Multi-platinum hit songwriter Shelly Peiken, has written songs for, and with, Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban, Celine Dion, Cher, Reba McEntire, Christina Aguilera, Meredith Brooks, Britney Spears, Natasha Bedingfield, NSYNC, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Idina Menzel and Demi Lovato. Shelly Peiken is also a successful author who has written a book detailing her experiences in songwriting – “Confessions of a Serial Songwriter”. Shelly shared two songs with us – “Bitch” and “Who You Are”. Here are some of the things we discussed:
Multi-instrumentalist and back up vocalist Sintja Baba has been playing alongside various Toronto acts and is currently playing that role in Marlon Chaplin’s band. She started her own band THE NAIVE, where her music has taken the shape of various genres. Her EP, “Saw the Sun” is a medley of catchy upbeat hooks and mellow ballads. We talked about:
Singer/songwriter Nolan Hubbard, originally from Gananoque, Ontario, brought us some summer sunlight through his stories and two of his catchy, tuneful songs – “Today” and “Sandbanks”. In this informative and entertaining program we talked about:
Up and coming singer-songwriter and Humber College music student Sean Bertram joined us to talk about his education and his chord-based approach to songwriting. Blair Packham subbed in for Phil – thanks Blair! And welcome to Raphael, our new technical and audio specialist – welcome to the team!
Jenny Perez is a classically trained pianist and vocalist. She’s recently begun her journey as a singer-songwriter, bringing her classic flavours to her modern songwriting. For this show, Jenny was accompanied by Sherry Jacoby on guitar and backup vocals.
We talked about:
the difference between classical and modern pop singing
the learning your technique debate: how much technique is too much?
going from the major to the minor on the same letter (eg. G-major to G-minor) in your chord progression
gettin’ all free and easy with your tempo
how much perfect rhyming can you stand before its gets too cheesy? Check out rhymezone.com
the guys argued over the pros and cons of having deliberately provocative lyrics
I know many of you don’t care for music theory. It’s clinical, it’s boring, and it sucks the soul out of songwriting. Well, news flash: you’re using music theory whether or not you intend to. For myself, I know my theory pretty well, as I learned it at young age. I couldn’t tell you if I’m playing in a Mixolydian or Phrygian mode, though, except that it’s fun to throw “Phrygian” into normal conversation.
Case in point: the Circle of Fifths (the Circle). Download a hi-res copy here. I’ve been asked before if a certain chord progression is an example of the Circle of Fifths. The question is missing the point. The Circle of Fifths isn’t a technique like modulation or chord substitution. It’s a way of understanding the essential elements of western music: the notes, the intervals, the chords, and the relationships between them.
It’s the relationships between chords that make a chord progression. Referring to the Circle of Fifths can help you discover interesting chord progressions, particularly when you’re stuck for what the next chord wants to be.
Just like clockwork
The Circle looks much like a clock. Just like there are 12 hours on a clock, there are 12 notes on the Circle. (If you haven’t downloaded a copy yet, you’ll want to so you can refer to it as you read the rest of this article.)
Jordan Paul returned to the Song Talk Radio studio on Gould Street in Toronto with a surprise – a beautifully handcrafted sitar. And he played it! In this detour from his usual singer/songwriter explorations, Jordan Paul combines samples with his own sitar playing to create mesmerizing melodies and soundscapes. In this fascinating program you’ll learn about:
The show you’ve all been waiting for…or maybe that was just Neel. The Song Talk Radio Team tackles the subject of the pre-chorus; what it is, what it does for a song, and why have one? Singer/songwriter Melanie Peterson joined us to perform one of her songs as an example, “Been So Long.” To add a few more examples to the mix, Phil brought “Buddy Holly“, a short catchy tune by Weezer, Bruce brought Beige Shelter‘s latest release “Light Your Way” (by Adi Aman and Neel Modi), , and Neel presented “Head Like a Hole” by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.