The “Hit” Song Checklist

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  Songwriter Bill ...
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© I.Woloshen
***All of Irene’s songwriting tips are provided for FREE…beware of those giving advice for money!***

Okay, folks, you think you’ve just written a “hit”…your heart is pumping, your palms are sweaty, you’re suddenly seeing dollar signs and imagining yourself winning the Songwriter of the Year award 🙂

Could it be possible? Could you have just written yourself a hit song? Isn’t it a great feeling? Enjoy it, crack open the champagne…and then consider the following checklist. These are some thoughts and ideas on what kind of process you should put your song through before you put that imaginary award statue on your desk 🙂

1. Has anyone else heard it yet? Who should listen to it? Not your best friend (unless your best friend already has a hit under his/her belt!), not your family, not your dog. If you really want some honest feedback, consider presenting it to a songwriter‘s circle if you have or can find one. Make sure at least 10 other people who have no bias towards you, have a listen. Why 10? That’s just a number I pulled out of a hat 🙂 However, the more who listen, the better you’ll be able to discern if there are any problems with the song.

2. Did you work on re-writing it? There are very few songs that come out “perfectly” the first time. Most need to be polished at least a little so they’ll really shine. I can’t tell you how many songwriters I’ve come across who swear that touching up a song after it has been written will “ruin” it. Arrgghh…

3. If you are writing for yourself as a performing artist, you can skip this one. Can anyone else sing your song? If you know somebody who sings, try and teach them the song and see what happens. Do they trip over certain parts? Is it really “singable”? Remember, if you’re trying to market your songs, then they have to work for other voices and other vocal styles.

4. Here’s a really good idea which will give you some objectivity. Record the song, even if only on a little digital recorder. Then walk away from it for a week. Don’t let yourself even THINK of it, block it from your thoughts entirely. When a week is up, go back and have another listen. Does it strike you the same way? Or is it just a turd? 🙂 Giving it a week is a very small investment in time, especially if you’re considering spending a whole whack of cash to demo it.



The “best” songs don’t necessarily become hits. It’s a LOT more complicated than that. However, you have a much better chance of peaking a publisher, record label or artists’ curiosity if you have a really well-written, well-produced song to present them. Can you judge if you’ve written a hit? You might have a really good feeling about a song…but none of that matters if no one ELSE has a really good feeling about it. So give it time, don’t get ahead of yourself, go through some steps to see if it stands up. And call me when your first royalty cheque comes in 🙂

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