female singer

Neel, Vanessa, Bruce, Shelly, Phil, and Raphael

Shelly Peiken – writing the hit song

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:

  • Shelly’s new book Confessions of a Serial Songwriter – Shelly Peiken
  • predicting a hit
  • co-writing
  • how the business has changed
  • the birth of a hit song (“Bitch”)
  • using well-known chord progressions
  • moving to Los Angeles when it was the centre of music writing
  • writing for Christina Aguilera

Listen to the whole show here

Lyrics are here…

Bitch

Who-You-Are

Watch the live performances here…

Phil, Bruce, Brighid, Carmen and Vanessa

Brighid Fry: Songwriting with multiple collaborators

Teenaged singer-songwriter Brighid Fry joins us to talk about her many collaborations and solo songwriting processes. Singer-songwriter Carmen Toth filled in for Neel – thanks Carmen! We talked about:

  • the challenges of being a teenaged singer-songwriter
  • collaborating in different bands
  • songs written for placement in TV, movies, etc
  • are perfect rhymes overrated?
  • Regina Spektor
  • how to write the hook in a song

Download the lyrics for Cool-Cruel and Alarm

Listen to the show

Bruce, Brandon, Belinda, Sintja, Phil, Vanessa, and Neel

Sintja Baba – songwriting with a band’s support

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:

  • Jazz program at University of Toronto
  • longterm song development
  • songwriting as expression of longing
  • Brazilian music influences
  • theory versus intuition
  • keyboard as cello

Listen to the whole show here:

Saw The Sun lyrics: saw-the-sun-lyrics

Dirty Streets lyrics: dirty-streets-lyrics

Artist website:
www.thenaivemusic.com

Twitter:
www.twitter.com/sintjababa

Facebook:
www.facebook.com/thenaivemusic

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6qOAVsw-qknKN5ZDGxqycg

SoundCloud / MySpace:
www.soundcloud.com/thenaivemusic

Sherry. Bruce, Jenny, Phil, Nicole, and Neel

Bridging classical and modern idioms with Jenny Perez

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

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics for Mr. Tinder

Watch the live performances

Connect with Jenny

http://jenniferperezmusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Perez-Music-1426411830986082/

Vanessa, Bruce, Andrew, Phil, and Lora

Pop songwriting with feeling with Lora Ryan

Pop singer-songwriter Lora Ryan joined us with her guitarist Andrew Scott to share two songs and talk about her songwriting process.

Singer/songwriter Lora Ryan is poised to make some noise in the independent music scene. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, she recently relocated to the Hollywood of Canada: Toronto, Ontario. Lora draws on personal experience to pen her lyrics, which can only be described as original and emotionally driven, sometimes angry, often angst-ridden, but always heartfelt and honest. “My world revolves around music,” she emphasizes.

We talked about:

  • writing poems with melodies = songs
  • using open mics, instagram and facebook for networking
  • articulating the end consonants of your words
  • finding the right tempo when performing live
  • moving your story forward through the verses
  • why you should have a great opening line
  • the relationship with your producer as a co-songwriter
  • Factor grants
  • Lora’s songwriting workshops at Songwriter Sundays

Download the lyrics for the songs:

Tough Love

Now or Never

Listen to the whole show

Thank you to our live tweeting listeners!

Sharon Airhart

Heather Spratt

Connect with Lora

Artist website:
http://www.loraryan.com

Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/loraryan

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/loraryanmusc

YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/loraryanmusic

 

Neel, Bruce, Melanie, Vanessa, and Phil

All about the pre-chorus

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.

We talked about:

  • How the pre-chorus relates to song structure
  • How is a pre-chorus different from a bridge?
  • How it amps up the energy
  • How is the pre-chorus different from the verse and the chorus?
  • Neel and Adi’s co-writing process for Light Your Way – check out Neel’s blog post on this

Download the lyrics for:

Listen to the show

See the live performance

Phil, Vanessa, Stacey, Bruce, and Neel

Waxing poetic with Stacey Dowswell

Singer-songwriter Stacey Dowswell joined us to talk about her literature-inspired and poetic take on songwriting with two original songs, Ties that Bind and Wax Wings. We talked about:

  • Poetic vs. more straight forward lyrics
  • How to add complexity to a simple 1-4-5 chord progression
  • How to incorporate a cliche
  • Contrast and space
  • Using dynamics in your performance
  • The benefits of noodling around to start a song

Check out Stacey’s EP release show at The Painted Lady in Toronto on June 15, 2017!

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics for Ties that Bind and Wax Wings.

Watch the live performance

Connect with Stacey

Artist website:
http://www.staceydowswell.com

Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/staceydowswell

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/StaceyDowswellMusic/

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP0H6OEQCUyg1Fq3rXe7doA

Joel, Phil, Carmen, Emily, and Bruce

Doin’ that Blues Thang with Emily Mac

Emily Mac is a singer-songwriter and a regular at our Songwriter’s Roundtable Meetup. She joined us with piano player Joel to perform and talk about two of her songs, Back to the Rhythm and When It’s Gone. Special guest host Carmen Toth filled in for Neel. We talked about:

  • how learning to play an instrument helps to ground your accapella writing
  • why it’s good to be the stupidest person in the room (when collaborating)
  • how songwriting is like working a muscle
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Muscle Shoals
  • Carmen’s (best ever) explanation for millennial whoops in pop songs: “You have to write lyrics that a drunk person can sing”
  • opportunuties for changes through lyrics, arrangements, and musical centres
  • why you should hold back if you’re a strong singer

Listen to the whole show:

Connect with Emily:

Website

Instagram

Twitter

youTube

Facebook

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

Writing for others with Ashley Braga

Toronto and Mississauga-based singer-songwriter Ashley Braga joined us for two live performances and insights into her unique approach to songwriting. While most songwriters turn largely inwards to write, Ashley provides a service writing songs for other people, based on their relationships and emotions. Often the songs are for engagements, weddings, or funerals.

Other stuff we talked about:

  • writing from melodies and a central idea
  • the Ontario Conservatory of Music
  • Ashley’s childhood family experience in realizing how songs can move people
  • shifting from piano to guitar
  • how long is too long to write a song
  • how to use a cliche and get away with it
  • the tension between happy songs and gloomy songs
  • non-verbal communication as inspiration for songs about others
Phil's birthday with cake
It was also Phil’s birthday!

Listen to the whole show:

Download the lyrics for Believe and The Other Side.

Watch the live performances: