bridge

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

Writing Songs for Children with Ashley Braga

Singer-songwriter and Music Educator Ashley Braga came to visit us again on the tails of her first album for children, Ladder to the Moon. The album features traditional children’s songs with Ashley’s own twists, and totally original songs as well. Ladder to the Moon was produced by Song Talk Radio’s own Neel Modi.

We talked about:

  • how songwriting for children is different than adult audiences
  • how you should never underestimate children; they can appreciate sophistication and complexity too
  • using nature and animals in your lyrics
  • the silliness factor in children’s songs
  • the power of pretending and imagination for children
  • referring to the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency to find out if a song is in the public domain

Listen to the show:

Download the lyrics and follow along:

Ladder to the Moon

I am a Tree

Watch the live performance:

Making the most of a three-chord song

On this program Bruce, Neel, and Phil, (and Linda) each brought a three-chord song to share. We looked at what each song needed to do (if anything) to compensate for the lack of chord diversity. We talked about:

Listen to the whole show

The lyrics

Download the chord/lyric sheets to follow along:

Ming-Tea-BBC

Now-You’re-Leaving_Lyrics

Radiohead-Street-Spirit

The-Joker

Eric Walker, jazz/pop/blues fusion

Eric Walker is a singer/songwriter from Toronto and a member of the blakeley walker band. He was a founding member of the Toronto Songwriters Association which has met the second Saturday of the month for the past 17 years. We talked about:

  • playing Harry Belafonte songs on the ukulele
  • writing a song with 47 chords
  • master songwriting teacher Andy Krehm
  • composition teacher Gordon Dalimont
  • SONG – “Umbrella” – looking back at the beginnings of a relationship
  • SONG – “Renovations” – building and renovating love
  • short chorus – good or bad?
  • how the Toronto Songwriters Association events work

Listen to the whole show

Vanessa, Neel, Blair, Linda, Michael, and Phil

Canadian songwriters rock the nineties

Maybe you didn’t ask for it but we did it anyway – the 90’s song draft – this time with Canadian songwriters. Blair Packham sat in for a sick Bruce, Vanessa joined the gang for her song picks, and much fun was had. Of the many writers of the Great White North, here are a few highlights:

  • Alanis Morrisette
  • The Tragically Hip
  • Bruce Cockburn
  • Tal Bachman
  • The Odds

Listen to the whole show

Neel, Linda, Bruce, Avery, Vanessa, and Phil

Blending Jazz and Soul with Avery Raquel

Teen-aged jazz/soul superstar Avery Raquel joined us to talk about moving from covers of jazz standards to her own blend of jazz and soul to better connect with her audience. We talked about:

  • Jazz standards by Chet Baker, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra
  • Listening to songs analytically
  • Tension and release in a song (and how Avery is amazing at it)
  • “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus” – or not?
  • Co-writing with producer Greg Kavanagh
  • Editing as part of your songwriting process
  • Overcoming writer’s block
  • Profanity in modern music

Listen to the show

Linda, Bruce, Vanessa, Allister, Sean, Dave, and Phil

Fathers Day Special with Allister Bradley and Sean Bertram

For a special Father’s Day episode, we invited father and son Allister Bradley and Sean Bertram to share their experiences working on music together and independently. Friend of the show Dave Miner filled in for Neel – thanks Dave!

We talked about:

  • Sean starting out with piano lessons, Guitar Hero and Rockband
  • Allister finding the balance between helping his son and keeping out of Sean’s journey as a songwriter and artist
  • The role of music teachers and how to find the right one
  • Starting a song with the bassline
  • Sean’s song Holes
  • Key modulating in your bridge

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics for I’m No Good for You and Still Wild

Neel, Bruce, Dahlia, Vanessa, Phil, and Linda

DAHLIA, long-term views on writing songs

Songwriter DAHLIA stopped by after her tour in India to talk songwriting.

Listen to the episode:

What we talked about:

Download the lyrics

DREAMLOVA-LYRICS-D.FERNANDES
BROKEN-DAHLIA-LYRICS

Bruce, Vanessa, Linda, Rebecca, Nick, Frank, and Neel

Songwriting with a purpose; Rebecca Lappa

Part way through her cross-country tour which began in her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, singer/songwriter Rebecca Lappa stopped in at the Song Talk Radio studio to share two original songs. She was accompanied on piano by the talented musician Nick Samoil. We talked about:

  • releasing your first album at the age of 12
  • FACTOR grants
  • Canada’s Music Incubator
  • metaphor list as a writing tool
  • co-writes
  • the story is the thing
  • a song about a Vimy Ridge hero
  • 1st or 2nd person in a song

Listen to the show

The Lyrics

Valiant-of-Vimy

Deep-Water

Watch the live performances

 

Vanessa, Phil, Robert, David, Linda, Bruce and Neel

Robert Priest – how to write songs for children

We had the pleasure of having the prolific Toronto poet, novelist, and singer/songwriter Robert Priest (with David Hynes on guitar) back in the studio to share a couple of his children’s songs. We talked about…

  • testing a song on a 6-year old
  • moving from writing for adults to writing for children on the same day
  • chord choices for children
  • writing for younger and older children (the differences)
  • kids deserve quality songwriting
  • Inchworm” (an old favourite)
  • repetition in kids’ songs
  • using words that kids will have to look up (why not?)
  • the work habits of a prolific writer
  • Gilbert and Sullivan style (The Ships of Bath)
  • do you have to have kids to write for children?

Listen to the whole show

Robert-Priest-Lyrics

Watch the live performances

Bruce, Sean, Phil, Linda, and Neel

Bridging Jazz and Pop with Sean Bertram

Sean Bertram returned to the show following the release of his debut album, The Right Place. We talked about:

  • Sean’s studies at Humber College in Music Guitar
  • poetics in your lyrics
  • changing chords and melodic centre between sections of your song
  • contrast in pop songwriting
  • self-doubt in songwriting
  • Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson
  • how to change up your guitar playing from section to section
  • how to use an AABA structure in your verse
  • Sean’s new album The Right Place
  • Sean’s dad, Allister Bradley and his appearance on the show

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics for Caroline and I Think Too Much

Watch the live performance