As a songwriter, you have superpowers. You can do things that regular people only dream about. Even if you’ve only ever written half a song, that’s more creating than many people will do in a lifetime.
Superhero stories are popular because we secretly want to be just like them. Whether through a crazy accident or self disciplined study, a superhero is special and can do great deeds that others can’t… and we all want to be special and accomplish great things, just like them.
First we’ll explore your present and future songwriting superpowers then you’ll discover how you can develop these powers even further…
But I Don’t Feel Like a Superhero…
If you’re reading this, thinking “But I’m ordinary and there’s nothing special about me.” Consider this… while you might look a lot like a regular person, there’s something different about you!
Most people don’t feel your hidden drive, your desire to create. You feel normal because you’re still stuck living your secret identity.
Let’s get you past the first act of your superhero story, where you’re still exploring and discovering your powers and abilities.
You don’t feel like a fully fledged superhero yet, because you’re still trying to learn how to fly. It’s time to get out of the phone booth so you can start exercising your songwriting superpowers…
Let’s take a moment to celebrate what you can already do, then you can decide what to work on next so you can develop your songwriting powers even further.
What Makes You Different From Everybody Else?
What’s going on beneath your surface that makes you want to create and make music and write songs?
First, you have an urge to create.
Most people just passively consume. They listen to songs, they watch YouTube videos, they sit and watch Netflix. While you do that too, you also have the desire to make something new, music and lyrics that nobody’s heard yet. You want to leave your mark on the world and touch other people with your songs. You have stories with a message to share. You want to add to and improve the world, instead of just watching it turn.
Second, you’re actively doing something about it.
You’re writing songs, although they might not be as good as you imagine them. You’re learning more about songwriting and searching for ways to develop your songwriting craft. Instead of thinking about it, you’re taking action and doing something positive and productive.
Third, you’re willing to move out of your comfort zone.
It might feel like a struggle some days, but you’re exploring and improving by writing. Learning and growing is supposed to be uncomfortable because when it’s “comfortable” you can already do it. To improve you need to push out of your comfort zone.
These traits set you apart from “normal” people who are spending their time passively absorbing, instead of developing new skills and abilities so you can reach further than you already can right now.
You Already Have Superpowers!
Ever tell someone you’ve written a song, or that you play an instrument? The most common reaction is either awe or jealousy: “I’ve always wanted to do that!”
So as a musician, you’re already more than average! You can stop conversations with your playing. You make angry people sad or nervous people happy. You have the power to make them laugh or cheer or cry together.
Writing songs is the next level. Instead of recreating or interpreting someone else’s songs… you’re creating your own. This is something that most people only dream of and will never even try.
What Songwriting Superpowers Do You Want?
What are some of your superpowers? What can you already do that “normal” people can’t?
- Can you hear things nobody else has ever heard?
- Are you able to turn your thoughts into sound?
- Do you make your guitar weep or shout out loud?
- Can you remember every word or note in a song?
- Do you spin words into captivating stories?
- Can you create entire worlds from your imagination?
- Are you able to make the sad happy or cause people to cry on command?
- Do you create the soundtrack for people’s memories?
- Do you help people work through their troubles and feel like somebody else understands their struggles?
- Will you shine a light on universal human truths?
- Do you inspire greatness in others?
- Can you cause people to consider new ideas or new ways of thinking?
- Can you represent the marginalized and shape social norms the way the newest generation of superheroes do?
- Will you shed light on injustice, inspire a rallying cry or bring attention to a political cause or problem?
What are your songwriting superpowers?
What can you achieve with your songwriting?
Fatal Flaws and Tragic Weaknesses
Superheroes and supervillains all have at least one flaw or weakness. It lets us relate to them and drives the drama in the story. Along with your songwriting superpowers you also have fallibilities, doubts and weaknesses. But they don’t actually make you weak, it’s what every songwriter experiences. You’re supposed to have them… it’s why your audience can relate to you and your songs!
