JOHN CHISUM: Writing Hit Hooks Part 4 – Universality

“Most often, the Holy Spirit gives inspiration that you can then take and, with the other gifts, talents, and tools that you have, craft it in a way the entire world can embrace”

In episode 66, John dives back into writing hit hooks. This is the 4th episode in this series and today, we’re talking about “Universality”.

“The quality of your song will never exceed the quality of your hook”

What does it mean to be “universal”? When you’re writing a hook, it’s important to keep the listener in mind. The idea of universality in songwriting is simply identifying key areas that are universally felt, known, or believed in order to connect with people on a deeper and more common level.

Think about your favorite song. There is a good chance that it’s tied to a memory, and emotion, or something you were going through at that time in your life. Our goal as Christian songwriters should always be to reveal truth in a new and fresh way – BUT we have to remember to be universally minded, or our songs won’t connect.

“That the greatest hooks capture something that is universally felt, known, or believed”

NCS offers this podcast as a free resource, as well as many other videos, trainings, emails, and articles that you can take advantage of today.

If you’re ready to invest in your songwriting to take it to the next level, we also offer our Kingdom Songwriter’s Academy as well as group and individual online coaching to equip you even more.

“The people that break out choose not to rewrite the same phrases again and again”

Some topics we talk about in this episode:

  • Introduction – 1:18
  • Upcoming Podcast Guests and Interviews – 5:10
  • What’s Missing in a Songwriter’s Life – 11:05
  • The Importance of a Quality Hook – 14:40
  • Recap on Emotion in Writing Hooks – 15:45
  • Universality – What it Means – 18:00
  • Writing Things that are NEW – 23:02
  • Feelings Can Be Universal – 30:15
  • Reasons Songs Don’t Translate – 37:22
  • Using Alliteration in Your Hooks – 39:15
  • Benefits of NCS Bootcamp and Membership – 42:10
  • Wrap Up – 46:00

How to get involved

If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe and leave a quick review on iTunes. It would mean the world to hear your feedback and we’d love for you to help us spread the word!

John Chisum

John Chisum is a pioneer in the Christian music business, serving alongside people such as Bill & Gloria Gaither, Twila Paris, Paul Baloche, Don Moen, and many more. As President of Nashville Christian Songwriters, John seeks to empower Christian songwriters worldwide to discover and fulfill their call to write.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Jordan Clarke

    Thank you John and NCS for a another wonderfully insightful Podcast. I have benefited so much from all that you have brought forward through your articles, podcasts, interviews and classes. Please know that I am one who has seen a great paradigm shift in my writing and my approach and my attitude toward the songwriting I do now. It has enhanced in both the journey and the final outcome of the song beyond what I ever experienced in the past so, a BIG thank you!!!Keep up the good work!

    Jordan Clarke.

  2. Michelle Haywood Smith

    Hi John! I’ve only recently found this website and begun exploring all you have to offer. I’m currently listening to the ‘Writing Hit Hooks’ series and am really enjoying them. On this one in particular you said a lot of things that have resonated with and encouraged me, in addition to the practical advice which is great! I’m in my 50’s and exactly as you described my love for music started at a very young age. I’ve been involved in worship leadership now in various capacities for close to 30 years. I’ve attempted song writing at different points along the way but have never been able to get anywhere with it and decided I just don’t have that gift. But.. my current worship pastor, who is also a published songwriter, has been gently encouraging me to expand my ministry ….including (among other things) writing and recording. That combined with your words and the practical tools I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s something that I’ll be able to figure out. Maybe not but I’m at a point now where I’ll regret it if I don’t give it another try… Thank you so much for being willing to share your expertise and experience with the rest of us!

    1. John Chisum

      Hi Michelle! Thanks so much for your kind remarks and I’m so glad you’ve found some encouragement and information here. Please let me know if you would like to jump on a quick call to talk about your songwriting goals. John

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