chords

Phil, Bruce, Jeffery, Linda, Vanessa, and Neel

Great songwriting tips from Jeffery Straker

Canadian and internationally-reaching singer/songwriter Jeffery Straker joined us to talk about his process, collaborations, and great songwriting advice.

We talked about:

  • Conservatory training vs. ear training
  • When not to give your chorus a conventional “lift”
  • Editing your song, even the main title and hook so it brings your idea to a better light
  • How to use space in your song
  • What does “prosody” mean?
  • Economy of lyrics
  • Does your song need a bridge?
  • Collaborating with Royal Wood and Lawrence Katz
  • Keeping track of and building a bank of your song ideas

We also welcome Linda Lavender who will be helping out on the tech board in the future. Thanks and welcome aboard Linda!

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Download the song lyrics and follow along

Beauty in the Grey

Deliver Me

Neel, Phil, Bruce, Vanessa, and Anthony

Songs from your childhood

We talked about the first songs that resonated with us as kids.

Stuff We Talked About:

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Neel, Bruce, Vanessa, Anthony, and Phil

Holiday Special 2017

Bruce, Neel, Phil and Vanessa each shared a song that meant something to them for the holidays. Bruce featured a song from a series of The Beatles releases from 1964 to 1969 that he and his brothers bought each other for Christmas. Vanessa brought in a ballet number from her childhood as a dancer. Phil showcased a feel-good (well, except for the drunk tank) song from the Pogues. And Neel featured a song from his childhood that may have played a role in his wanting to be a musician.

We also talked about:

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Check out the songs

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

 

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Neel, Phil, Vanessa, Bruce, and Anthony

Creating songs when you have an unconventional singing voice

You don’t necessarily need to have a fantastic voice to write or even perform songs well. We looked at some of our favorite songwriters with unusual voices and how they did it.

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We talked about

 

Neel, Bruce, Patrick, Phil, Vanessa, and Anthony

Patrick Ballantyne’s Canadian song picks

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his favourite Canadian songs. “Help Me” by Joni Mitchell is a great example of her unique combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a casual conversational tone. Includes a great instrumental hook. Patrick’s other pick was a song by Ian and Sylvia, “The French Girl”, in a very unusual version recorded by Gene Clark. As we discussed the tunes, we talked about:

  • Patrick’s new album – “Calendar”
  • Hearing songs of yearning at the age of 13
  • Joni Mitchell’s unique vocal style
  • adding a 2/4 bar in a 4/4 song
  • When the root chord is a 7, it creates tension
  • Led Zeppelin

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Neel, Bruce, Andy, Vanessa. Phil, and Anthony

Where metal, folk, and soul meet with Andy De Rego

Andy De Rego, also known as Black Suit Devil, is a seductive blend of acoustic soul with thought provoking lyrics and heartfelt, soulful melodies. Andy has been a regular in Toronto’s rock, blues and metal music scenes for over twenty years, writing and performing across North America. Andy joined us to talk about:

  • stealing borrowing from Black Sabbath if you’re going to start a metal band
  • how Andy’s lyrics pull from the political, “fight the man” attitude of metal
  • Andy’s song Blind Man, a song about corporate control and injustice – download the lyrics
  • Short songs vs. long songs (hint: Andy writes long songs with a lot of tension)
  • the daily grind of being a full-time musician, and where to find good paying gigs
  • Andy’s song Fumbledownload the lyrics
  • how to separate the verse from the chorus
  • the great debate of enunciating every word in your vocal performance, or not

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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

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Bruce, Hema, Neel, Frank, and Phil

Exploring non-standard time signatures & EDM with Neel Modi

Our very own Neel talks about creating non-standard time-signature based EDM music. Past guest and composer Frank Horvat co-hosted while Neel’s better half, Hema handled the social media.

Some stuff we talked about:

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Famous songs with odd time signatures

Vanessa, Bruce, Michelle, Phil, and Neel

Michelle Thibodeau moves from opera to pop

Michelle Thibodeau is a pop-folk singer/songwriter from Moncton, New Brunswick, now based in Toronto. She performed live for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (2012) and David Foster (June 2017) as well as recently playing the leading lady “Nancy” in a professional production of Oliver the Musical. Her most recent single “Checkmate” (Oct 2016) was played nation-wide on CBC and Michelle is currently working on her third album of original music. At the age of 16, Michelle began writing songs on both guitar and piano, and 10 years later it is still her primary passion. For more information on her upcoming releases and performances in the GTA and the Maritimes, visit michellethibodeau.ca.

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Checkmate

Easy Target

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