How to write a hit song in 2023? You’re a singer and you want to know how write a hit song in 2023. You’re on the right place, because I’m going to show to what it takes to become worlds greatest. I’ve researched over 50 artists and their hit songs to pass that knowledge on to you. So, if you’re interested, keep on reading!
A singer like yourself needs more things than one hit of course. So just to clarify. I am not going to talk about distribution, publishing, branding or marketing. I am however going to talk about how to write a hit song and what the fastest way is of getting a hit song.
Who am I?
Maybe it’s your first time on my website and maybe you already know me. My name is Ljamis Khalaf and I am a music producer from the Netherlands and the owner of Daddynervs Music. In my studio I’m writing emotional piano ballads for singers. With my articles, such as this one, I am helping by sharing my mistakes, my vision and my opinion.
For over 25 years I have played the piano and this is why I am making piano ballad instrumentals. I have written music for artists in the USA, Europe and Asia. I have also written for movies and shortfilms. One even got nominated for best musical composition!
I’ve also written a book that saves you time (and money) while you’re writing your songs. You can check it out here.
In this article I am going to tell you how you can start writing hit songs in 2023. The information shared in this article is based on information from the past 20 years about the music industry, hit songs and different artists. You will see that this new way of writing hits will save you mountains of time so you can write more and more and more and more and more.. well you get the point. Have fun reading!
First, I want to talk to you about the music industry before we talk about how to write a hit song. Hip Hop music and especially rap music is greater than ever. Singer and songwriters hate this, because there is almost no room left for ‘regular’ pop music. But why is Hip Hop so great and how did it become so great? Well… the answer is simple… it’s beats.
Let me explain.
Hip Hop has been great for several years. Back when I was a child, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 cent where the big names. Now, in 2023, we still have big names in hip hop and rap music. But the biggest difference is that we have ‘beats’ now 🎧.
What are beats? Beats are hip hop instrumentals. Back in the day, we had freestyle rap battles. Now we have free access to beats on YouTube. So, the kids are getting more and more in to it. Buying the beats, releasing their tracks and growing their fanbase from school. It’s so easy, because using the beats saves them so much time.
While the singers and songwriters have been stubborn, doing things the old-fashioned way. They got beaten by 8-year-old rappers who innovate and use modern day technology and production to release their music. Just saying…
Understanding hit songs
Alright, if you want to have the answer to how to write a hit song, you need to first understand what a hit song is. Because music is subjective, someone considers a song a hit when it’s #1 in the charts. Others consider their song a hit, when they are in the top 10, top 40, maybe when a radio station plays it over and over.
Understand that a hit song doesn’t have to be #1. You don’t even have to be in the Spotify top 50 charts. But when is it a hit? That’s difficult to say. It all depends on the moment of release (branding and marketing). I would say if your song is being played over and over, your statistics keep growing and people are complimenting you, it’s a hit.
Examples of hit songs
Let me share some songs with you that have been a hit in the past.
Songs you probably know
Someone Like You – Adele (Nevermind I’ll….)
Hero – Enrique Iglesias (I can be you….)
Love Story – Taylor Swift (It’s a love……)
The A Team – Ed Sheeran (White lips, pale…..)
All of Me – John Legend (Give you all of….)
Songs you probably forgot about
Hey Ya – Outkast
Bye bye Bye – Nsync
Poker Face – Lady gaga
I kissed a girl – katy Perry
Happy – Pharrel Williams
I gotta feeling – Black Eyed peas
The songs you probably remember are love songs, emotional songs. Songs about a break up perhaps (Olivia Rodrigo)? Songs you probably forgot about are the kind of songs that when you hear them you yell “That’s MAH Jamm!!!!” Or something similar.
It’s because the most of us dance or workout to these #1 hit songs. We listen to them all the time and we get sick of them and move on to another. But when we tell what our all-time favorite song is, we usually end up with a beautiful song, a ballad.
There is you answer… How to write a hit song… Write a ballad. But how do you begin and why do you even should write a ballad? Let’s dive in to that.
What is a ballad?
According to google: A ballad is a poem or song narrating a story stanza. A stanza is a verse in short. Don’t worry about this ancient language from Game of Thrones (Get it? Stanza, Sansa).
But a ballad is also a slow sentimental, or romantic, or sad, but always emotional song.
