Bonus: Advice for Aspiring Songwriters

John Legend

Lesson time 11:33 min

John shares his final thoughts on being a professional singer-songwriter, and encourages you to keep writing until you discover greatness.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Treat Your Writing Like a Job • Write as Much as You Can • Don't Let Things Linger • Be Consistent When Performing • Build Confidence Through Preparation • Keep Going and Have Faith


[MUSIC PLAYING] - If you've made it this far and followed my framework for writing songs, congratulations, you're well on your way to becoming a professional songwriter. I want to leave you with a few lessons I've learned that helped me in my daily life as a songwriter, performer, and artist. I think of songwriting as a job. I like to put some structure around it. I like to schedule my songwriting time. I have a family, so I wake up in the morning around the same time my kids do. I take them to school around 8:30 every morning. And then maybe I'll take a few calls. After the kids go to school, I'll have some breakfast, warm up my voice, usually on the way to the studio or write when I get to the studio, and that'll be around noon. And then I'll write. And a lot of times, I'll have collaborators come meet me there. We'll write together for a few hours. And usually, we'll have a song. And I record it around maybe four or five o'clock. And then I try to get home in time for my kids dinner, which is around 6:30, seven o'clock. Now, I write songs really quickly, probably quicker than most people. I usually will start a song maybe at like 1:00 PM and go home with a finished demo in time for dinner with my kids at 6:30. So that may not be normal. And don't expect yourself to do that, especially if you're early in your songwriting process. It might take longer for you to do it, but you could still follow this same process. And there are other ways of songwriting and other processes that people use, but this is what works for me. And I think it helps me write more quickly because I write with this kind of structure and process. And you might take longer to do that in the beginning. But this actually may help you write more quickly in the future. But the goal is not, I want to do this quickly, it's to produce something beautiful, produce something great. And if you need to take your time to do, that take your time. You should try to write as much as you possibly can, and a lot of great prose writers think the same way. I've heard them say it too. They say the best way to get better at writing is to write. And the best way to get your writing done is to write. Everything you create is not going to be amazing. You may not be as quick at writing as I am. But if you keep trying, if you keep working, you'll get better at it. You'll create a bunch of things. And some of them won't be amazing. A bunch of my songs don't come out. But the ones that do, the ones that rise to the top, hopefully they're really good because you've spent so much time creating, so much time trying that you're going to stumble on some greatness. I almost always finish every song I start writing. Occasionally, I'll just kind of hum something in my phone that I won't finish. And my phone has so many voice notes in it. I started "Free" with a voice note. I started a lot of songs with voice notes. So I'll hum something in my phone that I may not fini...

About the Instructor

When 12-time Grammy winner John Legend released “Free” in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, he called it a prayer for peace. Now the recipient of the first-ever Recording Academy Global Impact Award teaches you how he wrote and recorded the song—and his process for creating hits like “All of Me” and “Glory.” Layer melodies and lyrics, develop your musical point of view, and make music that makes the moment.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

John Legend

John Legend, the EGOT-winning music icon and coach on “The Voice,” teaches you his process for creating music with impact.

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