7 Steps to writing a song you’re proud of.

Playing iive at the Bunkakaikan in Japan.

There are 7 factors that I require when writing a  song that makes me happy and they are:

1) Emotions: The best place to find these are through the turmoils of your life.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  They are the driving force behind wanting to write something in the first place.

2) Catchy melody: Usually my songs start with some sort of chord progression on the guitar but not always. Then a vocal melody wrapped around the chords in an interesting and satisfying way. If you interviewed most famous songwriters, they’d tell you most of their best songs seemed to channel through them in an almost effortless fashion. If I look back on the songs I’ve written, I’d agree that my stronger songs were the ones that seemed to write themselves.

3) Strong lyrics: If you put strong lyrics with a very catchy melody then you’ve got something to be proud of for sure. Don’t ignore the importance of lyrics.  I’ve only recently realized that they are the “icing on the cake”.  A great melody gets you far but if you have lyrics that connect, they you’ve made a fan or two.  Write from the heart.  Write about something we all can relate to but do it in a way that you feel hasn’t been done before.  For example, write a love song without using the world “love”, or write a happy song with “minor chords”.  Whatever you do, make it ‘yours‘. 

4) Re-writing: This is where a lot of people fail miserably. They’re always too damn proud of their first take and are afraid to throw away something to make the song better because they really like one line.  Don’t be afraid to trash a line even if it was your best line.  If it doesn’t fit, save it for something else.

Changing Chords and melody can lift a song too. Sometimes for example, you can replace the root chord with a minor 6 and give it some mood.

5) Play it live: Play your song to your friends and ask for honest opinions. Don’t let the negative vibes get you down either. A lot of the time, you’re friends won’t know what they’re talking about- but a good song is pretty much universally liked and you’ll be able to weed out the good from the bad and generally get a sense of what is strong.

6) Write lots: You’ll get different opinions on this but for me, writing a lot of songs just makes me a better songwriter. It’s like learning to play the guitar. If you practice every day, you’re going to be much better than if you play it once a month.

7) Sleep on it: It’s weird but often I’ll wake up in the morning and play the new song again and it doesn’t have the same impact on me. That’s a sign that perhaps it just wasn’t the hit song I was planning on retiring on.

But I’m sure I’ve got one in me ready to surprise the world.  It’s just around the corner!  🙂

Good luck fellow songwriters.

In Melbourne Australia with the legendary Greg Arnold.


2011. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

2011 ended up being a busy but fun year for the most part.  Any year you can look back on and recall that you and everyone you care for were all relatively healthy is a good one.

My father had a fight with cancer at the end of 2010 and was very, very ill but he bounced back to enjoy 2011 for the most part. Jersey signed by all the Canucks.

Though a lot happens in a year, our biggest news was the birth of our beautiful baby girl on July 13th at 7:06 am.  Her name is Victoria Linda Pettit and she’s now the centre of our small bubble.

Victoria Linda Pettit July 13, 2011

It was fun watching Harumi’s journey through pregnancy and thrilling to watch her give birth to our first child together.  I’ll never forget that exact moment of watching Victoria enter our world. I felt useless as Harumi battled the delivery bravely.

We traveled a lot in 2011.  I went to Canada on my own for Xmas as I was concerned for my dads health.  He was weak when I was there but he was slowly recovering.  I managed to spend a night at Ward’s and a couple days with Chris but for the most part I just relaxed with my dad.  My mom was in Phoenix and I was disappointed I didn’t get to see her but if I had known what lay ahead, I would have been fine.

The horrific incident caused by the March 11th earthquake found my family and I packing and heading to Scottsdale Arizona for a month. Nothing left. We stayed in my moms condo down there trying to pretend we were on holidays but really, stressed about our future with one eye on CNN news and the other looking to the future unknown.  We came back to Japan as I had to return to work and decided to stay here as things were looking better.  Later in early December 2011, I went up to Iwate prefecture to Ootsuchi city to do a volunteer concert for the people.  The Canadian Embassy had contacted me to help and it wasn’t hard to make up my mind.  Photos really don’t express the heavy emotions one gets while being there.  I was moved beyond words.

