Today is Valentine’s Day, and everyone is looking for the perfect gift. Whether that’s for your special someone or you’re playing the role of a secret admirer to a future special someone, if you’re a musician you might want to put a special spin on your gift this year.
Why not write your beloved recipient a song?
Okay sure, that might be tough at first but we can help you get the inspiration flowing. Here are a few tips to get you started on writing a love song for your valentine.
1. Set the Intent
What do you want to tell your partner? In other words, what is the intent of your song?
When writing something romantic for your loved one, it’s usually easiest to start once you have a grasp on what you’d like to say. For example, do you want to speak fondly of the past, glorify the present, or get excited about the future? Do you want to “declare” something grand like, a proposal!? Do you feel like going big and epic or getting detailed and intimate?
These are the kinds of identities a love song can take. And usually once you figure that out, the words will start flowing into stories and lyrics pretty soon after.
If you have the intent of your song in mind when you sit down to write, it’s sure to make the experience a lot easier, and help you say exactly what you’ve been dreaming of in a way your partner will never forget.
+ Learn more on Soundfly: “5 Lessons On: Songcraft.”
2. Set a Mood
Although this seems kind of obvious, there are a surprising number of moods you may want to project in your song. However, while some great love songs do incorporate a tinge of bittersweet, grey-area sadness, Valentine’s Day probably isn’t the right time for something like that.
So if your intent is to create a heartfelt romantic song, stick to the loving good memories. That said, you can definitely lean into a more “triumphant” mood, if perhaps you and your lover have just made it through a hard series of obstacles. But don’t be limited to that! Feel free to create a goofy mood, or strike a surprising tone, etc.
One thing is for sure though, setting the mood is a crucial step to solidifying the stories, words, and messages you seek to include in your song. It can also help inform which chords and melodies fit the best.
3. Write From the Heart
Now comes the easy part. Well, kinda.
Take a piece of paper and write down all the things you love about your partner. It can range from massive, big things to tiny details.. How you watch your favorite show together, the way they laugh, the way they show you they care for you — whatever speaks to you the most about your lover should be included on this list. From there, look back at your mood and intent for your song and piece it together block by block to build a portrait of what they really mean to you.
4. Include Detailed Specifics
Specific details about your relationship like inside jokes, nicknames, places you’ve been, or even things you’ve done together really add a nice touch. It helps make the song feel more personal when it’s directed towards you two. Pepper those in where a listener might least expect it.
This is also a great opportunity to grab them with a crisp and emotive opening line. Don’t let any lines go to waste in your love song, but especially not the opening line. It’s a perfect moment to make them fall in love with you all over again.
It might also be a perfect addition to your hook. One model might be to keep the verses super vague, and then drop your lover’s pet name into the hook as if it magically manifested out of thin air. Whatever you think would best suit your needs and the intent of your song.
5. When in Doubt, Just Say “I Love You!”
Sometimes to hell with being subtle, just tell your partner how you feel about them directly!
Whether you prefer to say “I Love You” literally, or something cute like “you’re the apple of my eye,” telling your partner how you feel is always the best way to make sure your song hits the mark; whether this is your first and only rendition for them, or you plan to write them odes until the end of time.
That’s probably good relationship advice too, if I’m being honest.
There are all kinds of ways to tell your partner how much they mean to you today (and forever). It’s up to you to choose between grand or subtle gestures, clarity or complexity, privately or publicly, and so on; but in all situations, a song is a beautiful means of delivery.
So take a shot at it! You’re used to that, right? Big, romantic gestures? Sure you are. But this time, let us know how it goes! Good luck and happy writing.
Don’t stop here!
Continue learning with hundreds of lessons on songwriting, composing, home recording, electronic production, beat making, and much more. Explore Soundfly’s exciting courses like Modern Pop Vocal Production, Unlocking the Emotional Power of Chords, and Kimbra: Vocal Creativity, Arranging, and Production.