Writing a hit song can be as easy as 1-2-3

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By Mike Capshaw, Staff Writer

Recording artist Trevis Prince broke down song writing into an easy, three-step process and discussed his own background in music and the intricacies of the industry at a workshop at the Bronson Public Library May 30.
After graduating from the University of Florida in 2003, the Palm Beach County native works as an insurance consultant in Gainesville while balancing the pursuit of a career in music. In his free time, he enjoys teaching others about his biggest passion.
“A wonderful opportunity dropped in our lap,” said Library Youth Services Coordinator Jenny Rodgers. This is one of many events the library hopes to put on over the summer.
Prince gave an intimate, roundtable discussion with the young, aspiring songwriters at the event. He spoke for about an hour, talking about his experience with music and giving advice to the listeners for ways to expand their own experiences.
“Everything he said was ‘real’,” said Kelvin Thomas, a workshop attendee, “Some people would tell you things that are just bogus.”
Prince was candid with the highs and lows in the competitive music industry. He got an opportunity to work with seven-time grammy-winning pop and R&B artist Usher. But that was thwarted by a misunderstood contract situation. He said to keep working hard regardless of the situation.
“Don’t think of it as ‘when I get there’. You’re living (your music) right now. Getting on TV doesn’t make you an artist.”
The crux of the workshop was in Prince’s three steps to songwriting. He said songwriting starts with an idea. More importantly, it has to be an idea that listeners can relate to. Prince recommends loose, free writing to begin, allowing a writer's mind to explore.
“You’d be surprised the power your mind has,” Prince said.
He also said it’s important to add a layer of implicitness to a song.
“John Mayer wrote a song called ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’. He didn’t write ‘You are fine’.”
After elaborating on a title and a few summary sentences expanding off the idea, step two is to “take a stab at it”.  Prince said that means expanding and exploring the work the writers has begun, including ideas for tempo, point of view and emotion behind the song. Melody is the most important part.
Step three is writing out the lyrics, filling out the song and giving it its foundation. A good beat can make a song popular, but good lyrics with that good beat can make it "classic", Prince said.
Beyond that, Prince encouraged the aspiring musicians to go to musical conferences and to avoid passivity while there. He said it was important to network and keep to look for ways to aid other people. That way, they’ll be more inclined to return the favor.