How do I use music influences in my own songwriting without plagiarizing?

Plagiarism is outright copying a song and claiming it as your own. That is word for word, note for note copying. You never want to do that. Music influences help inspire songwriters in a way they become a type of mentor. As in your case you probably have several music influences, what makes every songwriter songs original is your own life experiences. Everyone has a unique life to live. When you combine your personal life experience along with the influence of 3 or 4 other songwriters mixed in, you will begin to develop you own personal voice.

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  • Songwriter Tip:

    Once you have the thought or concept in your head, try this before you sit down to write. Spend a couple of hours listening to music similar to what you want to write, or reading lyrics to songs you like, or reading about a subject on which you want to create a song. Then do something physical that takes your conscious mind completely off music for a while, such as a long walk. This will have the result of ‘splitting your brain’, i.e. left brain is the creative side and right is the pragmatic. Or vice versa Ð whatever. The point is this process seems to open up the subconscious, where all the really good ideas come from.