beat

Vanessa, Michael, Ritha, Taylor, Phil, Micah, and Neel

Making the most of your voice with Taylor Abrahamse

This week, professional singer/songwriter, voice actor & co-founder of Silverthorn Studios recording, Taylor Abrahamse joined us in the studio at SongTalk World Headquarters.  Taylor was a Top 40 finalist on Canadian Idol, has performed on stages across Ontario, has also written & produced musicals, and music for animated series and viral internet music through Corus, DHX & Super Planet Dolan.

Taylor is on the verge of a breakout moment in a promising career. After creating a spontaneous performance opportunity on the conference floor of Canadian Music Week, Taylor was contacted by Grammy-winning producer and engineer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Carly Simon, David Bowie, Michelle Branch & many more), who wanted to produce & develop Taylor. Now close to the release of his debut record of original songs, Eddie describes Taylor as ‘A true artist, and songwriting genius’.

We were very excited to have Taylor drop by so we could catch up and hear  his talent for ourselves.

 

Writing Better Lyrics – Pat Pattison

FangBone cartoon. theme song by Taylor

Todd and The Shadows on YouTube

Nick Lowe – Cruel To Be Kind

 

College Radio: How Do I Get My Music Played?

This week SongTalk welcomed Adriel Smiley to our studio. Adriel is the Music Director of CJRU – Ryerson’s Radio station – and Adriel brought a wealth of information about college radio and the best way musicians can get their music played on these stations.

On this episode, Adriel gave a lot of tips and best practices for artists to follow and explained the process of how songs are chosen to be played on college radio. He also brought in a track from a great new artist he discovered through his role as Music Director – Haviah Mighty.

We talked with Adriel about:

  • the best way to approach college radio stations
  • how to prepare a package to showcase your music
  • what he looks for in new artists
  • how often new music is added to college playlists
  • which musical genres are most likely to get attention

Julian Taylor – dual roots and great songs

Julian Taylor is a Canadian singer-songwriter formerly with the band Staggered Crossing. His songs have appeared in television series including Degrassi: The Next Generation.  He now fronts the Julian Taylor Band. Julian dropped by the studio with his daughter Ella. We talked about:

  • Skookum Music Festival, Vancouver
  • Basic core band members together for 24 years!
  • Music first or lyrics first?
  • Finding a “treasure chest” of memorabilia in the attic
  • New album called Avalanche
  • Checking the quality of the melody – whistle
  • Sweeter – unusual song structure, lots of Canadian references
  • Love Connection – cool structure
  • started writing songs at age of 4
  • Mohawk/West Indian musical background

Listen to the whole show

Bruce, Phil, Michael, Vanessa, Linda, and Neel

The show with more cowbell!

OK, so we’ve got a thing for the cowbell. Or maybe that was just Phil. In any case, the under-appreciated cowbell gets the most love it’s had since Christopher Walken’s fever.

We talked about:

  • the history and distinctive sound of the cowbell
  • the heyday of the cowbell in 70s rock
  • syncopated vs. straight rhythms
  • the Song Talk Radio outtro music (written and performed by our very own Phil Emery!)
  • an interesting 5 minutes on the cowbell, courtesy of NPR’s All Things Considered

Listen to the show:

The example songs:

Other songs that feature the cowbell:

 

Phil, Bruce, iLLvibe, Linda, Vanessa, and Neel

All about hip hop with iLLvibe

Toronto-based hip hop recording artist iLLvibe dropped by to share his music and his thoughts. Runner up to Drake for Toronto Rapper of the Year in 2016 and winner on “Canada’s Smartest Person” it was indeed an entertaining and informative hour!

