Writing Hit Hooks Part 5 – Simplicity with John Chisum

“This whole art endeavor that we’re involved with as songwriters is an amazing combination of your whole life. Bring all that you are to your songs”

In episode 68, John wraps up a 5 part series on “Writing Hit Hooks” with one of the most important, yet difficult to master keys to songwriting. Simplicity is found in every great song or hook. John shares multiple examples of famous songs that have some of the simplest and memorable hooks of all time. Often times, as songwriters we tend to overcomplicate our thoughts and try to fit 20 ideas into one song. John’s insight on simplicity in this episode with transform the way you think about writing songs and, if you apply them, will take you from being a good songwriter to becoming a great one.

“A great idea + a great hook + a great melody = a GREAT song”

This entire series will equip you with everything you need to write great hooks in your songs. At the core of songwriting, a great idea is the essence of what makes a song great. It’s nearly impossible to write great hooks without first having a great idea. Add in a great melody and you have all of the ingredients necessary to having a great song.

“If you’re struggling with hooks, you probably haven’t spent enough time developing the idea first”

As Christian songwriters, our goal is to effectively communicate the truth of God’s word in our songs. If we learn how to master the art of simplicity, our songs will connect in a much greater way. It’s not a matter of watering down your content or not being deep, rather it’s about learning to communicate a deep idea in the most effective way to the greatest number of people.

“The greatest songs share one thing – Simplicity”

Some topics we talk about in this episode:

  • Introduction // John Chisum – 1:26
  • Writing HIt Hooks Part 5: Simplicity – 7:25
  • The Myth about Tips, Tricks, and Hacks – 9:28
  • Equation for Songwriting Success – 12:15
  • Capturing Better Ideas and Becoming a Better Lyricist – 19:50
  • Recapping Parts 1-4 – 25:12
  • The Key to Simplicity – 33:45
  • Examples of Simplicity in Modern Christian Music – 37:00
  • Becoming an Editor – 40:30
  • Wrap Up – 43:58
Songwriter Peggy Rumer found acceptance and fresh confidence at the March Intensive – now it’s your turn!


It’s not too late to register for the NCS Weekend Intensive coming up this month! Reserve your spot today, book your trip to Nashville, and become the songwriter that you were born to be! In fact, you could even boost your confidence and “find your tribe” here at NCS just like NCS Intensive attendee Peggy Rumer did recently – check out her testimonial HERE!

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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 Managing Partner of Nashville Christian Songwriters, John seeks to empower Christian songwriters worldwide to discover and fulfill their call to write.

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