Always be different; don't follow the rules. Don't do what anyone tells you. Don't use the same sounds as people; don't use the same drums as people.
Most of the time when people work with an artist, they don't give them what they need for the future, they give them what their last album sounded like. So it's like, 'Oh, One Republic needs a song, why don't we send them 10 that sound like 'Apologize?'
Sometimes you're gonna write a song and it's not gonna be right from the beginning. And you're just gonna have to work through that wall. But if you know something is there, you've gotta just keep doing it until you get it right. So, I'll work on a song for three months if I have to, to get it right.
Basically, any time you have a real life experience, that can be a song. Because no matter how crazy or weird you are, somebody's had an experience just like you, somewhere.
I try to listen to over a hundred different songs a day. I listen to every single thing. If you're just listening to pop music, you're just gonna make pop music. I listen to Adele, Yo Yo Ma, Gucci Mane.
I always have a ping-pong table in the studio. If you're with an artist and you notice the situation is going south a little bit, it's like, 'You wanna play ping-pong or foosball?' Or, 'You wanna go grab somethin' to eat?' And then you just like talk to them and relax them and get them comfortable and get yourself comfortable.