Songwriting weaknesses are solvable. Years ago, my weakness was lyric writing. I’m a professionally trained musician. I can write melodies and chord progressions almost in real time. Lyrics come much slower for me. So, I went into training mode. I put in the work and developed an effective songwriting process. I learned strategies to develop deliberate practices to craft song lyrics so I can write lyrics whenever I want, rather than waiting for inspiration to hit me.
I turned this weakness into a superpower and those struggles made me stronger. Now, I teach songwriting to songwriters like you with articles like this on EpicSongWriting and in YouTube videos, online courses and one on one mentoring.
What are your songwriting weaknesses and how will you develop these weaknesses into songwriting superpowers?
6 Writing Prompts to Develop Your Songwriting Superpowers
1. Write a list of 10 songwriting superpowers you already have, then describe what you can do with them.
2. Write a list of musical superpowers you already have, then describe what you can do with them. How are they similar or different from your songwriting superpowers?
3. Write a list of 10 songwriting superpowers you want, then describe them with superhero imagery. Pick a couple and tell a story in point form. How did you get your powers? What can you do with them? Who can you help or affect with your power(s)?
4. Write more about one of your songwriting superpowers: what can / could you do with this power? What happens when you use it? What happens when it doesn’t work like you expected?
5. What’s your songwriting origin story? What were the steps on your songwriting journey? Brainstorm the high points then write your songwriting superhero backstory. Rewrite this as your artist biography.
6. Write about a songwriting weakness:
- What’s difficult because of this weakness?
- How is it holding you back?
- Where can you improve?
- What if you could turn it into a superpower?
- How can you turn your weakness into a superpower?
Check the list of songwriting articles at the end of this one to help you start turning your weaknesses into superpowers.
Songwriting Superpower Prompts
Write a song chorus or an entire song about:
1. Being a superhero. What’s special about you? What are your superpowers? What can you do for other people?
2. Using your favourite superpower. What can you do? What happens when you use it? What happens when it doesn’t work like you expect?
3. A superhero weakness. What happens? How does it limit your abilities? How do you compensate for this weakness? How do you turn it into a superpower?
4. What if you knew a superhero? Write from the perspective of a “secondary” character.
5. What if you were saved by a superhero? What happened to you? How were you saved? How does your life change and what happens afterwards?
7. What happens in a superhero moment, when somebody unexpectedly unleashes a superpower? Write from the superhero’s or a bystander’s perspective.
8. Brainstorm superhero and pop culture references for 3 minutes. Pick three then free write for 10 minutes. Use the best ideas to start a new song.
9. Give yourself superpowers. How many can you think of? How many could you control? Write a song chorus and two verses about your best superpower.
Leave a comment after all the video examples and tell me:
What’s a songwriting superpower you have or want to develop?
Superhero Inspiration Songs
Superhero Lyric References
Kryptonite, a love song of normal people with superpowers, by 3 Doors Down
Villain, told from the perspective of a supervillain, by Theory of a Deadman.
Something Just Like This, I don’t need a partner with superpowers, by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay
Superman’s Song, what happened to Superman when he got old, by The Crash Test Dummies
Jimmy Olsen’s Blues, perspective of the guy who knows Superman, by the Spin Doctors
Songs About Superheroes
Spiderman Theme Song by Aerosmith
Hero by Chad Kroger and Josey Scott
Live to Rise, from Marvel’s THE AVENGERS, by Soundgarden
Everyday Superhero Songs
Working Class Hero – Green Day
Somebody’s Hero – Jamie O’Neil
Everyday Superhero – Smash Mouth
My Hero – Foo Fighters
Not All Heroes Wear Capes – Owl City
Heroes – David Bowie
Secret Agents Songs
You Know My Name – Chris Cornell from Casino Royale
Another Way To Die – Alicia Keys & Jack White from Quantum of Solace
Skyfall – Adele from Skyfall
Instrumental Inspiration: Theme Songs
James Bond (Original from Dr. No)
Mission Impossible (original)
Mission Impossible (reboot)
Iron Man 3 Theme