Dierks Bentley Offers Advice to Songwriters: ‘Write Every Day’
Dierks Bentley knows a thing or two about writing songs: The Arizona native has penned several of his chart-topping hits, including "What Was I Thinkin'," "Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)," "Home" and "Drunk on a Plane," among others. But before he became a successful singer-songwriter, he was just another aspiring artist, who looked to others for advice.
“One guy said to me, ‘You know what? You need to write about 500 songs, and just put them all in a drawer. When you get done doing that, call me up, and I’ll write with you,'” Bentley recalls to Radio.com. “I thought he was being a d--k, but basically what he was saying was — you can’t be precious with your songs — you just got to write ’em and file ’em.”
Now, Bentley says he offers the same words of wisdom to others hoping to follow in his footsteps.
“You want to be a songwriter? Write every day," Bentley urges. "Five hundred songs is a lot, but I got what he was saying. Don’t type them up on a nice sheet of paper and put ’em in a three-ring binder. Just write ’em up, then go on to the next one. Keep writing.”
While Bentley's advice certainly has mass appeal, he also has specific advice just for male songwriters.
“Learn three chords: G, C, and D. If they’re good enough for Bret Michaels and "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," they’re good enough for you,” Bentley said in a column for Esquire magazine back in 2011. “And a really slow ballad is best. Hum out a little melody, get to the chorus quickly, and keep it simple. Whatever you’re playing is merely supporting your clever, sincere, heartfelt and occasionally funny lyrics that she never in a million years expected you to sing. The right words are 90 percent of what you’re going for.”
Bentley will kick off his 2015 Sounds of Summer Tour next month, with Maddie & Tae, Canaan Smith and Kip Moore serving as his opening acts. All of Bentley's 2015 Sounds of Summer Tour dates are listed on his website.
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