In mid November, my mom who I hadn’t see for a good year and a half decided she needed to see her new grandchild and booked a flight to hang with us for 2 weeks.  We had an incredible time drinking wine every night, indulging in too many truffles, eating out for lunch, and always laughing.  She was a great sport for putting up with our small, embarrassing apartment.  Despite the lack of fluency in English, Harumi managed to share her feelings and get her point across quite well.  The two of them together were devilish and great company and I was so happy to see them get along so well.   Victoria loves her grandma and we all hope it isn’t too long before they reconnect. Family is everything.

I had knee surgery in mid January 2011 to try and repair my left meniscus.  It was a 3.5 hour job and a month in a cast followed by rehabilitation.  I bought a new bicycle in April though and by May I was on it riding almost every day.  The knee still isn’t perfect and now the other knee is giving my troubles, but it wasn’t bad enough to stop me from riding over 7000 km and entering a couple races.  I lost a few pounds and I feel rejuvenated. Group rides are always enjoyable.

2012 promises to be full of a lot of the same if all goes according to plan (which it usually doesn’t).

We will raise Victoria here for the year.  I will attempt to ride twice as far as last year and enter twice as many races.  We will travel.  Maybe all of us will go to Brazil, or I’ll just send my family there and I’ll go to Canada.  Maybe I’ll record my new CD in Nashville USA.  I’m praying some of my songs that are in negotiation for movies will finally get accepted.  I’m hoping financially we can save a little more m/oney (although after buying a new car and TV I’m not sure about that).


But again, if in 2012 everyone remains healthy and happy, then life is perfect.Image

Here are my February Twitter blogs.

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  1. I stoled me old mans car once. Hoped he wouldn’t notice. NOTE TO SELF: If there’s ever a time to do that…it would be NOW ’cause I’m mature.

  2. Cold Play kicked butt at the 2009 Grammy’s.

  3. Just dropped a good chunk of cash on Pro Tools 8 and a new condenser microphone. It had to be done….. Back to work now!

  4. Derek Sivers is technically retired but he’s still providing heaps of wealthy information. Make sure you go to his site http://sivers.org/

  5. My enjoyable afternoon down by the local river might have turned into a cold. Hope not.

  6. Sneaking to the gym earlier than work allows but if I don’t, I won’t get it in today. Have a Shinenkai party (start of year) I must go to.

  7. Friday morning and the sun is shining. I just downloaded some updates of my favourite podcasts to enjoy at the gym.

  8. I could have used a few more hours of sleep last night. I’m dragging my sorry self around this morning.

  9. Hi! If you think I add value to your network, do drop me a recommendation at http://mrtweet.net/kellypet… Much appreciated!

  10. Don’t ever knock the Theme Park industry as a major source of income for musicians. If you can keep your case open also, LIFE will be GOOD.

  11. Gonna upgrade to Pro Tools 8. It’ll be the newest & best Digidesign for about a month. Then it’ll become old. Gotta love going digital

  12. I’m addicted to podcasts. I find myself running to them instead of solid music. Sign of my age?

  13. Al Gore paints another horrifically clear picture of the devastation humans made for life on Earth & I’m totally shamed and bummed by it.

  14. Just joined twitter to my Facebook page. One less things to worry about. http://www.kellypettit.com

  15. I’ve been looking for a famous duet song to sing with a female artist. The last time I did that was Indigo Girls “Closer to Fine”. Ideas?

For all Canadians who grew up watching Hockey Night in Canada, you might not have known there was a contest out for a new Theme Song.

The old theme song is as popular to Canadians as the national anthem (maybe more so).  Heck, I bet 1 out of every 3 males could hum the tune right off the top of their head.

Anyways, a new song will take place from here on in.  If you’re interested in hearing it on the Internet, just click here or here.

What do you think of it?

PS.  The old theme song is here.

Which do you like better?