Carla Marie Williams songwriter

Rules of songwriting - Carla Marie Williams

Carla Marie Williams is a prolific songwriter behind global hits for Kylie Minogue and The Saturdays. Get her top tips on the art of songwriting.

Paul Nichols
  • By Paul Nichols
  • 5 Apr 2016
  • min read
Carla Marie Williams is a prolific songwriter behind international hits for high stakes recording artists such as Kylie Minogue, Alesha Dixon and The Saturdays. Her work on Girls Aloud’s The Promise in 2010 earned her an Ivor Novello Award nomination and a BRIT Award. Most recently, she co-wrote Naughty Boy’s Runnin’, featuring Beyoncé.

When she’s not penning hits, Carla is a singer and artist mentor with a long history of managing, championing and developing some of the UK’s freshest musical talent. She is also the founder of GIRLS I RATE, a new movement which launched on International Women’s Day 2016 to champion women in the creative industries.

Here, she gives us her tips on the art of songwriting for international pop artists:

The most important thing I have learned through my 15 year career that songwriting should be fun! If the actual process isn’t exciting you, then you probably aren’t making your best music.

I’ve also found that the chemistry between the people you’re in a room with is totally integral to the outcome. It’s like a relationship in many ways, it’s got to feel good. Unless you have a go-to team, I find that songwriters often spend their time ‘speed dating’ with new producers or co-writers, having first time conversations and working out new methods or ways of working. This is an important part of the relationship-building process so you can’t cut any corners.

As well as chemistry, I think it’s really important to have a basic process that brings out the best in your writing. To that end, I have a top five to-do list, which helps me keep my creative form:

  • Be prepared - write down song titles and concept ideas before heading into the studio with co-writers, artists and producers.

  • When working with a new artist, make sure you research them beforehand. It sounds obvious, but make the effort to check out their social media channels and listen to their music. It’s important to figure out their basic vibe, but many artists are constantly evolving so be prepared to help them change.

  •  Find a common ground between you and the producer – it helps you agree on the type of music you want to create.

  •  Understand your process and your most creative hours in the day, be it morning, noon or night.

  •  Monitor your fatigue. Be well rested, eat, drink and make sure you have a blast!