My Heart will go on from Celine Dion in the Titanic. That’s a Hit Song!
A ballad usually tells a story about very emotional things such as love, break up, life, death. Mostly love by the way. But why does a ballad stick to our brain that we favorite this as our all-time favorite song?
Well… it’s because you can relate to the words.
The singer has translated their story in to timeless words, making you relate to the song.
Take Olivia Rodrigo for example. Her Break up Ballad ‘drivers license’ was heard by so many teenage girls who could relate to the words. That’s why it became a popular song. But no one on earth is dancing in the club to the original song.
A ballad as a hit song?
Now that we’ve covered what everything is. Yes, you should write a ballad and make it a hit song. Because your song will be remembered for ever and ever. So how do you write a ballad and compete with all of the artists out there?
Using instrumentals will save you time writing hit songs. Just like with the rappers, you can also use the modern-day producer to your benefit. And if it’s a good producer (like me *cough*) he will know what you need and he will know how to write a hit song.
If we just take my instrumentals for example. My emotional piano ballads are very clear in structure and emotional context. But if that’s not enough for you I can transpose the instrumental for you so you can reach the high notes. If you want to have other instruments added to the instrumental. I will add those instruments for you. And best of all, if you want your song to be professionally mixed and mastered, I will do this and guide you through the recording process.
Never worry anymore
If you go and use instrumentals you won’t have to worry about chords and chord progression, because this is already done. You only need to focus on the lyrics and when done the right way, you can make a song a day sometimes. It’s very convenient.
Example: You already have lyrics
Just try and imagine how you would like to perform your song. If it’s a sad / love-sick story you need to find instrumentals written in minor, and if it’s a romantic/love/happy lyric, you need to find an instrumental written in major. Comment if you like an article about different keys and their emotions. Happy to provide this for you!
Example: You don’t have lyrics
If you don’t have lyrics, you can just listen to the instrumental and write down the words that you feel are coming through. The instrumental will inspire you and you will figure out the story along the way. It’s so easy!
If you like, you can try this by downloading 30+ instrumentals for free here. I’ll provide you a license for a short period so you can share your song on social media as well. Go for it!
Alright. You are free to do what you want of course, but there are two formulas in song structure for emotional ballads and those are:
intro | verse | chorus | verse | chorus | bridge | final chorus | outro
intro | verse | pre-chorus | chorus | verse | pre-chorus | chorus | bridge | final chorus | outro
Know that the bridge in both structures can be replaced by a ‘soft chorus’ or an ‘interlude’. The interlude is just an instrumental part in the song. Exciting the story that is being told.
Instrumentals are usually tagged in YouTube, like this one, so you can see the chapters. It’s very convenient for you as a singer to know where the parts are. But you can of course change it up a bit. Just know that almost all the emotional ballads are written in one of the structures as described above. Sticking to this formula will most likely provide the hit song you so crave for.
Verse, pre-chorus and chorus
I do believe you already know this. But I just want to tell that a a good pre-chorus and a good chorus are things that are being repeated.
With a verse, you are telling a story. With a pre-chorus you are building up tension and with a chorus you are releasing the tension to the max. The verse is telling a story. We know that. This means that the lyrics can be different in each verse. This is ok and considered to be standard.
A pre-chorus builds tension and is consistent in the song. Consistent in melody and sometimes consistent in lyrics. Consistent meaning the same. This way the listener can recognize that the chorus is coming.
The chorus is a tricky part. Usually, it’s the same in melody and in lyrics. But sometimes the lyrics can be different depending on the story, a longer chorus or maybe just how you feel it should be.
If you are doubting about how, you should write your ballad, you can always listen to your favorite ones and learn from them. A better way could be you messaging me. I’ll try to reply ASAP. Just send be everything you got, no problem.
We’ve learned a bit about the music industry and how to write a song in 2023. I’ve told you that you should start using instrumentals and that a ballad, or more ballads are a great way to score a hit, because people can relate to the story you are telling in a timeless way.
I’ve told you that you can get 30+ instrumentals for free from me, this way you can practice writing your hit songs. And this way you can see for yourself how easy it is using instrumentals before you buy them.
Just to be safe I’ve added some other genres to the instrumentals so you can hear what’s it’s like if you use those instrumentals.
I hope this article was helpful, I hope you know how to write a hit song by now and I love to hear your thoughts.