Posted by Stuart Townend on 20 April 2016

Stuart Townend spoke to WeAreWorship about one of the keys to successful songwriting

Whenever I’m writing songs I tend to write a lot of lyrics. It always seems to work this way. I’ll look at scriptures and write, almost getting into a stream of consciousness thing. That’s why there was a time when In Christ Alone was about twelve verses long.

Part of writing is working out what the song is about. It takes me some time to get to grips with what the song’s about. So you look for patterns. Then you begin to work out what the theme is, taking your time to narrow it all down.

When you know where you think the song is going you can then start compressing in order to make it count, to make it richer so that you're not filling it with things that don’t count. You make it richer by trimming out the things that don’t belong.

You don’t want to fill it with things that don’t really say anything. That’s why In Christ Alone went from twelve verses down to four.

I always think that you should be able to say in ten words or less what a song is about. In Christ Alone is about the difference that Christ’s life, death, resurrection makes to us all. That’s at the core of the song, that’s the journey that we hope that people will go on when they sing it.

More like this

How to recruit new musicians

Recruiting new musicians One of the main responsibilities a worship pastor has is to recruit new musicians into the worship team. For some this may seem like a straightforward task – if they can play music, they are in! However, being...

Interview with James Duke

James Duke (guitarist and founder of All The Bright Lights - an almost lyric-free zone full of feeling and truth) opens up for business... Craig Borlase: When I hear All The Bright Lights I'm reminded of a guy named Van Morrison...

Exclusive Early Stream of Majesty In A Manger

Majesty In A Manger is a collection of original songs that focus on the coming of Jesus Christ from artists and writers like, Paul Baloche, All Sons & Daughters, Darlene Zschech, Seth & Nirva, Travis Ryan, Michael Farren and more. This is a worship album that was created with the intent that churches around the world can adopt these songs as we celebrate Jesus’ birth.