Shows

Neel, Phil, and Mark

Writing Songs For A Living with Mark Cawley

This week SongTalk welcomed Mark Cawley to our (virtual) studio.

Mark Cawley is a hit songwriter, best selling author, in demand speaker, songwriting coach, and popular blogger. As a songwriter his songs have been on more than 16 million records to date – with a long list of cuts with legendary artists ranging from Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan, and Diana Ross to Wynonna Judd, Kathy Mattea, Paul Carrack, Billie Piper, Pop Idol winners, and The Spice Girls just to name a few.…

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Neel, Phil, Mike, and Melanie

Writing From The Heart with Melanie Peterson

BBC Radio has called Melanie, “Mary Poppins with a broken heart” and that is just part of her appeal. Besides her beautiful voice, Melanie is a terrific songwriter with lots of great songs to prove it. Her tune “Christmas Breaks My Heart” was a finalist in the Great American Songwriting Contest.…

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Songwriting tips podcast

Songwriting tips: Don’ts to not do as much and Do’s to do more often

We talk about the songwriting do’s and don’ts as well as:

  • The 2nd Annual Songwriting Challenge
  • The Annual Holiday Gift Guide
  • Songwriting Dos and Don’ts on Discmakers
  • DO: Write a cool opening line
  • DON’T: Make your chorus melody too much like your verse melody
  • DO: Write interesting titles
  • DON’T: Be afraid to rewrite
  • DO: Polish your chorus
  • DO: Simplify

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Mike, Neel, Phil, and Dokter Nomi

How To Write Songs (if you don’t play an instrument)

This week SongTalk welcomed Doktor Nomi to our studio.

Admittedly Nomi is not a real doctor but he does have a unique and interesting way of creating music. As a topliner and lyricist, Nomi frequently works with other collaborators to create his music.…

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Writing the same song in French and English with Izabelle

Having just released both a French and English version of her latest single, “Self-Talk Session”, Montreal based pop/funk singer Izabelle reached #1 on Quebec’s Niky radio charts and has spent weeks within their top ten, secured four consecutive victories in the Canadian Beats Weekly Beatdown, and has had the English version of her hit single added to numerous radio stations across the country.…

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Neel, Phil, and Mike

Our Listeners’ Songs – what you are writing

This week SongTalk featured a few songs from our listeners. And it was loads of fun.

We chose three of our listeners’ songs to take a closer listen to.

Stuart Cook – near Manchester, England penned a delightful song inspired by the view from a hill near his home.…

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Neel, Phil, and Mike

How about that Eddie Van Halen, and more

This week we were saddened by the passing away of guitar icon Eddie Van Halen. We talked about his amazing talent and some more stuff.

We talked about:

  • Mandolin Orange cover version of Bob Dylan’s Boots of Spanish Leather, and songs with two different points of view (thanks to Jeff from Michigan for the email)
  • Did Eddie Van Halen invent the two-handed tapping technique for electric guitar?

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We don’t need no stinkin’ coherent lyrics – with Neel Modi

Neel plays a track off his latest EP with special guest Lexie Jay from local TO Duo, Featurette.

Ace Symmetry is Neel Modi’s experimental EP of progressive electro-pop. Odd time signatures and nonsensical lyrics are combined with inventive beats, cool synth sounds, and catchy keyboard solos to create a unique and fun sonic experience.…

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Gilbert, Phil, Neel, and Mike

Creating a Concept Album with Gilbert Neal

This week Song Talk Radio welcomed Gilbert Neal to our studio.

A master song craftsman, Gilbert Neal – on his latest release Mistakes of Memory shows the depth and diversity of his influences: Leonard Cohen, Pink Floyd, ELO, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Stephen Sondheim.…

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Michael Johnson, Phil, Mike, and Neel

How to improvise in a band with Michael Johnson and Little Rambunctious

Actor, playwright, filmmaker, and musician, Michael Louis Johnson shares his experiences with his improvisation bands Rambunctious and Little Rambunctious, 13-member and 5-member brass bands, respectively.

We talked about:

  • Michael’s approach to improvising a lyric for a song title suggested by an audience member
  • How to create lyrics based on who’s in the audience
  • The value of a band that only exists “in the moment”
  • How to get the audience dancing

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Alex Cuba, Phil, Neel, and Mike

Making complicated sound simple with Alex Cuba

Canadian Juno and Latin Grammy winning artist, Alex Cuba joined us to talk about his songwriting process and perform a new song, Solo Mia, live on the show.

We talked about:

  • Alex’s first visit to Canada as part of his father’s band
  • How a melody-first way of songwriting tells Alex what the song is about
  • The differences between solo writing and collaborating with others
  • How to develop unique and rich chord progressions (hint: jazz)
  • Writing in Spanish vs English
  • How Alex’s playing style is unique to him, and why this is important – this applies to everyone!

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Neel, Mike, Vanessa, and Phil

Remembering John Prine

On this episode we are talking about the great John Prine. This American treasure, perhaps a modern day Mark Twain, a peerless songwriter and chronicler of the lives of regular folk sadly passed away recently – one of the many victims of the Covid 19 pandemic.…

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Blair, Neel, Phil, and Mike

Collecting Your Songs – How To Build An Album with Blair Packham

Song Talk Radio is happy to welcome our good friend Blair Packham to the studio. This episode, Blair is talking about his songwriting and the latest songs that he is working on. In fact, he will preview one of the songs he is considering for his new collection/album.…

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Being an established musician but starting out with home recording with Michael Louis Johnson

Michael talks about what it’s like being an established musician but being a beginner at home recording.

Actor, playwright, filmmaker, and musician, Michael Louis Johnson has lived in Toronto since 1990. He spent seven years as right-hand man to Big Rude Jake; he blowed-up on the silver screen in cult hit Bride of Chucky and was himself a principal subject of 2010 documentary, A Different Path.…

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Jesse, Mike, Phil, and Neel

How to write a good love song with Jesse Parent

Kitchener, Ontario-based singer-songwriter and storyteller Jesse Parent talks about the danger of his song “For a Moment” becoming a conventional love song, and how to avoid that!

We talked about:

  • How to do banter well when you’re performing
  • How Jesse went from one-draft songs to editing all the songs
  • “Write with your heart, edit with your brain”
  • How easy it is to let your songs devolve into love songs, if you’re not careful
  • How to play harmonica and guitar at the same time well (hint: if you can sing and play guitar, you can do this)
  • Writing to an unconventional song structure
  • Taylor guitars

Download the lyrics to For a Moment to follow along.…

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