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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.

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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.…

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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!)…

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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:

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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.…

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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?

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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.…

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Eric Walker, jazz/pop/blues fusion

Eric Walker is a singer/songwriter from Toronto and a member of the blakeley walker band. He was a founding member of the Toronto Songwriters Association which has met the second Saturday of the month for the past 17 years. We talked about:

  • playing Harry Belafonte songs on the ukulele
  • writing a song with 47 chords
  • master songwriting teacher Andy Krehm
  • composition teacher Gordon Dalimont
  • SONG – “Umbrella” – looking back at the beginnings of a relationship
  • SONG – “Renovations” – building and renovating love
  • short chorus – good or bad?

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Linda, Bruce, Vanessa, Allister, Sean, Dave, and Phil

Fathers Day Special with Allister Bradley and Sean Bertram

For a special Father’s Day episode, we invited father and son Allister Bradley and Sean Bertram to share their experiences working on music together and independently. Friend of the show Dave Miner filled in for Neel – thanks Dave!

We talked about:

  • Sean starting out with piano lessons, Guitar Hero and Rockband
  • Allister finding the balance between helping his son and keeping out of Sean’s journey as a songwriter and artist
  • The role of music teachers and how to find the right one
  • Starting a song with the bassline
  • Sean’s song Holes
  • Key modulating in your bridge

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics for I’m No Good for You and Still Wild

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Bruce, Linda, Angela, Vanessa, Phil, and Neel

Angela Saini: on preproduction, songwriting and being memorable

Singer/songwriter Angela Saini returns with a couple of great tunes and some pretty in depth talk about songwriting concepts.

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Stuff we talked about:

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Neel, Phil, Vanessa, and Bruce

Songs by the Hosts Special

For this special episode, each of the Song Talk Radio hosts shared one of their own songs for discussion. We talked about:

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The Songs

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Phil, Bruce, Avery, Vanessa, Linda, and Neel

How to manage your own career with Avery Florence

Avery Florence stopped by the studio on the cusp of her first tour. She was excited! “Road trip!” Her songs were a treasure trove of musical delight, and her tips about managing her own career were helpful to anyone trying to make a living as a singer/songwriter.…

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Bruce, Phil, Vanessa, Robert, Dave, Bob, Neel, and Anthony

Robert Priest, songwriting poet

Multi-talented Toronto poet, novelist, and singer/songwriter Robert Priest brought two great songs to the show. He also brought two talented musicians to back him up – guitarist and vocalist David Hines and guitarist Bob Cohen. We talked about a wide range of things including:

  • the difference between poetry and song lyrics
  • collaboration in song writing
  • song structure
  • work habits
  • breaking down the inner critic
  • “highway” songs
  • writing for children
  • a poem about John Lennon
  • Robert’s website

Watch the live performances

 

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Neel, Bruce, Patrick, Phil, Vanessa, and Anthony

Patrick Ballantyne’s Canadian song picks

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his favourite Canadian songs. “Help Me” by Joni Mitchell is a great example of her unique combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a casual conversational tone.…

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Vanessa, Bruce, Michelle, Phil, and Neel

Michelle Thibodeau moves from opera to pop

Michelle Thibodeau is a pop-folk singer/songwriter from Moncton, New Brunswick, now based in Toronto. She performed live for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (2012) and David Foster (June 2017) as well as recently playing the leading lady “Nancy” in a professional production of Oliver the Musical.…

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Bruce, Phil, Nolan, Raphael, and Neel

Nolan Hubbard and his happy summer tunes

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:

  • Douglas Romanow producer
  • Recording in Nashville
  • Organizing your own cross-Canada tour (with your Dad)
  • Metalworks recording studio and school – performance program
  • Covers on YouTube
  • “Today” – a call to action, no chorus, whistling, G to G Augmented, C to Cminor
  • Finding a publicist – Hype Music, Toronto
  • Collaborating vs.

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