me briefly. "The record as a whole is deceptively hard-edged despite its coating of sugar courtesy of the soaring vocals of Mella and the swooning strings and honey-tinged arrangements." I talked about this project in greater detail on my blog post here. Check that out if you want to know more about it! This was such a cool project, and I’m so happy for Walt and the press he is getting! I did several tracks o[...]


The Beat – A Simple Guide for Beginning Songwriters

An easy explanation of a song's beat for new songwriters

Songs talk about The Beat all the time. There are so many references that I couldn't fit them all here, but I'm sure you've heard a band or artist mention a beat at some point. This is occasionally a point of confusion for some writers or clients who aren't terribly familiar with a song's beat, so let's talk about it a little bit. The beat is also known as the pulse or rhythm of the song. You might think, “why is this something people get confused about?” but consider the many types of beat terms: Upbeat, Downbeat, Backbeat, Hyperbeat, and you find s[...]


How to Get a Great Bass Track for Your Song

How to get the best bass player for your song

Bass is kind of a generic term for “the lower parts” of the song. A bass can be a singer, a guitar, or several types of instruments (like a ukulele or clarinet). You may also hear people ask to "bring the bass up" or down. These are general things to know before heading into your session! Why should I care about the bass? Well, you should care about every aspect of your song (plus, there's a reason Meghan Trainor is all about it). If every track doesn't sound great on its own, it shouldn't be in the song. The only time you shouldn't care is if you're[...]