Neel, Phil, and Angela
Neel, Phil, and Angela

Angela Saini on developing songs past their initial ideas

Indian-Austrian Canadian country folk-pop artist Angela Saini is all about second chances and empowering others. She uplifts and inspires audiences with sing-alongs and storytelling about courage and finding joy in surprising places. BBC Radio has called the positive and upbeat songstress “massively talented”.

Angela is most known for her sunshine-soaked song “Living on the Bright Side,” and has performed for festivals in Canada such as Home County in London, and The Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Angela has over 20 years of professional songwriting and performance experience including 7 years as a formal songwriting instructor, coach and mentor. She currently teaches songwriting at TREBAS Institute in Toronto, and she coaches new and established songwriters to help fine-tune their creations, ensuring the best possible message and musical expression.

On this episode, Angela shares some early sketches of new songs that she’s currently working on, and we discuss ways to develop your songs past the initial ideas. She also shares voice memos from her phone, never heard before! Thanks, Angela, for your openness and vulnerability.

We talked about:

  • A Perfect Circle’s take on John Lennon’s Imagine in a minor key, and how it questions the identity of a song
  • Songwriting contests – a good idea?
  • The sometimes “messy” process of writing a song
  • Pushing a song with a fine-tooth comb until it’s just right
  • “Cutting the fat” from a song, making sure there are no unnecessary words
  • How sometimes initial ideas are abandoned, and that’s OK
  • Using voice memos to record ideas, and labelling them logically, or “slating” them to find them again easily, and saving them to combine with new ideas
  • Switching gears from piano or guitar to just singing a lyric to help generate a catchy chorus
  • Switching gears again, and finding related chords to develop a feeling for the verses
  • Switching to electric guitar to inspire a different idea
  • Lining up the feeling of the music with the lyrical content (i.e. prosody)
  • Our episode with Blair Packham on song development

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