Developing Your Musical Point of View

John Legend

Lesson time 11:24 min

Learn how to write through a lens that reflects your unique musical point of view, and turn your experiences into songs that resonate with your audience.

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Topics include: Set Your Intention • Contribute to a Movement


[MUSIC PLAYING] - I think your songwriting has to reflect who you are, what you believe, your truths. They have to come through in the music. And my belief is that an audience can tell when you're being yourself, when you're being true to yourself, and when you're not. And I think it's better, it's always better, it's always more enjoyable, it always makes more sense when you feel like the artist is being themselves. And what they're writing, what they're singing, if they didn't write it, what they're singing is true. So let's talk about point of view, your point of view. What is your point of view? Part of it is just who you are. So you are a 17-year-old kid living in the suburbs. And you're in high school right now. You might be dating someone. You might have grown up listening to whatever your dad and mom like to listen to. So part of your point of view is informed by that. Part of it's informed by what you're listening to now, so the stuff you find that's current, that's cool on the radio. You may be a big Billie Eilish fan. You may be a big H.E.R. fan. Whatever you are, like that's part of your point of view too. So you respond to certain kinds of music. Certain kinds of music appeals to you. Certain kinds of music speak to you. And you feel like those artists know who you are and speak your language. So all of these things go to your point of view. Then part of it is just the story you're experiencing right now. So you may have gone through a tough breakup just now. So part of your point of view is in this moment, you're feeling pain. You're feeling lost. You're feeling longing. You're feeling insecurity, whatever that feeling is. You may be in love right now. So you're telling that story. I'm a father now. So I'm thinking about my kids and fatherhood sometimes when I'm writing, not all the time. But sometimes my point of view is informed by being a dad to two kids and thinking about the world I want them to live in. So your point of view is informed by all of these things. But part of it is a musical point of view. I think your musical point of view is the intersection of your influences, and then what you are able to create, and what your voice is able to do. So part of it could be you might love Stevie Wonder. But you can't really sing like Stevie Wonder. And you don't really express yourself like Stevie Wonder. So maybe your point of view is not really Stevie Wonder point of view because you're not able to kind of voice that and channel that in a way that works. But you just love Stevie Wonder. But certain artists really do inform your point of view because you're like, not only do I respond to their music, not only do I love their music. But it sounds like something that I would love to create too. It sounds like something I would sound good singing, something that would sound good playing. So I think all of that informs your point of view. - Your point of view as an artist is formed by all of...

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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