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My Journey as a Songwriter

Jeremy Riddle

0:24:11 · Songwriting

In this session Jeremy shares his own personal story, as well has his struggles and triumphs. Come listen with us as he encourages students to stay impacted by God, and to keep pursuing the things of His heart.

My Journey as a Songwriter

Jeremy Riddle

The reason Jeremy got involved in music was because of what the effects it had on his his heart.

  • He grew up very conservative in the First Baptist church. The first encounter he had with contempory christian music was at 13.
  • He was only allowed to listen to Christian music as a kid.
  • Jeremy wrote worship songs around 13 years of age, using the Psalms for inspiration. But he never liked any of his own songs.
  • He first started to really write songs after a heartbreak. He wrote songs about heartbreak, and they weren’t pretty or great, but they were the first songs he really connected to - because he was being honest for the first time.

Jeremy went through a season of not following the Lord closely. After a 5 year wrestle with the Lord, his dad asked him to seek the Godly counsel for direction. After this meeting he felt the conviction to lay it all down for the Lord.

  • Despite less than fulfilling circumstances, Jeremy began to re-connect with his songs when he was writing. He learned to connect with what he was feeling.

Nobody corrects children when they cry, and Jeremy encourages students to enjoy a childhood in God. Not to be fake. A kids job is not responsibility, it is to receive love. There is a season for this in God. Don’t race to be mature in God. Just discover your heart in Him.

  • Stay impacted. If you want to write great songs you have to be impacted. The discipline of staying inspired is the greatest challenge. Be freshly impacted by God’s love every day.

  • If you want to grow as a songwriter you have to show your art to others. You have to let pride go and receive from other artists. Exposing your songs to people never gets easy but it is a necessary part of the process.

  • All of Jeremy’s songs on any record have always gone through the process of community prior to gaining any recognition.

Openness and cultivating with other people are the keys to your song meeting its intended journey and end product.

  • Strong songs have a thesis, a dominant point. Their core thing that they’re trying to communicate is in the chorus. And the verses are there to build to the chorus.

  • Great writers aren’t all over the place, they have a point, and the rest of the song points to that message.

Jeremy keeps his iPhone handy at all times, and records his ideas. He listens back regularly and looks for something that speaks to him. He also deletes these files regularly - you have to know what is going to work and what is not.

  • Find things that keep you inspired, and keep you creative. Make terrible demos, but be creative. Find out what works for you.

  • Listen back. Lead it. Listen back when you can do it objectively - ie not leading it. Then you can spot the holes and makes necessary adjustment.


Topics covered:

  • Co-writing - do it with people you have relationship with. Find people who compliment your skills. Learn your strengths and the strengths of people around you.
  • Deadlines - can either make or break your song.
  • Protecting your music - try and have those conversations up front, before writing together. Something Bethel has worked out is that whoever the main writer is takes most of the cut. Jeremy’s personal stance is relationship over royalties. Be generous. Make your peace with God and move on when you get walked over. Go out of your way to honor, and it will grow your community.