Write a Song Like… Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi is relatively new to the music scene having hit the ears of a wide audience only a few years ago. He’s established himself in the singer/songwriter genre with his heartfelt songs, and though he plays on many of the common elements of the genre, he has a few quirks that set him apart. Read on to understand how one might go about writing a song like Lewis Capaldi.

Sad Songs

Though he may have a couple of light-hearted songs here and there, Capaldi’s strengths lie within the sad songs. His songs tend to have energy and urgency, even when he is hitting on heavier topics like in “Before You Go.”

Big Choruses – yes, really big

Capaldi is known for his incredible vocal skills and there aren’t many songs of his that he doesn’t implement them. His songs seem to always lead to a big Chorus right at the top of his range. In “Maybe”, he gets to that range in the Pre-Chorus—and that’s not something we usually hear.

Melodies for Belting

Belting is the type of shout-singing we hear many singers do, like Katy Perry or Demi Lovato. Although belting is technically more of a performance aspect, the fact that Capaldi writes melodies that allow for that technique is not an accident. He has that raspy-sounding belt that tugs on the emotional heartstrings, which might be crucial for the topics of his songs.

Not Imagery-Heavy

Though there are some images in his songs, there is no scene-painting like a Taylor Swift song. Many of his songs are like journal entries or like an emotional conversation with a friend. He finds new ways to express familiar emotions that don’t feel played-out for us.

Write in First Person

Along with the heartfelt, confessional nature of his music, every single one of Capaldi’s songs is in first person. Though nearly every song is written in first person these days, music like Capaldi’s that calls for strong emotion needs that first person element.

Internal Rhymes

Capaldi seems to love throwing in internal rhymes. Internal rhymes are rhymes that happen earlier than you would expect them to. A songwriter might set the expectation for the rhyme to take place at the end of a phrase, then place a rhyme in the middle. Take Capaldi’s song “Forever”:

Caught me off guard
I wish that I’d been sober
Still, here we are

Back in Hanover 99
Just like old
times all over

In this first Verse, he rhymes “sober”, “Hanover” and “over”. He also rhymes “guard” and “are”. We expect these rhymes because he sets the expectation as an ABAB rhyme scheme (check out this post if you’re not sure what rhyme schemes are). By changing it up and rhyming “99” and “time” in the middle of the line, he has created an internal rhyme.

Using the tools

No one should copy other writers exactly (plagiarism is not encouraged!). When your song is calling for something strong, urgent and emotional, try using some of the tools used by Lewis Capaldi.

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