All About Songwriting

As songwriters, we need to be eternally vigilant to any opportunity that might arise which enables us to replenish our repository of songwriting ideas.

When we talk about a songwriting process though, we generally talk about engaging in a set of activities that is separate to our lives in general. We live our lives and in between that we try to make the time to write songs then, we start living life again.

My question to you is… “Why limit your songwriting process only to activities where you have to make time? Why can’t you make your whole life become one continuous songwriting process?”

By doing this, you create a day-to-day life/songwriting ideas loop where one activity (songwriting) can exist within another (day-to-day life) at the same time

Think about it for a moment. When we make the most out of our lives, the experiences gained will make great songs but in turn, when we also write songs about what is happening around us it helps us make the most out of our lives.

Looking at our lives as one continuous and never-ending songwriting process forces us to pay closer attention to what we do in and with our lives and be more mindful it.

I have mentioned in another post the well worn Socrates quote…

“… an unexamined life is a life not worth living.”

There is no reason why you couldn’t find songwriting ideas through the activities that make up your everyday life which will in turn inspire you to find more songwriting ideas.

Imagine your life becoming one big songwriting ideas loop. That would be very cool indeed.

Of course, this concept would only really work if first of all, you’re able to internalise the habit of being vigilant to any songwriting opportunity that comes along and secondly, to have a means to record the songwriting idea as it happens if it cannot be worked on straight away.

At the end of the day, all of this is another way of enabling us to live more in the present. It’s all about being in the NOW, and with that in mind, I’ve now got a song to write.


Corey 🙂

In a previous post I wrote about my fascination with artificial intelligence (AI) and how it could either be a help or a hindrance to my songwriting process. 

When I wrote that post back in October 2022, I was really at the beginning of my exploration into what AI could do for me as a songwriter. I also wrote that post before ChatGPT was released and what an absolute game-changer that was. 

For those of you that have been hiding under a rock, ChatGPT is a computer program designed to understand and process natural language, just like the way that humans do.

When you ask a question or type in a message prompt, ChatGPT uses AI algorithms to analyse the input, understand the meaning behind the words, and generate a response that is as accurate and helpful as possible.

It’s like having a conversation with a really intelligent friend who always has the answers to your questions or in my case, a really intelligent songwriting collaborator but bear in mind, the responses from ChatGPT are only as good as the prompts you type into it.

Now how could ChatGPT help me as a songwriter?

Well, I’ve always thought that when it came to writing songs, I was pretty strong in the composition department but not so strong in the lyric writing department. Using ChatGPT has opened the doors to a whole new world of songwriting ideas and lyrical concepts.

Quite simply, this technology has the potential to revolutionise the way I’m able to write songs. It’s created new possibilities and infinitely expanded my songwriting process, especially when it comes to writing lyrics.

Now, I can understand that you might be thinking to yourself that I’m going to just use ChatGPT to write all of my lyrics from now on but that would be so far from the truth. 

For me, letting a robot do the work would take all the fun out of writing songs.

One of my favourite ways to start writing a song is from a title or a phrase that incites my imagination and curiosity and this is where ChatGPT comes into its own. Let me give you an example of what ChatGPT can do.

Ok, here is an exchange with ChatGPT from a random songwriting prompt that I asked it to generate for me

User (me)
Give me a random songwriting prompt that I can use to write my next song with

Songwriting Prompt: “Whispers of Time”

Explore the concept of time through the whispers of the past, present, and future. Craft a story that unfolds as you hear these subtle voices guiding your protagonist through key moments in their life. Use the whispers to illustrate lessons learned, the beauty of fleeting moments, and the eternal nature of time itself.

Give me a detailed synopsis for the song titled “Whispers In Time” using the above songwriting prompt as a guide

Title: “Whispers in Time”

Verse 1:
Our protagonist, a young dreamer, embarks on a journey to find their purpose in life. As they walk along a winding path, they hear soft whispers carried by the wind. These whispers are the voices of the past, speaking of their ancestors’ trials and tribulations. The protagonist learns that their lineage is filled with resilience, and they gain strength from these voices.

The whispers in time grow louder, guiding the protagonist as they navigate their way. Embracing the echoes of their ancestors, they feel a deep connection to their roots and a newfound sense of belonging.

“Whispers in Time, carry me through,
Voices of old, a story so true,
Ancestors’ tales, eternally bound,
In every step, their wisdom is found.”

Verse 2:
As the protagonist continues their journey, the whispers shift to the present, speaking of friends and loved ones. The voices tell stories of laughter, sorrow, and love, reminding the protagonist of the importance of cherishing every moment. They begin to understand that life is fleeting, and the present is a gift to be treasured.

The whispers transition to the future, painting a picture of possibilities and potential. The protagonist sees a vision of themselves, standing tall and proud, having overcome obstacles and achieved their dreams. They realise that time is always moving forward, and it is up to them to make the most of it.

“Whispers in Time, carry me through,
Voices of old, a story so true,
Ancestors’ tales, eternally bound,
In every step, their wisdom is found.”

The whispers in time fade away, leaving the protagonist with a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of the past, present, and future. With newfound courage, they embrace their destiny and continue their journey, knowing that the whispers of time will always be with them.

Using the detailed synopsis above as a guide, name 10 music artists/songwriters that you think could write a song such as “Whispers In Time”

Joni Mitchell
Bob Dylan
Sufjan Stevens
Florence Welch (Florence + The Machine)
Leonard Cohen
Paul Simon
Stevie Nicks
Ben Howard
Brandi Carlile

Ok, now using all of the above information at your disposal, write for me the lyrics for the song “Whispers In Time” in the style of Sufjan Stevens

Verse 1:
In the heart of a young dreamer’s quest,
Winds carried whispers from east to west,
Ancestors’ voices, their stories untold,
Of courage and battles, of hearts brave and bold.

Whispers in time, they call my name,
A journey unfolds, a destiny to claim,
Through the echoes of ages, I walk this path,
Guided by whispers, I’ll conquer my past.

Whispers in Time, carry me through,
Voices of old, a story so true,
Ancestors’ tales, eternally bound,
In every step, their wisdom is found.

Verse 2:
Voices of present, they speak to my soul,
Of love and of laughter, of pain that consoles,
Cherish the moments, they gently remind,
For life is a breath, and time’s river unwinds.

Oh, whispers of future, a vision I see,
A world full of promise, a life meant for me,
Through trials and triumphs, I’ll forge my own way,
With whispers to guide me, I’ll seize each new day.

Whispers in Time, carry me through,
Voices of old, a story so true,
Ancestors’ tales, eternally bound,
In every step, their wisdom is found.

As whispers fade softly, their lessons remain,
The thread of existence, a tapestry’s frame,
In every heartbeat, in each breath I take,
Whispers in time, my journey to make.

Not bad for around ten minutes of work

Normally I would approach a ChatGPT lyrics session with a song title or phrase already in mind plus a strong concept of what the song is to be about. From there I try to use AI to flesh out the concepts so I can then rewrite the lyrics in my own words at the end of the process.

What this means for me is that I don’t have to worry about songwriters block anymore. For me, ChatGPT is just another songwriting tool that I can use in my process if I ever get stuck.

As for the validity of AI generated songwriting ideas, I wrote this in my last post about my fascination with the role of AI in songwriting

“These AI generated songwriting ideas will still need (and will probably always need) the discernment filter of a human brain that’s been trained by years of experience to steer those song ideas to completion.”

Would I use it all the time… No, not at all, but it’s nice to know that it’s there just in case.

What do you think about all of this talk about AI, ChatGPT and other tools of this nature? Have you used any of them and if so, what are your thoughts? Let me know what you think.


Corey 🙂

To increase your ability to generate songwriting ideas, it’s necessary to increase your life experience, and that means getting out of your comfort zone and embracing what life has to offer you.

Imagine having the confidence to fully experience your life with the knowledge that there’s a great song to be written as a result of the risk being taken.

That’s a mighty powerful way of looking at life.

A prime example of a situation that can benefit from this way of thinking is the awkward, clumsy and very vulnerable beginnings of falling in love. So many people just don’t take the risk for the fear of getting hurt.

Now, the fear of getting hurt is certainly a real one, no doubt about that but my argument is that if you’re committed to songwriting as a pathway to experiencing your life to the full then it is your duty as a songwriter to take the risk and go with it.

