Have fun learning how to write better songs, in any style!

A podcast where we share songwriting tips, techniques, and ideas, and share additional resources for songwriters. We're here to help you write better songs and help you along in your songwriting journey.

Every Tuesday evening at 7 PM EST, we explore tips and techniques from songwriting pros to amazing beginners so you can write better, more memorable songs easier. Since November 2013, we've talked to 100's of songwriters - every show is packed with tips, stories, and humour. Join us and get those songs moving! We even hold contests with great prizes!

Fresh Content

Show date:  Aug. 18, 2019

Neel, Ritah, Michael, and Phil

This week we talked about songs which have no chorus. First, we had to be clear about what does make a chorus. Then we deep dove on three songs we think don’t have one. What do you think? Leave a comment with your pick for a song without a chorus.

We also talked about:

  • focussed listening to songs
  • our show about Songwriting Apps
  • our other theme shows about song structure, like Bridges and Pre-Choruses
  • the differences between a chorus and a refrain
  • maybe story or lyric-driven songs with lots of words don’t necessarily have a chorus
  • it’s a chorus if people can easily sing along
  • kitchen sink dramas

Listen to the show

Our selections

Download the lyrics:

Underwhelmed

Up the Junction

88 Lines About 44 Women

Show date:  Aug. 05, 2019

Phil, Micah, Jeff, Ritah, Michael, and Neel

This week SongTalk welcomed Jeff Alan Greenway to our studio.

Greenway is a film composer, singer/songwriter and pianist from Pickering, Ontario. He has written music for film, worked as a session player, orchestrator and arranger, released his own original album “Great Expectations” and wrote the score to the international documentary The Secret Life Of Frogs, which won a Nature award at the Cannes Media and TV festival.

We talked with Jeff about:

  • his evolution from singer/songwriter to film composer
  • how to work with directors and producers
  • the workflow for creating soundtracks for other people’s projects
  • how he creates “to order”
  • how his songwriting process has changed

FB: http://www.facebook.com/jeffalangreenwaymusic
YT: http://www.youtube.com/jeffalangreenway
TW: http://www.twitter.com/jeffalangreen
SC: http://www.soundcloud.com/jeffalangreenway
Website: http://www.jeffalangreenway.com

Show date:  Jul. 28, 2019

Listen to the show:

Sarah Hiltz is a contemporary folk artist based in Toronto. Her current project has her researching the ways Canadians experience, express and suppress anger in modern society, especially women, and creating a song cycle in response.

Sarah’s last album, Beauty In The Blue, compiled songs and stories culled from her multiple journeys across Canada as a travelling musician on VIARail’s passenger train, “The Canadian”. Beauty in the Blue features lush, nuanced vocals and jazz-influenced songwriting.

Sarah has independently released three full-length albums and two EPs since 2009. Her work over the last decade as a talented singer-songwriter has landed her opening slots for Canadian icons Gordon Lightfoot and Ron Hynes, Top 3 placement in a nation-wide music competition (She’s The One), a Best Folk Album nomination (Toronto Independent Music Awards) and earned her an invitation to give a TEDx talk in 2014.

What we talked about:

Show date:  Jul. 15, 2019

Writer's block sitting at piano

Sometimes, the hardest part of the songwriting process is getting started. Once I’ve got an idea, I can hash out lyrics and music fairly easily. Getting past songwriter’s block usually involves coming up with a title and a hook to the song (Thank you, Nashville). More often than not, I’ll get blocked by wanting to come up with a metaphor for expressing an idea or emotion, but can’t land on the right one.

I’m a much stronger musician and composer than a lyricist. I can come up with grooves, interesting chord progressions and beats, and never attach a lyric to any of them. But I like to consider the “whole song,” so I opt to do the hard part first: some or most of the lyrics, then the music. I’ll be writing about getting past songwriter’s block in lyrical terms.

Where do my song ideas come from?

I’ve always espoused the notion that you can write a song about anything; I once wrote a song about a car accident taken from the point of the view of the brake pads of the car. It’s the development of a song that counts, drawing from your own life experiences and emotions to truly make the idea yours.

Inspiration comes from within. Ideally, we are constantly experiencing new things, seeing new things, and reading about new things. The trick to being “inspired” is to be mindful of these experiences, and finding the nuggets to turn them into songs.

Often, it’s helpful to write down in concrete terms what the idea is about. For example, I had a visceral reaction following the horrific bus attack in India in 2012, where a young woman was raped and killed, and her male friend was also violently assaulted on a bus in New Delhi. I jotted down some notes to keep me focused:

“This song is about the senselessness of the bus attack in New Dehli, and the irony of the violent reactions of the masses in India calling for capital punishment.”

Later on, I read news articles about the incident, and was moved by a quote from the deceased victim’s father who asked the media, “Don’t call her a rape victim. Please call her a brave daughter.

“This song is also about the ripple effect of victimization and the grief her family, friends and community experienced. It’s also about the fact that this young woman and her friend did nothing wrong, and their bravery shows the way forward in India.”

The idea became the song Brave Daughters. Read more »