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Clint Black Week: Tips for Writing Meaningful Songs Lyrics

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Clint Black is taking over Taste of Country this week, and in this exclusive video, he takes readers inside his creative process for a look at how he crafts the lyrics to his songs.

Black is unusual among country stars in that he writes or co-writes virtually all of his own material. That approach served him especially well on his debut album, Killin’ Time, which placed a long string of No. 1 hits and launched him on a career as one of country’s top-selling and most-respected tunesmiths. Black is celebrating the 25th anniversary of that album with new video content all this week, and in the clip above, he shares that writing meaningful lyrics involves a great deal of careful hard work.

“My training ground was Merle Haggard and all of the great country songs,” Black states. But he was also influenced by rock acts including the Beatles, the Eagles and Led Zeppelin, a range of singer-songwriters like Loggins & Messina, James Taylor, Jim Croce and more.

“They set the standard for me,” he says. “I’m trying to elevate myself to a standard that isn’t, ‘Hey, this sounds good to me,’ but rather, ‘Would this sound good to them?'”

Black aspires to the kind of lyric writing that reveals new facets and meanings with repeat listens over time, citing “Desperado” as a song that he has recognized different meanings in as he goes through different stages in his life.

“For me, what that spoke to was layers,” he notes, likening songwriting to an actor trying to convey a universal truth in a scene. “What you end up with, hopefully, is something that’s very real to someone who is going through that …  You really want to be able to listen to music for years. but still be able to get something out of it, and I think that layering is what gives you that.”

Visit Taste of Country every day this week for more exclusive content with Clint Black in celebration of 25 years of Killin’ Time.

Backstage at the 2015 ACM Awards With Clint Black

NEXT: Clint Black Discusses 'On Purpose'

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