If whatever you take the risk on works out then you have some great songs to write. If it doesn’t work out then you still have some great songs to write (with perhaps a bit of therapy thrown in for good measure).

How can you lose?

Going out of your way to fully experience your life doesn’t mean having to endure mammoth changes, swings and roundabouts or extreme tragedy. It’s the little things that you can do to break the habits and routines of your day to day life that make all the difference.

Here are some examples of little things you can do to get more out of your life and therefore, get more out of your songwriting.

  • Go see a movie by yourself
  • Take a long walk on the beach
  • Go for a drive
  • Call a friend you haven’t spoken too in ages
  • Strike up a conversation with a complete stranger
  • Catch public transport
  • Go to a cafe and write (or start writing) in your journal
  • Smile at people and watch their reactions
  • Meditate and listen
  • Go skydiving (Optional – I can understand if people find this a little extreme)

    Generally, we try so hard to control everything in our lives so we don’t experience anything that we would consider as bad; however, by choosing songwriting as a way to experience life, we can relax and allow our lives to unfold before our eyes.

    Then we write a song about it.

    Just think, if you look at your life in this way, you will never be able to use the excuse “I don’t have anything to write about” ever again.

    What do you think about songwriting as a way to experience more out of life? What aspect of your life can you change up or do a little different today? How would that change affect you? Would you write a song about it?

    Remember (even if it is for the sake of your songwriting process), don’t ever be afraid to fully experience your life, choose it.


    Corey 🙂

    As I’m now getting ready to play live again, I need to remind myself that I don’t ever want to fall back into the trap of just playing covers for the sake of it and at the cost of performing my own material. 

    I do want to explore, however, the concept of being an interpreter of songs rather than just a replicator of other people’s music. This means that when I play other people’s songs I will be performing the songs that I want to perform, in the way that I want to perform them.

    I’m not really interested in performing to audiences that only want to hear the same old tired songs that every other performing musician does. I’m ideally looking to play to audiences that want to experience something new and different. 

    If anything it will definitely keep me interested and motivated at the same time.

    From my experience of performing covers over the last 15 years or so, there are three main differences between an interpreter of a song and a replicator of a song.

    First of all, an interpreter performs the song in the way that they wish to perform it, not by how it’s been performed in the past. 

    An interpreter puts their own spin, personality and sonic point of view onto the song creating a (sometimes) different version to the point of the song becoming almost unrecognisable to the listener.

    A replicator performs the song the way it’s always been played.

    Secondly, an interpreter performs the song as a creative exercise rather than it just being a functional activity.

    Continuing on from the first point, if you’re performing songs the way YOU want to perform them, then you’re approaching your gig as a creative exercise rather than a means to an end. 

    Yes, you’re going to be paid at the end of the show (and therein lies the functional element of the gig) but your artistic integrity will remain intact at the same time.

    A replicator approaches the gig as a functional transaction of service to payment and therefore the performance of the songs will reflect this attitude.

    Lastly, an interpreter approaches the songs they perform the same way as a songwriter approaches performing one of their own songs.

    An interpreter looks at the song as a whole and uses the performance of it to inspire and educate the listening audience through the delivery both vocally and instrumentally of the song’s form, dynamics and arrangement.

    Every performance of the song is therefore a unique experience for both performer and audience.

    A replicator approaches the song as if they were in control of a jukebox.

    I used to think that trying to be all things to all people through playing all of the songs that they wanted to hear would give me job satisfaction through playing lots of gigs and therefore making a serviceable full-time living through live performance.

    This is what I did for around 12-15 years (with FIGJAM and other cover projects) and at the end of it all, I was left a burnt out and empty shell of a man.

    Not anymore.

    As songwriters, musicians, artists and performers, we have the control over how much of ourselves we want to expose to an audience. Some musicians want to keep the live experience at a surface level and that’s okay.

    I, on the other hand, really want to go deeper than that and the best way I think to do that is through the delivery of the music. Whether I’m performing my music or the music of another.

    I’ll see you at a gig real soon.


    Corey 🙂

    Anyone who knows me knows that I am a great believer in using anything that can create, inspire, stimulate and expand on my songwriting ideas and turn them into a finished song.

    The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in our day to day lives has just exploded over the last few years and the world of songwriting has not been immune to this phenomenon. 

