Writing Essay Help


How to Quote Song Lyrics in an Essay?

How to Quote Song Lyrics in an Essay? Have you ever felt like quoting your favorite song’s lyrics in your academic essays because they are so relatable and meaningful? Well, it’s possible and very much practical as well. There is always a chance that you get to quote a song in your essay to support a confident statement. 

The lyrics of a song are crucial for conveying the feelings and emotions of the artists, and they are also instrumental in music essays. If you need to learn how to quote a song’s lyrics in an essay, you are at the right place. This blog is an exclusive guide on how to quote song lyrics in an essay with references. 

Quoting A Song Lyrics In An Essay 

If you ever feel like quoting a song in your essay, you need to do it according to the recommended formatting style assigned by your instructor. You should have all the information regarding the artists who wrote and performed the song so that you can credit them accordingly in your essay. This way, you will rightly find the answer to how to quote lyrics in an essay.

Music classes and Music education both require song lyrics quoting most of the time, but the literary essay can also mention songs if relatable. Since most essays follow APA formatting style, so the best writing essay help guide is bringing you closer to quoting song lyrics in APA style. There are a few principles to citing a song in APA, including in-text citations and referencing. 

In Text Citations

Firstly, you need to quote the lyrics within the context of the essay. APA had different principles for quoting lyrics and verses of songs in the essays. Before mentioning the lyrics, you have to be clear in answering three main questions. 

  • Who: The name of the songwriter
  • When: The date of the release of original recorded or printed music.
  • Where: Information regarding where to find the lyrics. You need to cite the song number for the recorded music list and the line number for the printed lyrics.

You should provide a little background of the song and what inspired the songwriters to write that piece. If the copyright date and song release date are different, you need to put both dates in the in-text citations. You can also provide the song number from the album tracklist. If you are quoting several lines from the same song, you need to give the reference and stanza number in parenthesis right below the verses. You can also use the booklet page number and publication date if you are quoting lyrics from the booklet.

How to quote a song in an essay
How to quote a song in an essay

How to Quote Lyrics in an Essay “Example” 

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could’ve been any clearer

If they want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and then make a change

(Siedah Garret & Glen Ballard, Track 7, 1988)

Siedah Garet and Glen Ballard wrote this song for the global pop star Michael Jackson. The song, ‘Man in The Mirror,’ was released in early 1988, and it was the 7th single from Michael Jackson’s studio album ‘Bad.’ The song broke records and topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts for two weeks.

This song strongly reflects the impact of self-improvement and efforts made at an individual level. At first, the song shed light on the social issues and struggles of underprivileged people. Then, it smoothly shifts to the efforts that can make a change. It takes the listeners into a self-reflection dive and makes them realize how the change starts from within.

How to Quote a Song in an Essay “References Citations”

The entries in the references section at the end of your essay will have all the information their readers wanted to know about the song you quoted. Once you quote the music in the in-text citation, you need to cite it in the references as well. APA formatting style has the following principles for citing a song in an essay.

  • The information in your in-text citation should be the same as the information you will enter in the references.
  • If several different artists recorded the song you wanted to quote, you need to cite the version you are working with. This also applies to songs that various artists re-recorded in two different timelines. Be sure to cite the exact version you are using.
  • You need to provide all the information regarding the parties involved in making that song, including the lyricist, composer, producer, release date, artists who performed the music, the medium and recording studio, and the location.
  • If the song has different dates of single release and release as a part of the album, you are required to cite both dates.
  • It would also be helpful if you knew which edition of the song you are quoting. You need to properly cite the edition and version of the song performed by different artists.

How to Quote a Song in an Essay? Start Citing

Your essay help writer now lead you toward the actual writing stage. From this phase, you can start writing your work side by side.


Last Name. First Name Initials (Lyricists), Last Name. First Name Initials (Composer). (Year of Songwriting) Song Name. [Recording Artist’s full name]. Album Name [CD, Volume Number]. City of Recording. Name of Recording Studios. (Year of Release)


Garret.S & Ballard. G (Lyricists), Jackson. M (Composer). (1987). Man In The Mirror[Recorded by Michael Jakcson]. Bad [CD, 1 vol]. Los Angeles, CA. Epic Records: Westlake Studios. (1988)

How to Quote Song Lyrics in an Essay Without Lyricist and Composer

Following is the format of citing a song that was initially recorded such a long time ago that it doesn’t list the name of the lyricist or composer.


Name of the song [Recording artist]. (Year of Recording). Album Name [CD, Volume Number]. City of Recording. Name of Recording Studios. (Year of Release)


Man In The Mirror [Recorded by Michael Jakcson]. (1987). Bad [CD, 1 vol]. Los Angeles, CA. Epic Records: Westlake Studios. (1988)

Citing a Song with the Same Lyricist and Composer

If you are quoting a song that was written, composed, and recorded by one person, you have to follow the below pattern. However, if it is short of time, then hiring an essay writer helper is the best thing to do.


Name of Artist. (Year of release.) Song Name. Album Name [CD or volume]. New York, NY: Recording Studio Name


Jackson.M. (1983) Billie Jean. Thriller.[CD]. Los Angeles, CA: Westlake Recording Studios.

How to Quote Song Lyrics in an Essay From a Printed Source

If you are quoting lyrics of a song from a printed course like a booklet or pamphlet, the following format will be used.


Name of Librettist, & Name of Composer. (Year of publication). Place of Publication: Publication House.


Holmes. H.[Librettist], & Gayton.B.L (Composer). (1998). Beyond The Train Wreck. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland: Dunstan House.

Summing Up

Ta-da! You’ve beaten quoting lyrics like a pro essay writer! Our complete guide for how to quote song lyrics in an essay reached an end. Just a friendly reminder for our reader: pick wisely, weave smoothly, and format like a pro. Also, don’t be shy, try different styles! Furthermore, do experiment with genres and let your essay become a symphony of ideas, leaving readers humming their way after the last line.