Join us for our 2nd Annual Songwriting Challenge!

We invite our listeners to join us for our latest songwriting challenge. This year, we’re challenging ourselves to:

write a song where the chord progression never changes.

Neel, Mike, and Phil each wrote a song for the challenge, and we shared our answers on the January 26, 2021 episode. Replies from our listeners will be shared on the February 16 episode.

So please send us your answer to the songwriting challenge. Send your mp3 and your lyrics to by February 9, and we’ll feature your song on February 16.

Be sure to check out our special theme episode on, you guessed it, songs where the chord progression never changes! Good luck!

Fresh Content

Show date:  Apr. 04, 2021

Mike, Mikalyn, Neel, and Phil

Impressive new talent Mikalyn stopped by to talk about starting off early, collaboration and songwriting.

We talked about:

Phil bought a drum kit

The Songwriting Challenge – stuff still coming in

The Songwriters Association of Canada

The New York Times: Now, THAT’s what I call a Bridge!

Instagram: @mikalynmusic

Twitter: @MikalynMusic


YouTube: Mikalyn


Show date:  Mar. 21, 2021

Neel, Phil, and Mike

This week we welcomed five more songwriters who sent us their answers to our latest songwriting challenge, to write a song with a single chord progression throughout. We got two protest songs, a song about social media, a rather tense relationship, and of course, COVID-19. We were so pleased to receive submissions from all over the world; thanks for sharing!

We talked about:

  • How Phil found a neat way to use a simple looper pedal in his studio
  • Being clear about your message in a protest song
  • Using as few words as possible in your lyrics
  • The hosts’ answers to the songwriting challenge
  • The first batch of listener’s answers to the songwriting challenge

Download the lyrics to follow along:

  1. Tracey Dey – Messing with my Head
  2. Mark Ippolito – Another Mother’s Son
  3. Jo Faulkner – Give Me Time
  4. Sunny Zaman – The world has let its children down
  5. Jeff Putnam – Life is Hard

Show date:  Mar. 14, 2021

Neel, Mike, Phil, Paul, and Sherry

Now physically- distanced duo Jellyfish Interrupted stopped by to talk about how they constructed a funky, lyric-driven track.

We talked about:

Jellyfish Interrupted is funk with a twist. The band formed when songwriters Paul Vos and Sherry Jacoby merged their styles to create a unique blend of retro disco and modern indie. After recording 5 studio tracks for their debut EP, they joined forces with Neel Modi and Nabil Durzi to record live videos of their groovy tracks. Their debut EP “Groove With You” was released on March 12 and is now available on all streaming platforms! You can follow Jellyfish Interrupted on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

Show date:  Mar. 09, 2021

Phil, Neel, Mike, and John

This week SongTalk welcomed John from Tomato Tomato to our virtual studio.

They just might be Atlantic Canada’s most entertaining musical duo. The New Brunswick based pair – John and Lisa McLaggan – have built a reputation on a live show that is as much about their on-stage charisma as their musical multi-tasking and vocal excellence. This compelling mix has seen the duo build audiences and develop friendships across Canada through performances at major venues and festivals; and win over international audiences with repeat visits to Australia and the UK.

Equally well received by critics, the duo have received nominations from ECMA, Music/Musique NB, and the Canadian Folk Music Awards, winning awards for Group Recording of the Year, SOCAN Song of the Year, and a well-deserved Hardest Working Artist award!

For their fifth record, they returned to Nashville in March to record with producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist, Jon Estes, and an amazing group of Nashville based musicians. With most of the record complete, they returned home just in time for lockdown where they recorded their vocals and finished the record.

We are happy to have John and Tomato Tomato’s fresh new recording – a barnstorming new roots / rock record – as a guest on SongTalk Radio.

We had a great conversation with John about:

  • writing for the perspective of two vocalists, male and female
  • his journey from jazz musician to folk artist
  • how playing cover songs will improve your songwriting
  • the evolution of his lyric-writing
  • working with the great Nashville musician Matt Combs



We talked about a Pitchfork article on Decolonizing Western Music – Khyam Allami creates recording software that is not constrained by Western Music structures, Check it out.



Show date:  Feb. 28, 2021

Phil, Neel, Mike, and Kirk

JUNO Award-winning reggae singer, songwriter, producer and social activist Kirk Diamond shared his new single “Let It Be Done” — available now.

“‘Let It Be Done’ was written in light of the political climate and social unrest that has affected so many worldwide, myself included,” Diamond shares. “That’s directly, indirectly, or psychologically.”

Holding multiple #1 spots on the Canadian Reggae Chart for over 25 collective weeks, it’s no surprise Kirk Diamond has been named one of CBC’s 10 Canadian Reggae Artists You Need To hear. A multi-JUNO nominee, he won for his debut EP, Greater, in 2018. Kirk Diamond and his band The Movement Of Ahryel deliver reggae and dancehall en masse — including opening for Maxi Priest, Third World, Luciano and Etana, and more.

We talked about:

  • The Song Talk Meetup
  • Songwriting challenge listener’s songs (1st batch)
  • building new songs based on loops of existing songs (e.g. Bob Marley)
  • recording song ideas on your phone, or what to do if it’s too cold to grab your phone
  • working with a band to develop your songs
  • breaking down language barriers with reggae
  • getting back to old school reggae instrumentation and grooves
  • how to create variety in hooks over the same beat