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Nick Herbert and Tim Hughes

00:33:40 · Songwriting

We have the opportunity as creatives to try to find a voice and enable people to articulate what’s going on deep in their hearts.

Tim Hughes & Nick Herbert


  1. Music is an unbelievable gift from God.

    1. It deeply impacts our thoughts, bodies, and emotions.

    2. Music helps people actually express what they are feeling.

  2.  Fun facts:

    1. Most toilets flush in E flat

    2. Cows produce more milk when they listen to music

    3. Chickens lay more eggs when they are listening to the genre of pop music.

    4. Premature newborn babies had a shorter length of stay in hospital when they listened to music than those who didn’t

 We have the opportunity as creatives to try to find a voice and enable people to articulate what’s going on deep in their hearts.

 Songwriting = perseverance

C. Keys to Songwriting:

  1. Explore

    1. Songwriting begins with the process of exploration. Throwing yourself into a theme and subject and going with it. It doesn’t always just float down. Flesh it out, articulate it.

    2. 10% inspiration 90% perspiration.

    3. If you want to grow at songwriting you’re going to have to really sacrifice to have time to grow this gift. You have to work hard at it.

    4. Malcolm Gladwell found that it takes over 10,000 hours of perseverance and hard work to become great at something.

  1. Express

    1. there’s always a danger that when we work and re-work a song over and over again it will lose emotion.

    2. Let your heart be the judge of a song. Express your heart. If it’s simply the head you’ll miss out on writing the songs people will deeply connect with.

    3. The Psalms are a deep expression of the reality of humanity.

  2. Experiment

    1. Keep things fresh.

    2. Get with people and collaborate with people who encourage and inspire you.

    3. Go to the edge to find emotion - when you come to the end of yourself that’s where things get real. Stretch yourself into a space that feels uncomfortable.

    4. Make the most of the moment. When you experience the emotion, make the most of it. Write a song while you’re emotional. Don’t let the moment pass.

    5. Sometimes we assume things are not going to work in a congregation but Tim encourages us to try it out in church and just see.

  3. Evaluate

    1. Tim plays Here I am Worship and shows his creative process in evaluating the song and re-writing. 

    2. You get so far with an idea but then sometimes you need space to let it grow.

    3. Tim took the song to Matt Redman to help evaluate.

    4. Simply moving some sections around really helped develop the song.

    5. Many songs can easily take a year for Tim.

    6. Are the lyrics the best they can be?

    7. Is it melodically engaging?

    8. Is the theology correct? Is it something you really want people singing out?

    9. If you’re bored with it after a few days it’s a good indicator it’s not meant to be. Other things stay on your heart and those are worth developing.


Q: What type of guitar do you play?

Tim: This is a Collins

Q: How many bad songs do you write for a good one to come out?

Nick: Lots! 80/20percentage

Tim: 1 in 5 probably makes it

Q: Still writing?

Tim: Yes

Q: What do we do when we don’t have a community around us to write songs?

Nick: Isolation is hard. Pray for God’s favor on what you’re doing. See who He brings along. Keep writing. Network. Get to events. Build friendships.

Tim: Be intentional

Q: Have you ever tried a sound you thought shouldn’t be used in worship?

Tim: No, I think all music is God-breathed. If we use it for Him it’s great. Is it going to draw people in or alienate them?

The people who seem to connect most or judge a song the most are people who are not musical at all. Include non-musical people in your process.