    It seems that “AI” is the newest buzzword around and there’s a huge demand for AI to be involved with any and every part of the creative process. 

    It’s easy to come to the conclusion that any human involvement in the creative process will become obsolete. I don’t think this will be the case at all.

    Now I myself have used AI songwriting/musical tools to expand, embellish and enhance my own songwriting ideas and to get myself out of writer’s block. 

    I do this because I’m truly fascinated by the promise of AI and what it can do for songwriters and musicians alike. The promise being a never-ending flow of randomly generated songwriting ideas.

    Of course these ideas are not going to be perfect but that is the beauty of working with AI songwriting tools. These AI generated songwriting ideas will still need (and will probably always need) the discernment filter of a human brain that’s been trained by years of experience to steer those song ideas to completion.

    Are songwriting ideas generated by an AI tool less relevant than if they were 100% generated by a human? 

    As far as I’m concerned, no way because at the end of the day an AI songwriting tool is just that… A TOOL

    It’s a means to an end and when you think about it, any tool that can generate a songwriting idea is a good tool in my book.

    Recently, I updated my most popular blog post The BIG List Of Songwriting Prompts And Lyric Generators to now include a list of AI powered songwriting and lyric writing tools because whether we like it or not, THIS is going to be a big part of the future of songwriting.

    Whether they’re created by a computer program or, through machine learning, these songwriting ideas and prompts are just there to help stimulate creativity within the human mind.

    They exist to merely take your creativity to places you’d never go. For me, it’s like a mate giving you a tip on a great fishing spot but there are some advocates against AI in songwriting who talk about how using these tools is tantamount to cheating. 

    Yes, I suppose you can technically “cheat” if you really want to, but having AI write a song for you and then claiming it as your own work is a hollow victory (if you can just watch the film Yesterday and you’ll know exactly what I mean). 

    Just letting AI do all the heavy lifting would simply take all the fun out of creating and besides, is a guitarist who uses a capo a cheat? No, not at all.

    I personally want to be on the forefront of these developments rather than be lagging behind to play catch up. I’ll continue to use AI songwriting/lyric writing tools in my songwriting process and if there’s anything that I can share with you all in the future I will.

    So, in conclusion… As long as we control the technology within the process rather than the other way around, I think songwriting as a craft is not going to diminish in its humanity.

    What do YOU think about the role of AI in the songwriting process?

    The role of AI in songwriting has already launched some robust discussion and will continue to be an interesting conversation topic now and into the future so let me know what you think because I’m always up for a good chat.


    Corey 🙂

    I think it goes without saying that I love to write songs.

    Sometimes a song can come from thin air and basically write itself and sometimes a songwriting session can be more painful than passing kidney stones. It all depends on whether you’re attuned to the muse or not.

    To really get my creative juices flowing I like to participate in online songwriting challenges like FAWM, 5090 or RPM because there’s nothing like a deadline to make things a bit interesting.

    I really love putting my songwriting process to the test, turning everything that I see, hear and experience into a songwriting ideas and then crafting those ideas into a completed song but there have been times when I needed a little bit more help getting my songwriting process underway.

    When this happens, I am comforted by the fact that there are free online songwriting tools to the rescue.

    As a songwriter who comes up with musical ideas much more easily than lyrical ones, I use these online random word generators and songwriting prompts whenever I find myself in a situation where I’m fresh out of songwriting ideas.

    I know from personal experience that from time to time a prompt such as a good song title or a few well chosen lines overheard in a conversation can be all that’s needed to open the floodgates of inspiration.

    I mean, there are even songwriting tools out there that are using Artificial Intelligence to power their results. It’s this area of songwriting and music creation that I have been most fascinated with of late.

    So, with that in mind, I thought I’d do some online research into these types of songwriting tools for you all.

    Some are fairly serious and some are more humorous but if you have a look at them and give the ones you feel will work for you a go, you’ll find some real value in these sites so here is the BIG List Of Songwriting Prompts And Lyric Generators for you to enjoy and be inspired by…

    Song Lyric Generators

    Song Title/Band Name Generators

    (Song) Writing Prompts

    AI Powered Songwriting/Music Creation

    You’ll notice that some of these tools are a bit tongue in cheek but there are also some songwriting tools that are seriously good.

    Either way, by using these songwriting tools it’s my hope that you’ll take your creativity to places you’ve never imagined as much as I have by using them.

