The One Thing Every Great Song Has in Common (and How You Can Do It...)

by Andre Gonsalves

Hey friends! Andre here. I know it’s been a while since I wrote anything here…

And I apologize…

Felt like I didn’t have anything of value to say and just like when you feel like you can’t make a good song, a good song just pops out of nowhere…

But anyway…

I want to talk to you guys and gals about the one thing that every great song has in common…

But let me tease you a bit…

First of all, it’s not great lyrics…in fact most song don’t have great lyrics…If I had a few drinks I might even say, “lyrics don’t matter”.

But lucky for you I’m as sober as priest on Christmas day right now…

So lyrics is not what every great song has in common…

Any guesses?

Okay let me just tell you and stop beating around the bush…the one thing every great song has in common is performance.

Every great song has a great performance…

Now if it’s a song with lyrics than the performance of those lyrics is out of this world!

If it’s a song without any lyrics like classical or any of the instrumental genres, the performance of those instruments is out of this world!

You see it’s the performance that is the main thing we care about…everything else comes secondary…even recording quality, and yes even my beloved mixing and mastering

It’s the artist’s performance that drives the whole song, it’s the artist’s performance that brings humanity to the song, it’s the artist’s soul momentarily coming out of the spiritual realm and into this physical world that makes a song, a song!

A great performance is the secret to having anything you want…you nail one great performance and you’re set for life.

In this post, I’m going to tell you what a great performance is and how you can nail your performances every time you’re recording or performing.

Can I get an amen?

I can’t hear y’all?

A little louder?

Yes! Let’s get into this…

Nobody Knows What a Great Performance is…

…but everyone knows a great performance when they hear one.

The way that you can get better performances from yourself is to first stop taking yourself so seriously.

This is music for god’s sake…it’s supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to provide some relief from this crazy world…you don’t want to be making serious music…

In fact, you don’t want to be taking anything too seriously…

I realized I was taking this mixing and mastering business way too seriously, especially on the page on the mixing page and then realized every artist we work with makes songs about the human condition in all it’s glorious manifestations (i.e. sex, drugs and rock & roll).

And there’s nothing serious or conservative about that.

So what does this have to do with making a great performance?

Don’t take yourself too seriously
Don’t be too conservative

Say things in songs that make you sweat a little

We all know how important getting into the present moment is…and if you don’t know, stop reading this and go buy Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and read that cover to cover and then come back and read this.

So how can artists get into the present moment while recording?

One way is to say exactly how you’re feeling in the moment while you’re recording.

So if you’re feeling sad about something, make a song about that while you’re feeling it.

Don’t try to make a happy song or a love song, because it will be inauthentic and the Universe will know, and God will know and the audience will know and most importantly you will know.

Remember music creation is our therapy…it’s our coping mechanism…it’s that feeling inside that’s dying to get out and can only be released through the song making process.

So when you say things that make you sweat a little, you’re going to find you do with a conviction you don’t usually have, especially when you’re singing about things you don’t mean.

This conviction is super powerful…

In fact, I’m going to try it right now…

I am not where I want to be financially.

I feel like my wife resents me.

My kids are growing up so quick and I feel like I’m not connecting with them enough.

These things I’m feeling right now are the honest truth and I’m honestly sweating…and I’m not even sure if I’m going to hit the publish button.

But they are the truth as of this moment and they’ve brought me into this moment.

I’m typing so fast it’s like my mind and fingers are one.

And this is the exact same thing that happens when we record…which is why I always say…

Record With No Lyrics

Burn your song book…delete all the lyrics from the notes app…because what you wrote was good for the time that your wrote it.

And unless you recorded it immediately, the feeling has passed and you’re just trying to re-create it.

You might as well do a cover song.

If you want to nail your performance, hit the record button without any lyrics prepared…and see what happens.

Let me put it this way…

What’s better? Planned sex or unplanned sex? We know unplanned pregnancy is not fun, but nothing beats unplanned sex.

When it happens spontaneously.

That’s the energy we are experts in.

That’s the energy we tap into.

We make different frequencies have sex with each other and have a baby and then we mix it all down and call it a “song”.

Okay I’m sounding like a crazy person here, but that’s okay, because I’m having fun…

If you’re having fun, do let me know in the comments?

Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann



Andre is the head audio engineer at ADG Mastering, which he helped found in 2012. For the last 10 years, he has made it his mission to empower aspiring artists and musicians from around the world. You can see more of Andre's writings on our Blog.

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