When we talk of genre in songwriting, we mean the style that we would usually associate with the song. For example, if we wrote a song about how beautiful it is living on a farm in Virginia and arranged it to be played on acoustic guitars and a pedal steel guitar, chances are we'd say the song was in the country genre. Walk into any record shop and you will find the CDs arranged by genre.
Songwriters are free to write in whatever genre interests them but often choose one or two to specialise in. These are usually the styles they feel most comfortable or passionate about; they understand the genre and their audiences and know they can write well within them.
It is important not to be unduly constrained by the genre you write in. Steve Hillier
There are also commercial considerations for songwriters when choosing a genre: in the UK the market for country songs is far smaller than for pop music. Consequently the amount of money a writer can earn from their song is smaller. People who earn their living from the success of their songs often work in the most popular genre as their songs can sell more or be played on the radio more often. But there are no strict rules. Shania Twain sings in a modern country style and has been a huge star all over the world including the UK for years!
It is important not to be unduly constrained by the genre you write in. Some of the best songs have often pushed the boundaries of what was previously considered acceptable in that style. For example, Queen had already made a career out of writing rock songs before they wrote 'Bohemian Rhapsody', a song that's well over five minutes long, has no chorus and includes a famous operetta section complete with timpani. Unconventional perhaps, but it was also voted the UK's favourite single of all time in 2002.
Helen / London True artists don't defy genres, they create new ones.
Johnny Lomb The Royal Pom-Pom, Woking What one must not forget is that genre is never decided by the artist, nor the song. Particular artists may appreciate that they are likely to fall within a genre however no-one can be sure. When the Red Hot Chilli Peppers released their album, "Californication" I doubt very much whether they appreciated that they were inventing the genre of Funk-Rock. Nor did Chuck Berry call himself the original Rock 'n' Roll artist. All he knew is that he was different from what had come before and thus, his listeners classed him in the new genre of "Rock 'n' Roll". All you have to do is make a sound. If you like the sound, it doesn't matter what genre it lies in as you can neither change nor choose a genre. As long as other people like it, it will become popular.
John McCormack/ Shipley/Bradford Say you had a song in your head ,how would you work out what genre would be best to put it in if you had no one interest in one specific genre?