Everything You Should Know About Topline Songwriting

everything about topline songwriting

Toplining is a popular songwriting technique. It’s a common practice especially in the world of pop, hip hop, and electronic dance music. However, a topliner is slightly different from a traditional songwriter. In topline songwriting, the creation of the melody and lyrics relies on beats. Sometimes it’s based on fully fleshed out productions. In this article, we’ll explain everything you should know about topline songwriting, the way it works, and why you should consider it as a songwriter.

What is a topliner?

A topliner or topline songwriter is an artist that gives a melody and lyrics for a producer’s beat or instrumental track. Toplining has to turn into more common as the influence of electronic and sample-based genres has expanded in pop.

everything about topline songwriting

Here’s the way it works.

Imagine an EDM producer reaches out to you with a demo track and asks you in case you’d be interested in toplining it.

If you agree, you’ll write the vocal melody and lyrics on top of the music the producer has already composed.

Generally, topliners record demo vocals for the projects they embark on. If you’re an artist, you may be asked to lend your vocals as a featured artist on the collaboration as well.

Generally, topliners record demo vocals for the projects they embark on.

Why you should try toplining

For one thing, it’s a productive way to combat writer’s block.

Once you create a song out of thin air, the process often varies. Sometimes the stars line up and you end up writing a brilliant song in under an hour.

However, more often than not, you’ll write a few decent lines and struggle for hours to piece them together.

In case you’re a songwriter who generally writes alone, you’ll notice moments where your ideas start to become repetitive or redundant.

Collaborating with others via toplining eliminates this issue.

Why?

The reason why is as a topliner, you’ll make an effort to create melodies and phrases that fit on top of the beat.

You’ll work with constraints like a predetermined tempo, key, time signature, groove, and set of chords. These constraints will allow you to write faster since you won’t have to try to figure out multiple concepts at one go.

In other words, toplining allows you to discover new realms as a songwriter.

Collaborate better

Here’s another benefit to consider. When you topline a demo, you can still write in private. You can record your draft when you’re done and hit send.

Maybe this will seem impersonal to some songwriters. However, it’s an alternative for musicians who are shy about collaborating with others in actual time.

You might also enjoy toplining because it’s time-efficient. Once you get used to it, you’ll be able to jot down your ideas quickly. It’s an effective way to stay productive and active in your music community even when you’re extremely busy.

If you’re still not convinced, here’s another angle to consider. As a songwriter, in most co-write cases, you’ll be expected to topline in real-time.

The music producer in the room will create the demo, as the songwriters discuss the lyrical theme and exchange melodic ideas.

In short, it’s a great idea to practice toplining on your own regardless of your artistic interests.

In short, it’s a great idea to practice toplining on your own regardless of your artistic interests.

Practicing toplining

With so many loop libraries and beat making tools, it’s easy for you to create simple arrangements to practice toplining.

Keep it simple. Try putting together an 8-bar-long beat with a few chords that can be looped indefinitely.

In a lot of cases, you’ll topline demos with repetitive chord progressions. Building a song structure out of repeating patterns is a skill you’ll get better and better at over time.

You can even search for toplining-ready instrumental beats online. The key is to easy arrangements with enough space to carry a lead melody.

It’s also not a bad idea to reach out to your music producer friends once you feel ready. They probably have discarded beats that you can transform into full songs.

Choosing the right projects

Some topliners want to work with specific genres, others don’t. It depends on what you want your catalog to look like.

As a songwriter, it’s simpler to hide your identity from the public eye. As an artist, if you release a collaborative single, you’ll be expected to endorse and promote it publicly.

After all, you can still topline as a songwriter only, even in case you have an art project. It’s all about determining your own rules and conditions from the get-go.

As a songwriter, it’s simpler to keep your identity hidden from the public eye. As an artist, if you release a collaborative single, you’ll be expected to endorse and promote it publicly.

Expanding your skillset

If you’re excited to give this a shot, here’s something else you should keep in mind.

Most topliners who manage to make a name for themselves are those who can record and produce their vocals.

However here’s the good news: if you are willing to go the extra mile, you can turn your brand of toplining into a lucrative business.

Organizing a profile on an online marketplace like LANDR Network can open you up to new toplining opportunities.

However, if you’re a producer looking to hire a singer to topline your track LANDR Network is one of the best places to go to seek out the right talent.

Keeping an open mind

Urge yourself to remain open-minded as a topliner. The most effective part of toplining is that it’s full of surprises.

You never know what you’re going to get! You might receive demos that grab your attention and never let go when you least expect it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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