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Theology in Songwriting

Jeremy Riddle

0:30:38 · Songwriting

Jeremy shares about songwriting and the importance of content and depth in what we sing.

Theology in Songwriting - Jeremy Riddle

Songwriting is hugely practical, but it is also massively instinctual.

Why Jeremy does what he does:
  • To move the heart of God
  • Writing songs so people can have an encounter with God
  • When writing a song, he has to be moved by it. He needs to have an encounter with his own song.
We are called to write what we experience
  • If you write from an encounter, the song you write has the power to release that encounter to those listening
Have an authentic passion for Jesus
  • You’d be amazed how shocking authenticity is to people
  • If you don’t have authentic passion for Jesus or the people, I don’t want to sing your songs!
  • What drives you? What personal need is driving you?
  • You need to know what is going on in your heart, so you can make sure you are bringing health and wholeness to people’s hearts

Who you are is everything when it comes to songwriting

There are 3 parts of a song
  • Melody
  • Arrangement
  • Lyrics
You never know when inspiration is going to hit, so be prepared to capture it
  • Inspiration comes in seasons
  • Don’t critique something in the process, just let it happen
Melody is extremely important
  • Melody has a mood
  • It is already communicating something without the lyrics
  • The melody carries something already, you need to find the lyrics that match the melody
  • Melody needs to have repeating parts, think simply
  • The more parts you have in a song, the trickier it is for people to catch hold of it
  • Make sure it is singable and simple
Songs rise and fall based on content
  • There are songs that the melody could have taken the roof off the place, but they don’t because the lyrics are wishy-washy
  • Lyric writing requires reading, theology, finding the right words for your songs
  • Theology is for the purpose of doxology- meaning the study of God should lead to the worship of God
  • God is waiting for a decree from us
  • Where does the power lie?
  • A lot of what we do in songwriting is empathy, we write from where people are at so they connect to it, but there are not a lot of people who declare the solutions.
  • It’s one thing to sing “I will praise you in this storm” but it is another thing to declare who God is in the storm.
  • There is something about faith that releases the pleasure of God
  • There is nothing worse than a hollow declaration
You have to find the balance between sing-ability and content
  • Know what your melody is doing and pair your lyrics with what the melody is doing!
  • It needs to sing effortlessly
Transitions need to flow effortlessly
  • The more stuff that gets between you and the chorus is actually hurting you and not helping you
  • Maybe make your pre-chorus a bridge

Q &A

Student: If you introduce a song that you think is awesome and it doesn’t go well, what do you do?

Jeremy: Most of the time it means it needs more work, but sometimes songs just don’t take the first time. When you are writing in the private place, you can be blind to the obvious, so just take it back to the drawing board and work on it.