conventions

Michael, Ritah, Robert, Phil, Micah, and Neel

Robert Ball: Giving Voice To The Personal

This week SongTalk welcomed Robert Ball to our studio.

A native Torontonian, Robert Ball is a multi-faceted singer who has traveled to and performed in over 60 countries around the world.
His sound has been described as soulful, jazzy, Neo-soul and he is a much in-demand session singer. Most recently he toured his EP “Need” & single “Breathe” throughout Toronto, New York and many PRIDE circuits including Brooklyn Pride, DC pride and Jamaica Pride. Also making appearances on CTV, CP24, Bold TV, Rogers Nighttime & Daytime on Rogers, Casa Loma “Soul in the City”, Friday Night Live at the ROM.
His new single ‘River (Into You)’ was released last fall and is available everywhere.

 

We talked with Robert about:

  • his sources of inspiration
  • breaking out of typical pop song structures
  • getting the most from producers in the studio
  • how to communicate your musical ideas to your backing band
  • how personal events can shape your songwriting

www.Instagram.com/RobertBallMusic
www.Facebook.com/RobertBallMusic
www.Twitter.com/RobertBallMusic
www.Youtube.com/RobertBallMusic

Back row: Gerrod, Mike, Cecil, Christian, Linda, and Phil. Middle row: Ritah and Micah. Front row: Michael, Neel, and Vanessa. Whew!

One in the Chamber on their debut EP

Indie rockers One in the Chamber joined us following the release of their first studio EP, I’ve Got Something To Say…. We talked about:

  • One in the Chamber’s first appearance on Song Talk Radio
  • difference between their demo EP and their studio EP (hint: pre-production)
  • writing as a band collaboration
  • thwarting conventions around song structure
  • guitar solos: a good thing or a bad thing? (hint: it’s a good thing)
  • giving yourself permission to write a bad draft of a song
  • giving your songs the right titles

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics to follow along:

Itchin Back

The Ballad Of Captain Jack

Watch the live performance

Bruce, Vanessa, Pete, Michael, Neel, and Phil

Peter Eastmure and writing his dreams

Singer-songwriter Pete Eastmure grew up on a horse farm, on the side of Blue Mountain. Needing to find something else, Pete at a young age hitchhiked out to California and entered into a personal musical journey that forever changed him. Pete honed his craft of songwriting from many years of exploring musical genres like folk, pop and jazz, only to go back to the well spring of his country roots.

Pete just received, “Honourable Mention in American Songwriter Lyric Contest March / April issue.” American Songwriter Magazine 2019

As a recording artist, Pete has worked with some of Canada’s finest including John Switzer, Oliver Schroer, and cellist Rachel Mercer. The response to Pete’s last two albums, Songs for MeZZ (2012), and EASTMURE EP (2014) has been strong, co-produced by four-time Juno nominee Rob Teehan (Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Boxcar Boys, Heavyweights Brass Band), and generated positive plays on C.B.C. and campus radio stations. Pete has been described as “a genuine vintage Americana voice”.

Pete is back in the studio wearing his influences proudly on his sleeve, evoking Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams and The Drifting Cowboys spring to mind. Collaborating with producers James Paul of Rogue Music Lab, Burke Carroll pedal steel guitar virtuoso, the album, “Keep Your Love Steady” (2019), is a authentic, vintage journey to the heart of what matters.

Stuff we talked about:

Listen to the show:

 

Michael, Bruce, Sintja, Neel Linda, and Phil

Sintja Baba on her 1st EP

Singer songwriter Sintja Baba returned to share some songwriting tips.

Sintja fronts Toronto based band THE NAIVE on guitar/vocals/keys, and is the principle song writer. Last year they released their Debut EP “Saw The Sun” followed by single “My Guitar” in July of this year. They released their most recent music video for single “The Moon” off their Debut EP on Nov.19 shot & directed by Marlon Chaplin.

Listen to the show:

Stuff We Talked About:

 

 

Steven Taetz sharing jazz songwriting tips

Writing Jazz Standards: Songwriting Tips with Steven Taetz

Jazz songwriter Steven Taetz returns to talk about creating new “Jazz Standards”.

Listen to the show:

Stuff we talked about:


The Great American Song Book Buy The Great American Song Book 

Charts for The Great American Songbook
A “Fake Book” with just a lead line and the charts for the songs.

 

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

Julian Taylor – dual roots and great songs

Julian Taylor is a Canadian singer-songwriter formerly with the band Staggered Crossing. His songs have appeared in television series including Degrassi: The Next Generation.  He now fronts the Julian Taylor Band. Julian dropped by the studio with his daughter Ella. We talked about:

  • Skookum Music Festival, Vancouver
  • Basic core band members together for 24 years!
  • Music first or lyrics first?
  • Finding a “treasure chest” of memorabilia in the attic
  • New album called Avalanche
  • Checking the quality of the melody – whistle
  • Sweeter – unusual song structure, lots of Canadian references
  • Love Connection – cool structure
  • started writing songs at age of 4
  • Mohawk/West Indian musical background

Listen to the whole show

Dokter Nomi – writing the pop song

What a pleasure to have Dokter Nomi back in the studio to share his hooky pop tunes. This time, one of them was produced by our very own Neel Modi. During the show we talked about:

Listen to the whole show

Dokter Nomi’s lyrics

Dokter-Nomi-Party-in-NYC-Lyrics

Fallen-Star

Phil, Bruce, iLLvibe, Linda, Vanessa, and Neel

All about hip hop with iLLvibe

Toronto-based hip hop recording artist iLLvibe dropped by to share his music and his thoughts. Runner up to Drake for Toronto Rapper of the Year in 2016 and winner on “Canada’s Smartest Person” it was indeed an entertaining and informative hour!

We talked about:

Listen to the whole episode

Vanessa, Neel, Linda, Frank, Phil, and Bruce

All About Key Modulations with Frank Horvat

Good friend, manic composer, and musically big brained Frank Horvat joined us to talk all about key modulations, with three example songs. We talked about:

  • the difference between borrowing chords and modulation
  • chromatic alteration, where a single semi-tone difference can change the contour of your chord progression
  • referring to the circle of fifths to see modulation that are close or far from your base key signature
  • using pivot chords to bridge the gap between key signatures
  • key modulation between different sections of a song vs. repeating your last chorus as a modulation
  • modulating up vs. modulating down

Listen to the show

The song examples

Starman by David Bowie

Perfect Illusion by Lady Gaga

The Infanta by The Decemberists