Songwriting Tips w/ Kristian Stanfill

Kristian Stanfill from Passion joined Matt McCoy to talk about songwriting, worship leading and his new solo album Make It Out Alive.

Creating Space

Matt: “Is there a time of day that you reserve for songwriting?”

Kristian: “Usually in the morning. Once it gets past lunch time I’ve learned that my creative output tends to drop. My kids go to school around 7:15 in the morning and about then to lunch time I’ll do some reading, I might go on a run, and just create space to free myself from technology or any other distraction, just to receive. Sometimes I’m just journaling, writing down ideas, or I’ll sit down at the piano or grab a guitar. I try to make space for things to flow through. Be available to the ideas. Be available to the melodies and lyrics. The more that I do that and create that space, the more the ideas flow through.

Matt: “Is that every week day?”

Kristian: “Not every week day, but most. I’m making space to create most days. I released Make It Out Alive in November, and we just had Passion 2023 happen. There was a lot of creative output for both of those projects. So I feel like right now I’m in more of a time when I have my eyes open and my hands open and I’m observing. I’m writing down a lot of ideas, capturing a little bit of melody stuff, but I’m not trying to finish anything right now. I’m just observing and collecting ideas. Then eventually, probably in March or April, those will start to take a cohesive shape and become a song.

Matt: “It really does take intentionality to carve out the time to write. Turn your phone off, and maybe use the best hours of your day to do it. Do the mindless tasks in the afternoon, and in the morning when your brain is fresh with the most ideas, use that time for the intentionality.”

Kristian: “I was talking with another songwriter about it and it’s like stoking a fire. Sometimes it’s not blazing out of control, but you always want to be feeding the fire and keeping the embers hot. So whenever it comes time to write the song or you get in a room with people, you already stoked that fire and you can bring something to the table. I’ve learned to give myself a break. I used to beat myself up and think ‘oh I didn’t write anything today’ or ‘I didn’t learn anything today’. But what I’ve learned is all of that leads to something. Keep showing up. Keep writing. Write 100 bad songs. You’re going to write a lot of bad songs that no one will hear, but then two or three may come out that really touch somebody.”

To hear more songwriting tips and the story behind Kristian’s solo album, watch the full interview below!

Download the Master Tracks for Kristian’s album on
Download the Chord Charts for Kristian’s album on SongSelect!