By Justin Gray (Songwriter/Producer/Founder MDIIO)
Songwriting is unbelievably competitive. If you want to stand out among the crowd, what are you going to do?
What is your superpower?
If you are an incredible top liner… Top line. If you are incredible at making drum beats..just make drum beats. If your specialty is concept… just be the concept person. Embrace your superpower and exploit it as much as possible. Be known for being exceptional at that one thing. Maybe your Superpower is bringing all the pieces together. You do you boo.
In many ways, my superpower was being pretty good at everything, but as I self-reflect over the years, I was not particularly exceptional on any one thing. But being pretty good at everything always got me in the room. Probably my second superpower was patience. Too many people would’ve quit, but I could just never see myself in a 9-to-5 that way.
Here are 5 quotes from some of our favorite "save the day-ers" to unlock your musical Wonder Woman in waiting, Secret Superman, or hit-making Hulk.
"It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me." – Batman - Who am I? So many of us want to be artists. But maybe we’re not? Maybe your superpower is creative, but not the person whose name is on the marquee. The day I decided I WASN’T the star, was the day that I was able to streamline my focus into producing and songwriting. In fact, I was producing a few years before I found my feet as a collaborating songwriter. Discovering that my superpower wasn’t as the star, but eventually supporting the stars was my definite sweet spot.
"The greatest power on Earth is the magnificent power we all of us possess… the power of the human brain!" — Professor X - Maybe you started circling around what it is that makes you special and unique. This is actually a really hard process to go through. Because sometimes what we love doing, and what we really do exceptionally are misaligned. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and improve your weak spots. Looking inwardly and self-assessing is a key component to discovering what makes you…YOU!
"When you decide not to be afraid, you can find friends in super unexpected places." – Ms. Marvel -Execution and deployment of your superpower is key. Find other collaborators to work with and have other superpowers that compensate for where you lack. I promise you that once you determine who strengths are who’s in a collaborative situation, the best, most immediate path to an incredible song will become evident.
"It’s about what you believe. And I believe in love. Only love will truly save the world."- Wonder Woman - Why are you doing this? Distill it down to the core of your intention. It’s ok if the answer is…"because I love it." But if the answer is something bigger and more meaningful than that, then you need to make all of the necessary sacrifices. All superheroes live a secret life as mere mortals. If you love it, do it! Don’t talk about it…the results will speak for themselves.
"You are much stronger than you think you are. Trust me" –Superman - How can I determine where my biggest strength is? Go back to the 10 favorite songs that you’ve written, and really try to look into, discern, and understand why those songs are your favorites. Is it the chords or the melody or the top line? More likely than not you’ll discover a common thread of what it is that you really love so much about what it is that you’re working on. Only then will your true superpower be revealed.
The Coda: Imagine Wonder Woman trying to shoot webs from her wrist? Not her superpower. Spiderman SMASH! Just doesn’t roll off the tongue. Imagine referring to Aquaman as faster than a speeding bullet? You wouldn’t…because it’s not who they are. You are who you are! Don’t forget it. Find your purpose…your superpower and save the world. We sure can use it…now more than ever!!
See you next week, and keep writing those hits