What makes a great song? A song that makes an earworm in people’s heads, in their hearts… I’d say there are only two essential ingredients. The other are overrated.
Every artist, every publisher, every audience wants great songs. And they all have their own criteria. As a songwriter, It’s hard to tell which of my songs will become great songs. I love every song I share with the world with a great passion. I write that many songs, that it’s easy for me to share only the best. But who decides on what are the best songs? Not me…
I believe a great song should make an immediate impression on an interested performing artist. That’s why I prefer to create scraps and sketches on the piano. They make clear the melodies, a suggested lyric and a suggested accompaniment. He or she should feel in their heart: “This is what I want to sing.”And there you have the first essential ingredient of a great song: it should work without an elaborate arrangement. If the song’s got style, the performing artist hears that style in his head, even when he or she really hears just a piano.
Then it can be arranged and produced in a way that the artist loves, and that will bring the artist the audience that will also love his/her song. Those who create music to please the audience, the publisher, the label or the producer haven’t understood the second essential ingredient of a hit: the passion that a performer brings to the song. If all those other mediators don’t understand that, they are not the right producers and promotors for that artist, and for those songs.
So I invite everyone listening to a Roel van Veldt song to find the passion in the sketch. To hear the elaborated hit it could eventually be. And then go make that hit with the performers, mediators and audience who love that song too.