guitar

Vanessa, Michael, Ritha, Taylor, Phil, Micah, and Neel

Making the most of your voice with Taylor Abrahamse

This week, professional singer/songwriter, voice actor & co-founder of Silverthorn Studios recording, Taylor Abrahamse joined us in the studio at SongTalk World Headquarters.  Taylor was a Top 40 finalist on Canadian Idol, has performed on stages across Ontario, has also written & produced musicals, and music for animated series and viral internet music through Corus, DHX & Super Planet Dolan.

Taylor is on the verge of a breakout moment in a promising career. After creating a spontaneous performance opportunity on the conference floor of Canadian Music Week, Taylor was contacted by Grammy-winning producer and engineer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Carly Simon, David Bowie, Michelle Branch & many more), who wanted to produce & develop Taylor. Now close to the release of his debut record of original songs, Eddie describes Taylor as ‘A true artist, and songwriting genius’.

We were very excited to have Taylor drop by so we could catch up and hear  his talent for ourselves.

 

Writing Better Lyrics – Pat Pattison

FangBone cartoon. theme song by Taylor

Todd and The Shadows on YouTube

Nick Lowe – Cruel To Be Kind

 

guitar piano graphic

Learning an Instrument for Songwriting: What You Need To Know

There are many benefits to your musicianship when you learn and master playing an instrument. You increase coordination, cognitive skills that include better memory, and create a higher level of social awareness. 

The piano works as a wonderful starting point for most musicians, as it provides a good base in music theory, and it helps make identifying chords and key signatures a much easier task. But the guitar also provides an equally solid foundation for learning chords and is utilized just as frequently with songwriting. There are numerous advantages to learning and knowing how to play one of these instruments if you write songs. No matter which avenue you select, picking one of these classic instruments will undoubtedly assist and grow your songwriting abilities. 

Read more

Neel, Ritah, Robert, Michael, and Micah

Robert Cross: Leading With Lyrics

This week SongTalk welcomed Robert Cross to our studio.

Robert Cross was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He started playing guitar at 14, just so he could learn how to write songs. Cross is the singer and guitarist of the original rock band Satin, who released their first album Drop Dead Gorgeous in 2019. Cross has branched out into other musical genres as well, having written songs for other southern California acts such as the pop-punk band Aim for the Heart and Country-rock artist David Bucci.

We talked with Robert about:

  • starting a song with the title
  • writing in your car
  • making the most of your “orphans” – leftover song fragments
  • how to communicate your musical ideas to your backing band
  • how the sound of words can lead to creating melodies

https://twitter.com/Satin_band

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV9r0g5z7XBu2OrCqF7taJw

www.instagram.com/satin_sounds/

Vanessa, Micah, Neel, and Phil

Songwriting for Beginners

We talked tips and tricks for beginner songwriters. Our producer Vanessa and techie Micah also joined in the conversation. Some of the stuff we covered included:

  • Our Rocketman movie pre-screening contest
  • How Phil and Neel got started on songwriting, and the challenges they faced
  • Get yourself a decent guitar to start on (or a ukulele!)
  • Basic melody development
  • The benefits of collaboration
  • Writing from a title, or a poem
  • How to take apart your favourite songs
  • How practice makes perfect better
  • How to finish songs
  • Writing a bad first draft, because you won’t be awesome right away
  • Vanessa’s post about stuff she’s learned on the show
  • We won a spot on FeedSpot’s Top 20 Songwriting Podcasts!

Listen to the show

Back row: Michael, Blair, Linda, Neel, and Phil. Front row: Ritah and Micah

This Is Spinal Tap: 35 Years Later

This week SongTalk Radio has a special episode celebrating the 35th anniversary of the classic film, “This Is Spinal Tap”. And joining us in our trip down memory lane is one of our favourite guests on the show Blair Packham. We talk about where and when we first encountered this classic cult comedy and how true it was to our own experiences in the music business (hint: very!)

On this episode, Neel, Phil, Michael and Blair talk about:

  • how the film was made
  • what has made the movie so popular many decades later
  • our favourite Spinal Tap moments
  • why this early mock-umentary was so influential
Bruce, Neel, Blair, Vanessa, Linda, and Phil

Blair Packham: From song inception to development

One of our favourite guests and friend of the show Blair Packham returned to the show to share his song ideas, from titles to bits of songs, and how he develops them into full-fledged songs.

We talked about:

Listen to the show:

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, Angela, and Linda

Angela Saini: Writing and collaborating on her new album

Angela Saini returned to Song Talk Radio with a new album and a fresh bunch of earnest and optimistic songs.

We talked about:

  • Structured vs. casual collaborations
  • When should an artist make a trip to Nashville?
  • Making a personal connections to songs you’re performing, even if you didn’t write them totally by yourself
  • Live performance vs studio recording
  • Using a “weirdo” chord change for the bridge of your song
  • Should melody trump the natural shape of the language in your lyrics?

Listen to the show:

Download the lyrics to follow along:

Black Sheep

My Once Upon a Time

Michael, Bruce, Neel, Vanessa, and Phil

Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie review

Did you love the new movie Bohemian Rhapsody? Hate it? Something in between? Listen as Bruce, Neel, Phil, Michael, and Vanessa let loose! Hear their takes on the Bryan Singer helmed Queen/Freddie Mercury biopic released in late 2018. While they found much to criticize, they had a few raves too.

Listen to the whole show!

The 1st Annual Holiday Gift Guide: Great Gifts for Songwriters

With the holiday season just around the corner, we decided to help you out with some great gift ideas for songwriters and musicians in your life. We put them into four categories:

  1. Stocking Stuffers ( 0 – $15)
  2. Small Gifts ($15 – $100)
  3. Good Gifts ($100 – $300)
  4. WOW! Gifts ($300+) (the, gee if I only had a super-generous someone who had money to burn…)

Our suggestions ran the gamut from a cool Christmas tree ornament (under $15) to a Bob Dylan model Gibson guitar (WAY over $300).

So have a listen. It’ll make your holiday shopping a happier tune.

Listen to the whole show