Comparing ourselves to other artists is tricky business. They’re at the top of the CCLI charts for lots of reasons, the biggest one being that their songs are really good! But, keep in mind that even those guys don’t write and record a perfect worship song every time. Sure, it would be great to produce a full CD of material that the entire country will be singing for the next decade, but in actuality, if even one or two songs catch on, it’s a good CD, right?
That said, using those songs and recordings as a benchmark to aim for with our own work is worth doing, as long as you don’t get frustrated when the first few songs you write don’t go worldwide. Look at an old hymnal. Most likely, the hymns that made it to print are the “good” songs, and how many of those do we still use?
Here’s 3 tips to follow when re-writing a song:
Write a new set of lyrics that match a top song syllable for syllable.
- Make the words’ accents land exactly as in the original
Keep the original melody’s rhythm, but change the notes and chords
- Change chords in the same places
Import the song you are imitating into your DAW and set the tempo grid to match the song exactly
- Work on the lyric, by playing guitar/ keys along with the original
- Work on the music by muting the original, keeping the tempo and arrangement
- Put in a simple drum loop that has the same kick and snare pattern as the original