    I’d be interested to hear how you go with any of these. If you come across any other songwriting tools that you feel will help anyone with their songwriting process, feel free to let me know about it and I’ll add it to this list.


    Corey 🙂

    Today marks the 10th anniversary of the release of my debut CD “Seeing Stars” and after giving it a bit of a listen before I started writing this post… I’m still quite proud of it.

    A lot of things have happened since then which can be summed up by quoting John Lennon’s famous lyric: 

    “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”

    Yes, I wished I had continued on with the initial momentum the CD created but in true Corey fashion, I got scared and through my inaction, that momentum gradually slowed until one day it stopped.

    It really does amaze me that 10 years have flown by so fast as I remember the Seeing Stars CD launch as if it was yesterday. 

    The Promethean was a wonderful venue for the show and I think I managed to get almost 100 people there. The band was cooking and the overall atmosphere was electric to say the least. 

    I do remember feeling like I had come home after wandering around for a few years in the musical wilderness. Standing up on stage at the end of the night after playing a set of my own material, feeling the love of the crowd… 

    It was the closest thing to Heaven on Earth but why did I get scared and let it all die out? 

    Well, I suppose that even with all of the initial success of the recording and release of the CD, I still didn’t have the belief back then that I could do something with the momentum I created. 

    It just goes to show that having an unwavering belief in yourself and your music is just as important as the music itself. It was a hard lesson to learn but I think it was worth it.

    As I said before, a lot of things have happened since then. Some things have been really good and some things have been really bad. 

    There have also been a few curve balls thrown my way which I’ve managed to dodge most of them but at the end of the day, I am a better person for it and therefore a better songwriter, musician, producer and blogger as well.

    With that in mind, I know that I have so much more to offer through my music and I look back on what I created 10 years ago and now think to myself… This is only the beginning.

    My first CD might have been two years in the making and 25 years in its development but I promise you that my next official release will not take as long to appear. I am now in a much better place now and the belief that wasn’t there 10 years ago is right now sitting beside me, whispering in my ear… “Mate, you’ve got this.”

    Watch this space…


    Corey 🙂

    A big thank you to Leonard Choice (MyBestOf Photography) for the CD Launch photos 🙂

    Personally, I love learning covers in my own unique way almost as much as writing, recording and playing my own music.

    The main reason for this is that by me learning and deconstructing/reconstructing songs that I really connect with or, have proven to be popular with the public and have charted in some way, I learn how to write my own songs better through the experience.

    Here are some ways I reckon that learning covers has helped my own songwriting process:

    • I learn different song formats, song structures and chord patterns.
    • I expose myself to singing different melodies, and lyrical ideas.
    • I spice up my guitar practice regimen.
    • I maintain my musical theory knowledge by learning a song by ear.
    • I get to know my favourite songwriters more by learning their songs.

    For every song I learn, many other unique songwriting ideas will naturally bubble up to the surface for my own material later on.

    I reckon the trick with playing covers is that you never do them like the original as much as you possibly can.

    I know that if I’m in the audience and I hear someone do a cover in their own style, I get hooked into their version every single time (and I also get hooked into them too).

    Now, some performing songwriters I know feel that playing covers is just selling out but, I respectfully don’t agree. I mean who is going to say that Jeff Buckley’s version of ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen was a sell out on his part?

    It’s one of the most beautiful performances of any song I have ever heard. It makes me cry every time I hear it.

    Of course, your goal as a performing songwriter is to play your own songs as much as you can because there’s nothing more satisfying than people actually being touched, moved and inspired by what you are playing and singing that has come from inside you however, an amazing thing happens when you add the occasional cover song into your repertoire.

    The audience becomes much closer to you.

    I can’t tell you how many times a quiet gig became a much greater gig after I play a well chosen cover (in my own style of course). Every other song I play afterwards becomes music to their ears.

    For me, the term “selling out” is generally used by people who wish they were in the same position as the other musicians they were commenting on. Jealousy rears up its ugly head in the music industry all the time.

    If you keep focused on writing your own music and at the same time learn a few covers (at the very least for research purposes) to break up your songwriting process from time to time, you will have better gigs, become a more well rounded instrumentalist and (most importantly) you will be a real hit around the odd campfire or two 😉

    At the end of the day, I believe playing covers affects your ability to write your own songs only if you allow it to.