We talked about:

Listen to the whole episode

Bruce, Phil, Vanessa, Robert, Dave, Bob, Neel, and Anthony

Robert Priest, songwriting poet

Multi-talented Toronto poet, novelist, and singer/songwriter Robert Priest brought two great songs to the show. He also brought two talented musicians to back him up – guitarist and vocalist David Hines and guitarist Bob Cohen. We talked about a wide range of things including:

  • the difference between poetry and song lyrics
  • collaboration in song writing
  • song structure
  • work habits
  • breaking down the inner critic
  • “highway” songs
  • writing for children
  • a poem about John Lennon
  • Robert’s website

Watch the live performances

 

Listen to the show

Bruce, Ed, Phil, Vanessa, and Neel

Ed Roman a Canadian original

Ed Roman is an award-winning singer/songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist from Shelburne, Ontario, Canada.  Blurring the lines between pop, rock, folk, and country music genres, Ed’s uniquely crafted songs have received regular rotation on more than 100 terrestrial radio stations across North America and more than 400 stations, worldwide. On this program we had some lively discussions about:

  • What is “Canadiana”?
  • Being human and the influence of family on songwriting
  • Music as a way to deal with dyslexia
  • Forming a band at the age of 14 and writing original tunes
  • Lyrics have many meanings for the listeners (good!)
  • Emotions in the performance
  • Protest songs – what happens behind the scenes?
  • Holding onto unresolved chords versus fulfilling expectations

Download the lyrics

The Way She Goes

I Told You So

Listen to the whole show

Watch the performances

The Oh Chays: the ins-and-outs of making a living as a songwriting couple

The always surprising, risk-taking, gear-shifting, soul-belting Oh Chays are beholden to no single genre. Currently writing and recording their second album, The Oh Chays are a husband and wife duo raised on trad jazz, rockabilly, gospel, and the Detroit radio of the 70’s and 80’s. Consistently wowing audiences with their versatile musicianship, songwriting, and razor-sharp wit, The Oh Chays are not to be missed live.

Since their inception in 2014, The Oh Chays have racked up an impressive list of accomplishments winning the Canada South Songwriting Competition in August 2017 for their song The Glass, competing in the 31st Annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee, and reaching the finals of the Toronto Blues Society’s talent search with their song Big Old World.

The Oh Chays have backed friends of the show, Blair Packham and Patrick Ballantyne

Listen to the show:

Neel, Bruce, Erik (Scrape), Phil, and Vanessa

Industrial music according to Scrape

The Song Talk Radio team of Bruce, Neel, and Phil received an education in Industrial music with Eric Scrape. Here’s some of what you can learn by listening to the show:

Have a listen right here!

 

Bruce, Neel, Vanessa, Phil, and Etain

Love Songs we Love to Love (Valentine’s Day Special)

For our Valentine’s Day special, each member of the Song Talk Radio team brought a favourite love song too woo our listeners. All the songs were very different, and we each had a different take on what makes a good love song:

  • Bruce appreciates authentic, honest expressions of love
  • Neel likes it when there’s a nuanced message
  • Vanessa looks for a specific emotional response in the listener
  • Etain likes sincere and from the heart love songs that you can dance to
  • Phil likes honesty and originality in his “happy” love songs, and
  • favourite twitter follower of the show, Sharon (@SharonRose2012), said “Love songs should make you remember what it’s like to be in love.”

We also talked out:

  • writing songs from a gay perspective
  • modern songwriting melodies
  • ska music vs. reggae
  • verse / refrain / B section song structure
  • Putting a twist on the default “I love you” message

Listen to the whole show:

Check out the love songs we love to love:

Here’s the team’s top picks, and even some great love songs that didn’t make it to show!

Bruce’s pick for the show was a song written by a gay songwriter:

And Bruce’s runner-up pick, a classic love song:

Etain’s pick for the show was a quirky and cheeky 80’s song:

Neel’s pick was an earnest and upbeat, catchy love song with a twist:

and Neel’s second choice (not featured on the show) was a quirky duet about loving in the biggest way possible:

Phil chose the first song he ever heard when he realized “that’s a great song”:

Phil also considered a beautiful new wave song for the show:

Vanessa brought a gorgeous, folky ballad by Jewel:

She also considered a collaboration song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

And our twitter followers contributed to the conversation with their favourites:

Tony Burns (@ynotburns) favourite love song:

and Sharon’s (@SharonRose2012) favourite love song: