Three tips for performing songwriters

Mar 08, 2016

Three tips for performing songwriters

by Beth Kille

Note: Beth Kille is teaching Songwriting at Madison Music Foundry on Sunday, March 13, 2016.

Let's face it....there are millions of songs out there. Some of them, you love. Some of them, well....not so much. But one person's trash is another's treasure. So what does that mean to a performing songwriter? It means you've got tons of latitude in the type of music you create and that you've got a decent shot at connecting with an audience along the way. But even so, there are some tricks that songwriters of all genres use to maximize their chances of creating that emotional response in their fans that makes them want to keep listening.  Here are 3 (of many) tips I've got that may help you write an impactful song.

1) Speak your truth.  Listen to anything by Alanis Morisette or Pink and you'll catch my drift. These are two writers who have a knack for bluntness that seems to have connected with millions of fans, and they've got the record sales to prove it. You may think that what you've got to say is so crazy that no one will want to hear it, but the truth is, there's a finite number of human emotions and we've all felt the breadth of them. Be fearless and tell us your true story in your songs and you will connect with people.

2) Sing it like you mean it. Are Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen great singers? In my humble opinion...yes. They make me believe what they're singing. Do they have perfect pitch and a 5 octave vocal range like Mariah Carey? Heck no. But I don't care. When Bruce sings "I'm on fire" I feel it. He is emoting his words and singing straight from the heart. What's that you say? You're not a singer? may be selling yourself short BUT, just in case you really have no aspirations to stand up in front  of a crowd and sing..that brings me to #3.

3) Collaborate. It's lovely to have a built-in reality check in a fellow songwriter. Two (or 3 or 4) heads are definitely better than one. Find someone who you feel safe with to start, because songwriting can be a pretty vulnerable thing to do. Also, look for someone who compliments your skill set (e.g. you're a killer guitarist who can hear great riffs but have a hard time with words, so partner yourself a wordsmith). You'll probably feel more confident that you've created something worth sharing too if you both dig your tune!

There are so many other tips I'd love to share, so I hope you can join me this weekend for the workshop so I can delve into them with you!

Wishing you all the best of luck in your creative endeavors.
Beth Kille



"Beth writes, records, and produces exceptional original songs and inspires everyone she meets. She’s a unique artist and a role model in the songwriting and entertainment worlds."
-Jonathan Little, Music Industry Consultant, JL Presents

Beth Kille is a 19-time Madison Area Music Association (MAMA) award winning artist from Madison, WI who has been cranking out her unique blend of rock, country, folk and blues since 2000. From the intimacy of house concerts and coffee houses, to rockin’ out with her band headlining spots at festivals, her love for the stage and genuine passion for performance shine through in all settings. Her stage prowess was recognized in 2011 when she received Artist of the Year honors at the Madison Area Music Awards – a rare accomplishment for a solo artist. She has also been honored twice with the MAMA for Female Vocalist of the Year (’06, ’10).

Kille fronted the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) award-winning band, Clear Blue Betty from 2002-2008 before launching her solo career. Heralded by the Americana Gazette (2008) as a “Master Songwriter,” Kille has penned hundreds of tunes and was recognized on a statewide level for her writing with a 2014 Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) nomination for Singer/Songwriter of the Year as well as on a national level when she won the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) Song Showdown in 2009 and received an honorable mention among 2,000 applicants in the 2013 NSAI/CMT Song Contest for her song “End of the Line.”

Learn more about Beth