How to Become a Ghostwriter in 4 Essential Tips

How to Become a Ghostwriter in 4 Essential Tips
Photo By: Pekic

Singing or being a producer is just one way to become part of the music industry.

While it seems like the industry is only filled with people who can claim the spotlight, a lot of effort goes on behind the scenes before they even present themselves to their audience.

One such role is that of a ghostwriter, something frequently overlooked by people who wish to join this industry. Why? Because of the type of work, it involves writing. You’re not singing any songs; you’re writing down the songs that someone else will sing and arranging them as best as you can. Not only that, it means being someone who “works in the shadows,” so none of the lyrics will ever be credited to you, so you can’t expect any credit for your hard work. However, you will be compensated financially.

Being a ghostwriter in the music industry might seem simple at first since it only involves writing, but you’ll be using a lot of your brainpower here. After all, you’ll be analyzing the things you write and ensuring that the lyrics are perfect for the singers, especially their interactions with their audience.

Do you have what it takes? Then read on and find out how to make yourself a great ghostwriter.

1. Put in the time to find out who you’re writing for.

Before you even get started on those lyrics... Say, by any chance, do you know anything about the person you’re writing for? Other than the latest drama-filled newspapers looking for another easy scoop to capitalize on with overreactions, of course. Why is this important? Well, simply put, you can’t just write lyrics for a person you don’t know anything about. You’ll probably know about the basic details, such as who they are and what type of songs they sing, but they might leave it in the air for you to dig in deep and find out more about them.

And believe me – you want to do that. You might know that you’re writing rap lyrics for a rapper, but how can you be so sure that the rapper agrees with what you’re writing, or how it doesn’t contradict their styles and even previous songs?

This pitfall is easily overlooked, as many aspiring ghostwriters ignore the nuances of a musical artist and only what types of songs they sing. As a result, when they write their lyrics, it sounds nothing like something the singer would say, even if it might fit the kind of song that they would sing.

2. Don’t forget about the lyrics as well.

Other than the person you’re writing for, you’ll be doing a lot of research on the lyrics of the song as well. This is where you go into a fancy literature-style territory, using wordplay and symbolism to get the message of what a song artist wants to say across. And, of course, you’ll have to take note of the intended audience as well and make sure that it will be received appropriately.

That sounds like many things to remember, but they are essential to remember because the buck doesn’t stop at the lyrics part. You need to bring context to them and determine who or what it should be aimed at.

3. Get inspired by studying other music artists.

One of the hardest things that any writer, music or not, struggles with is an inspiration. Sometimes, you might get struck by inspiration on the fly on how to model or write lyrics, whether it’s in the shower, driving the car, or even making a morning cup of coffee.

But these flashes of inspiration are fleeting and not consistent, which can be detrimental to your work if you have superiors and deadlines to deal with.

They’re not going to wait until next month for your next flash of inspiration to come along when you need your lyrics to be propped up and ready in two weeks.

The best thing you can do is surround yourself with music and look up other musical artists in the same genre as the one you’re writing for. It doesn’t have to be a 1:1 comparison, but it should at least be similar enough to help you bring your lyrics outwards.

This isn’t to say that you should avoid other music artists either. On the contrary, you should also branch out and read other things like poems or explore different fields not necessarily related to music. However, the music itself is an all-encompassing art, and having as much material as possible will help you assemble your thoughts and bring out the best of your writing.

4. Establish yourself and what you can offer.

What can you offer to the music industry as a ghostwriter? It might be a bit difficult, considering that you’re not exactly being credited for your work, but there’s another way: networking. Think about it; if there are very satisfied with your work for them, then it is likely that they will recommend you to other people that they know and possibly even give you appraisals in the process.

But how do you make yourself more marketable in the first place?

There are different ways to bring your name out there, even without slapping your name on the lyrics you wrote. Other than the people you already know, you can further build your profile by utilizing your website.

Write blog posts and lyrics about the music industry. Show how much you know about music software by making demos and writing about it as well. You can even use your social media platform as an extension of your website.

Networking is considerably important, and getting to know many people will help your career in the long run.

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