Written by Kristian Bush Videos by American Songwriter Lauren Alaina Makes A TRUE Country Record Every story has a similar shape: The beginning, middle, and end. The beginning sets a goal. The middle includes attempts to achieve that goal. And the end reveals whether or not the goal is reached. Also, like life, during the middle, we just don't know what is going to happen. The more we care about the middle, wonder about the middle, and get wrapped up in the middle, the better the story. I want to talk about the importance of the story in song-making, in career-making, and in artist-making. First, you must understand the importance of a story in a song. No one has ever begged their friends to, “Please turn that up! This is my favorite singer!” They always say, “Turn that up! It is my favorite song!” The song comes first, long before you even know the name of the artist or band. The song sticks around the longest. That's because the song tells a story that we feel connected to. In Sugarland, our first single was “Baby Girl.” It is structured in a fairly traditional way where the lyric reveals the narrator is writing a letter home to assure her parents that she is fine, still chasing the dream of making music but needs just a little bit of cash to keep the dream alive. The middle of the song expands the troubles in the second verse, sends a second letter in the second chorus, struggles in the bridge, but concludes with the last chorus by revealing that she has finally made it, and that this last and third chorus/letter contains money to pay them back for everything she borrowed to get there. The story structure successfully moves the listener from beginning to middle to end and leaves the character and anyone identifying with that character changed. I'm not sure we really knew that is what we were doing when we wrote it, but it sure felt good. We did, however, realize very quickly the reaction it was having when we […]
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