Songwriting Tip #5 – Listening to Your Audience

Songwriting Tip #5 – Listening to Your Audience

As songwriters, we’re often focused on the details of our songs and the creative process. However, it’s important for us to remember that our audience deserves to feel like they’re a part of our songs as well. Through analysing Queen’s song “We Will Rock You”, we’ll discuss the importance of listening to your audience as a songwriter.

This article is a summarised transcript of the fifth part of our video “How to Write a Killer Rock Anthem – 7 Secrets from Queen’s We Will Rock You’’. Click here to watch the video for more details, explanations and examples.

The Story Behind “We Will Rock You”

The story goes that the song came about after Queen had played a show at Bingley Hall in Stafford on 29th May 1977, and at the end of that show the crowd began to sing a classic football anthem known as You’ll Never Walk Alone. Brian May in particular was really moved by this experience. 

In an interview with Radio One, he said “We were just completely knocked out and taken aback. It was quite an emotional experience really”. Following this, the band felt inspired to create their own anthem that a crowd could engage with, sing along to, clap along to, and even stomp along to.

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What We Should Learn from This

What’s important to notice here, is that instead of dismissing his experience as just him having a particularly rowdy and excitable crowd, he took it and sought to create a song where he could give back to his audience. He actively tried to learn from this, and wanted to include the audience and seek more engagement with them to make them feel like they were part of the show.

This is one of the reasons that Queen became one of the most successful live bands of all time.
As songwriters and musicians, we often value the creative process over everything else. While this is definitely a crucial part of the process, this doesn’t mean that we should overlook what we can give back to the audience instead. In hindsight, the greatest rock anthem of all time was born out of this very simple idea of giving everyone in the crowd a song that they could perform with the band.

By making it all about the beat and the chanting, everybody in the crowd was able to feel like they were a part of the song and weren’t limited by not being able to play an instrument. Instead, they got to use their feet, hands and voices so that for a very brief moment, they got to feel like they belonged in a rock band.

Conclusion: Songwriting Tip #5 – Listening to Your Audience

In conclusion, it’s important for us to take into account our audience’s or listener’s needs as well when writing a song. This way, our song will be able to capture the attention of our listeners, thus further ensuring that it sticks to their minds and hearts.

This is only the fifth of seven songwriting tips we have for you from analysing Queen’s song, “We Will Rock You”. Check out the full article for all 7 tips or watch the video here now.

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