Bradley McCaw is an award-winning singer/songwriter. His career started with him singing classical music and touring internationally with the group THE TEN TENORS. A native of Australia, Bradley spent fifteen long years making good in every job a musician and writer could possibly have, ending his day with a stack of old vinyls by his bed and a dream to create music like his heroes.
During this time, he also performed lead roles in musicals like RENT, LES MISERABLES and won the INTERNATIONAL CABARET SHOWCASE with a one-man tour de force performance, featuring an original script and score, culminating in an Australian Tour and a sold-out performance on New York’s, 42nd Street.
Lately Bradley has made a major career change – from classical music and musicals to more personal music. Coming in October 2021, he will realize this dream and release his debut rock’n’roll album, WORRIED MINDS. The record features a wonderful combination of blue-eyed soul, Motown vibes, rock n roll energy, and catchy pop melodies. So Glad is the first single and that’s what we wanted to take a listen to and talk about.
We also talked with Bradley about:
- what made him change musical direction so dramatically
- how he approaches songwriting (hint: hard work and diligence help)
- how he ended up working with a legendary producer
- how to sing personal songs after a career of performing in musicals
For our second episode on tips for using your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) at home, we talk all about MIDI and the different ways it can be used to better your home recordings.
We talked about:
- what is MIDI and a brief history
- MIDI notes and velocity
- quantizing your MIDI performance
- how MIDI can also be used in lighting systems and guitar pedals
- viewing MIDI in a piano roll view, staff view, or event view
- how MIDI can also be used as a transport control for your DAW
- using drum maps
- using articulation switches to trigger different performance phrases or articulations (e.g. legato, sustain, sforzando, pizzicato, tremolo, etc)
Check out our first episode in this series: Home Recording and Digital Audio Workstations – Part 1
If you have Music Licensing questions, then this show is for you! Michael Elsner of MasterMusicLicensing.com stopped by to share some killer tips on how to get your songs into Movies and TV and his Master Music Licensing course. Lexie Jay of Featurette filled in for Neel who was skiving off somewhere.
We talked about:
- How releasing songs for radio and songs for TV is a different process
- The different factors that affect the licensing fee
- How to License your songs for Sync
- The Master Music Licensing Course
- Much much more!
People think that pop songs have a standard structure – verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus – and many do. Mostly because that familiarity works. But some hit songs challenge convention, they chart their own path to great success. So this episode we thought we would find some recent songs that go against the grain and still manage to be popular. So how do they do it? That’s what we tried to find out.
Neel brought in “Hey Ya” by Outkast. It’s a groove in different key signatures but still a coherent piece of ear candy. In its sub-structure, the deceptive cadence makes the repeating chord progression both unusual and catchy.
Phil was intrigued by The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven“. Despite the lengthy intro, a instrumental break after the first verse, long verses and other structural anomalies it is a beautiful – and successful – love song.
And Mike focused on a Rihanna hit, “Stay“. Despite its atypical length of verse, chorus and bridge this song proved to be a massive hit for one of pop music’s top hitmakers. And oddly enough, the verse melody is almost the same as the chorus. Yet it works.
Take a listen, see what you think and send us your suggestions of unconventional hit songs:
“Beauty is what I’m chasing” Anna Larson is an emerging singer-songwriter, fusing diverse musical roots with piano-driven originality.
Larson has several single releases slated for 2021, kicking off with “Won’t Let you Down”, due out June 25. Wrapped in vocal harmonies and warm guitar tones, it is new music for dreamers. 2021 has also seen the release of “Cocoon”: 7 song visual album & sonic time capsule, made completely in isolation during 2020. Her song “Acting Alone” has appeared on NPR Music’s “All Songs Considered”, as well as placing in the 2019 Woody Guthrie Songwriting Competition.
We talked about:
- parallel chord changes and mode shifts in your song
- songwriting challenges
- how writing on a different instruments allows you to get “out of your way”
- how to write an effective protest song by making your point with a softer blow
- how to introduce uncomfortable silence at the end of your song
Download the lyrics to Acting Along to follow along.