Join us each week for songwriting tips and techniques, and the occasional gumbo recipe. But seriously, take a listen! You’ll have so much fun, you won’t know you’re learning stuff.

Fresh Content

Show date:  Sep. 18, 2022

Nabs-D, Neel, and Teresa

Nab-s D & Teresa is a new Toronto-based duo featuring funky basslines and powerful, soulful vocals. They featured their new single On The Run on the podcast this week.

We talked about:

  • writing an instrumental bed to support a singer
  • leaving room for spontaneity in the studio
  • structuring your song with very high contrast between sections
  • having a balance between repetition and surprise in your song
  • considering the energy map and the journey of your song, especially if it’s a longer song

Download the lyrics to On The Run to follow along.

Follow Nabs-D and Teresa on social media.

Show date:  Sep. 13, 2022

Neel, Phil, and Mike

As part of our ongoing series of episodes about recording in your home studios, we talk to MIDI expert Mike Kent about MIDI 2.0 and the what the future holds.

We talked about:

  • Our first episode about MIDI from July 2021: All about MIDI
  • How MIDI 2.0 introduces discoverability, meaning that your DAW can automatically know about all the controls of any MIDI device plugged into it, and in the future, you’ll never have to program knob or slider controls for your MIDI device
  • The massively increased resolutions of MIDI 2.0 in terms of controllers and velocity, giving more realistic musical expressions
  • How product developers and software developers are preparing for MIDI 2.0

Find our more about MIDI, MIDI 2.0, and Mike Kent:

Show date:  Sep. 06, 2022

Neel and Phil

We continue to receive submissions from our listeners to our songwriting challenge. Thanks to everyone for their contributions! On this bonus listener episode, we feature songs by Andy Vann, Mira Chorik, and Sunny Zaman.

We talked about:

  • The Song Talk Meetup
  • Why do you write songs? Send us a message and let us know!
  • Rhythmic differences between verse and chorus
  • Blending global and personal contexts as a response to “Why Do You Cry?”
  • Maintaining a clear and consistent point-of-view in your song
  • Finding the best way to end your song
  • Traditional sing-song-y melodies
  • Writing with melody first, without any instruments
  • Using non-verbal hooks in your song, and the song Loving You by Minnie Riperton
  • Ending your song with the bridge (which maybe makes it not a bridge, but a coda, but you know what we mean :))
  • The use of melisma with our recent guest, Alicia Toner

Download the lyrics to follow along:

Andy Vann – Why Do You Cry

Mira Chorik – Why Do You Cry (the Onion)

Sunny Zaman – Why do you cry

Show date:  Aug. 21, 2022

Susan, Neel, and Terry

With over three decades in the music industry, Newfoundland turned BC-based artist Terry Penney is well known for his incredible storytelling and has often been compared to some of the best writers of all time, including Steve Earle and John Prine. The MusicNL Songwriter of the Year has earned multiple nominations from both the Music Industry Association of Newfoundland Awards and the East Coast Music Awards. After a lengthy hiatus, the singer-songwriter has just released his ninth studio album this summer, titled “The People I Am” which has been celebrated throughout Canada as a powerfully-written, and sonically diverse project. Terry’s latest single, “Letting Go”, is a Country-Folk ballad about putting a dream to rest and moving on.

Susan Cattaneo filled in for Phil in the co-host spot – thanks Susan! We talked about:

  • The Song Talk Radio Songwriting Challenge
  • Factor Artist Development Program
  • Terry’s experience in the music industry leading to a hiatus and writing songs he never would have otherwise
  • mosaic rhymes
  • how “three chords and the truth” lets the story shine though, and the balance between complex music and rich lyrics
  • use of changing pronouns to develop your story, level of intimacy, and separate sections of your song
  • being both specific and universal in your lyric

Download the lyrics to Letting Go to follow along.

Show date:  Aug. 14, 2022

PEI-based artist Alicia Toner has had an explosive year since the release of her sophomore album “Joan”. Alicia brought home a 2022 Canadian Folk Music Award, became the most nominated artist at the Music PEI Awards this year for the project, and received multiple nominations at the East Coast Music Awards as well. Her album spent eight weeks on the Canadian Campus Radio Charts, and received a two page feature in PEI Living Magazine. Described as an artist with “powerhouse vocals in a way that you just can’t capture on record” by Roots Music Canada, the celebrated vocalist and songwriter worked with well known Canadian producers Stuart Cameron (Crash Test Dummies, Matthew Good, Amanda Marshall) and Peter Fusco to bring the deeply personal project to life. Alicia is celebrating the one year anniversary of “Joan” with the release of her brand new single “Tonight”.

”Tonight” is the moment before you let yourself fall in love completely. It’s the fear of opening yourself up to heartbreak vs the fear of losing what could be. It’s the internal struggle of playing it safe or diving in head first.” – Alicia Toner

We talked about:

  • starting a song with a guitar riff
  • the influence of classical training on Alicia’s songwriting
  • using time-based differences to progress the lyric through your song
  • contrasting sections of your song with how wordy your lyric is
  • the use of Melisma, or multiple notes on a single syllable

Download the lyrics to Tonight to follow along.