chords

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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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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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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Neel, Mike, Blair, and Phil

Be Better At Performing – Tips from Blair Packham

One of our favourite guests drops by to give practical advice on performing. Blair Packham – songwriter, teacher, performer and 80’s hitmaker – talks about the best practices to entertain and present your songs to an audience, live or on-line.

Blair also shows off his dulcimer, which is very impressive.…

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Jesse, Mike, Phil, and Neel

Writing a COVID-19 song with Jesse Parent

This week we welcomed Kitchener, Ontario-based singer-songwriter and storyteller Jesse Parent to the show to talk about his COVID-19 pandemic inspired song, Learning to Live Apart.

We talked about:

  • Our new podcast format for 30 minute episodes
  • How valuable it is to play and study cover songs
  • Why you should record your ideas right away, even if it’s the middle of the night
  • Our episode on Songs that don’t change their chord progression
  • Emotional lyrics vs.

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Neel, Mike, and Phil

The Best Songs Have Only 3 chords

This week on SongTalk we look at a simple songwriting technique that may be more complicated than you think – songs with one chord progression.

That’s right, no guest this week just the SongTalk team – Phil, Neel and Mike – talking about the ways songs with just one series of chords repeated over and over have become huge hits.…

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Don, Neel, Donna, Matt, and Phil

Donna Linklater: Songwriting and Composition, What’s The Difference?

This week SongTalk welcomed Donna Linklater to our studio.

Soprano and composer/songwriter Donna Linklater studied opera with Sylvia Richardson at Brandon University. Toward the end of her studies, she began to focus on new music and was especially taken with the aleatoric music of John Cage which gave her greater freedom of creative expression.…

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Neel, Mike, Blair, Don, and Phil

Keeping It Real with Blair Packham

This week SongTalk welcomed our old friend Blair Packham to our studio.

The Toronto-based artist, first gained attention for his work with ’80’s power pop band The Jitters. He is now an acclaimed solo artist and musician. Blair released two strongly-reviewed solo albums before shifting his focus to composing music for TV and films, teaching songwriting at the post-secondary level and in numerous special event workshops, and co-hosting a long-running major market weekly radio show about music (“In the Studio” on the BellMedia talk radio network).…

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Neel, Ritah, Mike, Lexi, Jon, Don, and Phil

How Featurette add emotion to Electro-Pop

This week SongTalk welcomed FEATURETTE to our studio.

The Toronto-based duo FEATURETTE, formed by singer Lexie Jay and drummer, Jon Fedorsen, makes emotionally-charged, heavy-hitting electro-pop music that has been met with international critical acclaim.

After receiving their first full recording grant from FACTOR Canada, the duo released their debut LP CRAVE in October, 2016.…

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Mike, Neel, Don, Vanessa, and Phil

It’s a Christmas Extravaganza!

 

This week SongTalk welcomes… Christmas into our studio.

For our Xmas Eve show, we all brought in our favourite Christmas songs and had a good chat about what makes them so great. Featuring some classics and some new songs that you may not have heard before.…

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Mike, David, Ritah, Neel, Don, and Phil

David McLachlan: That Nashville sound.

This week SongTalk welcomed David McLachlan to our studio.

David McLachlan is a prolific songwriter with 7 albums released, one in the can, for release next Aug 2020. Several years ago David ventured to Nashville to record with some stellar A-list players.…

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Neel, Ritah, Adi, Mike, Ahmed, and Phil

Beige Shelter: How To Write Within A Band

Beige Shelter is an ambitious and eclectic five piece band from Toronto that brings fire, passion and a political conscience to their music. Through electrifying live performances, the band showcases both original songs and interesting twists on cover songs. Beige Shelter is currently working on their 2nd EP release.…

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Neel, Alex, Micah, Michael, and Phil

Bridging classical and pop music with Alex Whorms

This week singer-songwriter and Hamilton Arts Award for Emerging Artist winner (2019) Alex Whorms joined us to talk about her sophomore EP, Burgundy, and two of the songs.

We talked about:

  • FACTOR grants and Canada’s Music Incubator (check out our episodes on grants and music royalties)
  • how long to take to get to the chorus
  • finding the right amount of instrumental activity when you’re singing
  • how Alex always gets through the skeleton of a song right away when writing

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics to follow along:

Too Many Love Songs

Birds

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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.…

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guitar piano graphic

Learning an Instrument for Songwriting: What You Need To Know

There are many benefits to your musicianship when you learn and master playing an instrument. You increase coordination, cognitive skills that include better memory, and create a higher level of social awareness. 

The piano works as a wonderful starting point for most musicians, as it provides a good base in music theory, and it helps make identifying chords and key signatures a much easier task.

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