collaboration

Neel, Raphael, Amir, Phil, Vanessa, and Bruce

Pop songwriting with Amir Brandon

Pop music singer-songwriter Amir Brandon joined us to talk about two of his upcoming songs, working with producer Thomas McKay, and the stories behind his songs.

We also talked about:

  • Collaborating with other songwriters
  • Battle Royale: grammar vs. lyric vs. meaning vs. melody
  • How to write a really long chorus
  • Chord choices and mixing up major, minor, and 7th chords
  • Last week’s show on non-verbal hooks
  • Doing cover songs on youTube
  • The competitive nature between Eddie Murphy’s and Freddie Mercury’s music careers (aka Phil’s faux-pas)
  • Narrative and longing through the seasons in Waiting for Summer

Download the lyrics for Amir’s songs Diamonds-Rain-Lyrics and Waiting-for-Summer-Lyrics.

Listen to the show

Vanessa, Bruce, Rachel, Phil and Neel

How to write songs with a looper pedal with Rachel Raditz

The very talented singer-songwriter and improvisational artist Rachel Raditz brought one song to Song Talk Radio that she had written previously. The other she made up on the spot in the middle of the program. “Back in Hali” about a friendship that might be more set in Halifax had an unconventional  structure and a melody that grabbed us by the ears. Rachel’s powerful and original voice brought made the song engaging throughout. Her second song featured completely improvised lyrics, melodies, and harmonies, was sung acappella using a loop device to surprising and entertaining effect.

We talked about:

Have a listen to the complete show here:

 

 

Neel, Phil, Vincent, Vanessa, and Bruce

How to get noticed by a music publisher with Vincent Degiorgio

Vincent Degiorgio, president of CYMBA Music publishing, joined us to tell tales and give tips to songwriters on getting your songs published. We talked about:

Listen to the show

 

Dave, Patrick, Phil, Vanessa, and Bruce

Patrick Ballantyne – master songwriter

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his well-crafted songs. “Where Things Used to Be” is great example of the skillful combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a strong feeling of longing in the listener. Listen to the bridge in particular and the completely surprising chord on the word “dreams”. Patrick’s song “Plans” starts with a great line, “In California there are dates in the trees…” and connects to “dates on my calendar”. The message of a man who sees that he must change is both poignant and honest. As we discussed the tunes, we talked about:

  • “Hit-a-month” project
  • Having a manager
  • How tasty an E flat chord can be in the key of G
  • The use of “pause” in songwriting
  • Co-writing and collaboration
  • Ticket sales and merchandise (how to make money in music)
  • Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, FACTOR
  • Lifting a song through chord progressions
  • Natural or loads of experience?
  • Rhymezone.com for alternative rhymes

Listen to the show here

Neel, Vanessa, Bruce and Phil

Creating your own Songwriter’s Meetup Group

This week, Bruce, Neel and Phil discussed their roles as Co-Organizers of the Songwriter’s Cafe Meetup group in Toronto. We also featured songs from some of our guests who we discovered at the meetup.

We talked about:

  • why it’s important to host meetups regularly
  • tips for running a successful meetup
  • building a community of songwriters in your hometown
  • costs, logistics and benefits to running your group through meetup.com

Listen to the whole show

Neel, Sarah, Charlotte, Vanessa, Phil, and Patrick,

Commanding pop songwriting with the Command Sisters

Young pop sensations the Command Sisters (Charlotte and Sarah) joined us to talk about writing as a sibling duo and working with producers. Patrick Ballantyne filled in for Bruce.

We also talked about:

  • how to write a 2-chord song
  • the musical Book of Mormon
  • whether to repeat lyrics in each chorus
  • the challenge of writing direct lyrics vs. abstract lyrics
  • when editing, do you change the lyrics or the melody?

Download the lyrics for the songs, Back To You and Low Profile.

Listen to the show

Watch the live performances

Connect with the Command Sisters

Command Sisters website

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

youTube

Vanessa, Bruce, Sean, Lindsey, Phil, and Neel

Unleashed Dreams – music with a message

Unleashed Dreams brought their epic, new age, neo-classical music to Song Talk Radio. Lindsay Walker (lyricist/singer) and Sean Michael Paddison (composer, producer, and pianist) have a mission. They want to create and distribute music that empowers people to transform their lives and live their dreams. Their first song, “Deep”, is powerful. It recounts the challenges of going inside for some serious soul-searching. “Trust” had a meditative quality. It uses a wash of repeating lyrics and multi-layered production. We talked about:

  • life coaching
  • coaching through music – it touches hearts and souls
  • seniors experiencing dementia
  • suggesting reading – “This is Your Brain on Music
  • “epic songwriting” – Hans Zimmer
  • symphonic power
  • how to stay connected to your true self
  • music libraries: Cinesamples, Vienna Symphonic Library, Spitfire Audio, EastWest
  • cello and the human voice
  • down-to-earth lyrics in an epic piece
  • when to improvise a vocal and when not to
  • “meditainment”

Listen to the entire show

Connect with Unleashed Dreams

www.UnleashedDreams.com

Facebook

Twitter

You Tube

Neel, Bruce, Vanessa, Braeden, and Phil

Why work with a producer? with Braeden Mitchell

Braeden Mitchell returned to Song Talk Radio for his third visit and contributed to a very lively and informative discussion of songwriting and recording. He shared two songs with us,  Glory Days and Everyday Girl, both from his upcoming EP release. We talked about:

  • moving from a pop-rock sound to a folk-country style
  • a producer’s influence on approach, arrangements, structure, and more
  • why perform songs in a club to “test-drive” them before recording
  • how co-writing helps create a better song
  • working with Oh Susanna
  • how to meet other song writers (at shows just say, “hello, I loved your song”)
  • Braeden’s upcoming EP release show at the Dakota Tavern
  • Murphy’s Law’s of Songwriting

Listen to the complete show

Follow along with the lyric sheets

Glory Days

Everyday Girl

Watch the performance videos

Connect with Braeden

Website

Twitter

Facebook

youTube

Instagram

Soundcloud

Neel, Etain, Vanessa, Phil, Patrick, Alon and Ivan posing

Electronic music creation with Audio Insurgency

Toronto-based virtuoso electronic music duo Audio Insurgency joined us for a second time to talk about their latest projects, including an album of inventive video game music covers.

Audio Insurgency is made up of Alon Rodovinsky and Ivan Popov. The guys previously appeared on Song Talk Radio in early 2016.

Patrick Ballantyne filled in for Bruce for this show. Thanks Patrick!

We talked about:

  • song writing vs. music creation
  • orchestral-like arrangements
  • how you know when your song is done (hint: song structure is the key)
  • the roles between Alon as composer and Ivan as producer and sound engineer
  • using a melody note outside the chord to open up a section of the song
  • ways to come up with your title for an instrumental piece
  • whether or not to change your tonal center in a dance song
  • The 440Hz vs 432Hz tuning debate

Listen to the show:

 

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: