Bateau's Guide to Songwriting 101

Bateau is a Houston based (for now, until she moves to Melbourne, Australia) Trip-Hop/RnB/Hip-Hop artist who recently released a very DOPE album entitled "Dispatch". On top of being an awesome artist, Bateau is also amazing songwriter and official friend of the DOPECAUSEWESAID brand, so we reached out to ask if she would write a piece about her songwriting process and tips she may have for other aspiring singers and songwriters. 

For most musicians, songwriting is the most fulfilling experience of the whole music making process. It is where we spill our emotions, fears, thoughts, and secrets into the form of melodies. Songwriting is where all the emotions that are bottled up inside our chests are released into the world through our art, allowing us to breathe again.

But for all these reasons, songwriting can also be the most difficult and vulnerable part.
For me, songwriting always comes last. I like to take care of the instrumental first, so I have nothing left to do but focus on the words and messages I am trying to convey through any particular song. This allows me to have total relaxation, focus, and time to gather my thoughts.

Developing lyrics is the part of the music making process where you have to completely let go. This is where a listener can tell if you’re being genuine or not. When you hold nothing back, the emotions and words you are speaking pour into the heart of the listener. This is what makes music such a unique thing. Music is such a powerful medium of art that it is able to connect strangers with one another, the artist to their audience. The words you speak as an artist make you relatable, give you a face, and humanize you to the world. The biggest mistake you can make in songwriting is fabricating or diluting your feelings. As artists, we love, hate, cry, and fall ten times harder than the average person. I find that the best time to write a song is when I am at the peak of my emotions. This is when songwriting is effortless, genuine, and the words spill out of my mouth eloquently. Songwriting comes from the best and most difficult experiences, and I believe most artists will tell you that.

If you look back on to some of the greatest artist of all time, their best works have come from heartbreak or unfathomable situations. Take Freddy Mercury’s Queen, who wrote 'These Are The Days of Our Lives' upon succumbing to AIDS.  David Bowie wrote 'Lazarus' upon succumbing to cancer. Jhene Aiko wrote 'Promises' after she lost her older brother to cancer. And for you millennials, Beyonce wrote 'Lemonade' upon the betrayal of her husband.

These are the things people want to listen to. Relatable things that bring out emotions and make the listener feel. While singing about popping bottles and hitting the club can be great for a mindless night out, it isn’t what music is truly about.

Music is powerful, and words are lethal. Music with meaningful messages can change lives and create emotions that cannot be induced by any other form of art.  If you are fortunate enough to have the gift of music inside of you, I encourage you to share it in the purest and most genuine form. Be yourself, write what you feel, and hold nothing back.

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