So there's that gross phrase, "there's more than one way to skin a cat", right? Yea, eww. But in the case of songwriting, like most things, it's true. There are people who strum a chord, those who work tirelessly on a poem and then find the music to match, or there are those weirdos that me that wait to be beamed up to the heavens for our divine inspiration.
There are obviously going to always be different scenarios in which I find myself employing various methods in order to get a song created. For example, I won't approach a song in a studio with 6 other writers in the same way that I would a song for my upcoming album that I'm writing by myself. The former scenario requires me to think fast on my feet, to fill in blanks, and to make myself heard. The latter just requires me to be what I love most, a vessel.
Michael Jackson once famously described how "Billie Jean" just "came to him", from up above. So many people scoff at that notion, but I knew exactly what he meant. Not that I'm anywhere near Michael Jackson's caliber as an artist, but what he mentioned is exactly how I experience majority of the songs I write. I live my life, and *BAM*, an idea of a lyrical phrase accompanying a melody will slam into my brain, as if G-d is practicing a slam dunk on my mental.
But don't get me wrong, it's not like I suddenly have the entire song figured out. If I could do that, it'd be like winning the lottery. What I almost always have is a lyrical phrase with a melody in mind that matches it, and it could be out of thin air or it could be for a song I have in mind to topline. And it's not like I don't still employ certain exercises in order to write my songs well or clear out mental clutter. Free writing is still one of my most tried and true activities. But I can't ignore that most of my songs arrive the same way - divine slam dunks.
How do you write your songs?