As far as melody, the two things that help me the most are:
1. Listening to different styles of music (Pop, Urban, Country/Folk, Indie, etc.) helps to expand my creative arsenal. You will find that music you didn’t THINK you liked, you actually do once you sit down and take it in. We are all accustomed to rejecting music that we grew up not liking. Just like our taste in the opposite sex changes as we grow older, so does our taste in different styles of music. So try it out… listen to something you don’t normally listen to, and give it a chance. I always find that I’m pulling bits of different melodies I’ve heard together when coming up with something new.
2. Traveling. For some reason, this seems to clear my head, and give me a fresh perspective as it relates to creative ideas.
When it comes to lyrics, I like to consider two main things:
- My experiences… we are able to directly grab from raw emotions when we’ve experienced something. However, sometimes it’s hard to revisit some of the more extreme experiences in life… simply because we are not in that place anymore. However, when you really meditate on it, you can put yourself back in those shoes. Grab from that, and this leads to point two…
- As mentioned before, just act like you’re literally talking to the person. The lyrics usually just fall out of your mouth (given you’ve mentally put yourself back in the shoes of that experience, first). Like REALLY go there… and get upset/mad/happy/sad at that person or idea all over again. You will feel much better once the song is done lol.
Above anything, try not to think too hard. People love the simplest messages, and most melodies that feel good are simple as well. Don’t look at it from a standpoint of trying to impress someone. Instead, let your emotions come out in melody and lyric. It all starts with putting yourself in an emotional state (preferably one that you’ve experienced before since it’s easy to access). The best of songwriters (just like movie writers) are able to capture OTHER people’s experiences to the “T”, and put it into a song… but that’s next level haha. Let’s start with you first.
Lastly, remember to practice coming up with a great melody first.