    Corey 🙂

    Anyone that knows me knows that I love funk music. As a bass player I almost think it’s somehow my duty to devote some of my playing, practising and songwriting time to the dark arts of FUNK.

    As I mentioned in a previous post “How Music Has Shaped My Life (So Far…)” I was part of some funk bands in the early 2000’s and from there wrote and collaborated on, many songs in the funk, groove and dance genres to which I am very proud of.

    This fascination with writing funk tunes has continued to this very day and it’s been my involvements with songwriting challenges such as FAWM and 5090 for a number of years that have been the catalyst for these funk songs to be created into existance.

    Now, you might be asking right now… “Corey, where does Funkus Maximus fit into all this?”

    Well, one of my consistent collaborators in these songwriting challenges has been Irish songwriter and lyricist Amanda West.

    She very early on in the piece realised that I could put together a pretty good funk tune so being a person who could sense a good opportunity, she started writing lyrics for me to encase funky arrangements to and before too long, we had a decent list of recorded funk tunes with nowhere to go.

    Amanda makes her living from sync licensing through her business Sheeaun Music, by collaborating with other musicians to create songs from her lyrics so she can then pitch to sync licensing companies, music libraries and music supervisors.

    This is also what she wants to do with these funk songs so with that in mind, we both thought it would be a good idea to create a project name for these songs so as to not muddy the waters for my own non-funk songwriting output and Funkus Maximus was born.

    By creating Funkus Maximus as a new vehicle for my funk tunes it seemed like a natural progression to form a band around these songs so they can be performed live.

    It also seemed a no brainer to mine the rich vein of funk in my past and reimagine, reboot and reinterpret the old FunkStar and Orangutang tunes as well while I’m at it.

    Hell, if movies can be reimagined, rebooted and reinterpreted to a new generation why can’t music be approached in the same way?

    Anyways, yesterday (Friday, August 6th) the first song for Funkus Maximus, Funk Into The Heat was released out into the world and with that my musical journey continues moving forward.

    To say to you that I am “Big Kev” excited would be an understatement.

    To find out more information on Funkus Maximus go and check out the website.

    You can hear the new song Funk Into The Heat at at all good streaming platforms such as…

    There will be more music on the way so watch this space but in the meantime, check out Funk Into The Heat and let me know what you think.


    Corey 🙂

    You would’ve guessed by now through reading my posts that I’m a real fan of the songwriting process and the many ways that a song can be created.

    I’m also a great believer in not throwing any songwriting ideas away, no matter how small, bland, banal, silly or trivial you might think they are.

    Now I know of songwriters who, like me, are pretty good at organising their ideas for future reference and that’s a great thing.

    However, I know of others who have indiscriminately thrown away reams of paper and piles of notebooks filled with potential song fragments, possible song titles and bits and pieces of hurriedly scribbled phrases and sentences.

    This really breaks my heart.

    If you’re one of those songwriters who would rather clear the slate than organise your song snippets for later use, listen up… Have I got a deal for you.

    Next time you’re feeling the need to sort out and purge or, if the temptation to chuck away all of your stuff you’ve held on for so long has become far too much to bear…

    Just give your songwriting ideas to me.

    That’s right, give them to me. I’ll gladly take your songwriting ideas off your hands and out of your life.

    Think of me as a retirement home for all your old song snippets that you feel have stifled your creativity and have gotten you nowhere. I’ll give your stuff a new home and in the process, I might just develop some of them into songs of my own.

    But here’s the thing…

    Even though I’ll be in possession of your old ideas, I’m still very mindful of where these ideas have come from and will definitely give you credit where the credit is due.

    So, the deal is…

    If I create a song from anything that you’ve sent me, I’ll give you between 10% and 50% songwriting credit depending on how much of your idea I’ve used.

    I think that’s a pretty good deal considering you were going to throw them away in the first place.

    This is proof of how much value I personally put on songwriting ideas, no matter how large or small they are or, where they came from.

    So before you throw your old stuff away and before you succumb to the urge to bin all of your old song fragments, think about my offer. Contact me and we’ll work out how I can offload these ideas from you.

    I’m serious. What have you got to lose?


    Corey 🙂