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Neel, Phil, Mike, and Melanie

Writing From The Heart with Melanie Peterson

BBC Radio has called Melanie, “Mary Poppins with a broken heart” and that is just part of her appeal. Besides her beautiful voice, Melanie is a terrific songwriter with lots of great songs to prove it. Her tune “Christmas Breaks My Heart” was a finalist in the Great American Songwriting Contest.…

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Mike, Neel, Phil, and Dokter Nomi

How To Write Songs (if you don’t play an instrument)

This week SongTalk welcomed Doktor Nomi to our studio.

Admittedly Nomi is not a real doctor but he does have a unique and interesting way of creating music. As a topliner and lyricist, Nomi frequently works with other collaborators to create his music.…

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Neel, Phil, and Mike

Our Listeners’ Songs – what you are writing

This week SongTalk featured a few songs from our listeners. And it was loads of fun.

We chose three of our listeners’ songs to take a closer listen to.

Stuart Cook – near Manchester, England penned a delightful song inspired by the view from a hill near his home.…

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Neel, Mike, Vanessa, and Phil

Remembering John Prine

On this episode we are talking about the great John Prine. This American treasure, perhaps a modern day Mark Twain, a peerless songwriter and chronicler of the lives of regular folk sadly passed away recently – one of the many victims of the Covid 19 pandemic.…

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Neel, Mike, and Phil

The Best Songs Have Only 3 chords

This week on SongTalk we look at a simple songwriting technique that may be more complicated than you think – songs with one chord progression.

That’s right, no guest this week just the SongTalk team – Phil, Neel and Mike – talking about the ways songs with just one series of chords repeated over and over have become huge hits.…

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Neel, Mike, Blair, Don, and Phil

Keeping It Real with Blair Packham

This week SongTalk welcomed our old friend Blair Packham to our studio.

The Toronto-based artist, first gained attention for his work with ’80’s power pop band The Jitters. He is now an acclaimed solo artist and musician. Blair released two strongly-reviewed solo albums before shifting his focus to composing music for TV and films, teaching songwriting at the post-secondary level and in numerous special event workshops, and co-hosting a long-running major market weekly radio show about music (“In the Studio” on the BellMedia talk radio network).…

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Neel, Ritah, Mike, Lexi, Jon, Don, and Phil

How Featurette add emotion to Electro-Pop

This week SongTalk welcomed FEATURETTE to our studio.

The Toronto-based duo FEATURETTE, formed by singer Lexie Jay and drummer, Jon Fedorsen, makes emotionally-charged, heavy-hitting electro-pop music that has been met with international critical acclaim.

After receiving their first full recording grant from FACTOR Canada, the duo released their debut LP CRAVE in October, 2016.…

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Mike, Neel, Don, Vanessa, and Phil

It’s a Christmas Extravaganza!

 

This week SongTalk welcomes… Christmas into our studio.

For our Xmas Eve show, we all brought in our favourite Christmas songs and had a good chat about what makes them so great. Featuring some classics and some new songs that you may not have heard before.…

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Mike, David, Ritah, Neel, Don, and Phil

David McLachlan: That Nashville sound.

This week SongTalk welcomed David McLachlan to our studio.

David McLachlan is a prolific songwriter with 7 albums released, one in the can, for release next Aug 2020. Several years ago David ventured to Nashville to record with some stellar A-list players.…

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Neel, Ritah, Adi, Mike, Ahmed, and Phil

Beige Shelter: How To Write Within A Band

Beige Shelter is an ambitious and eclectic five piece band from Toronto that brings fire, passion and a political conscience to their music. Through electrifying live performances, the band showcases both original songs and interesting twists on cover songs. Beige Shelter is currently working on their 2nd EP release.…

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Neel, Michael, Vanessa, and Phil

Songs by the Hosts: how we wrote ’em

For this host’s show, Michael, Neel and Phil brought in a song each and discussed how we wrote and some cool approaches in the songs. AND, Vanessa was in the house!!! What a fun episode!

Listen to the Episode

What we talked about

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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.…

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Matthew Reid: Music Composition – Live, recorded and improvisational

This week SongTalk welcomed Matthew Reid to our studio. Matthew is a critically acclaimed, award winning composer for film, television, games and theatre. His funny songs have delighted almost a million people during his tenure as composer for Toronto’s world famous Second City comedy theatre.…

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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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Phil, Michael, Patrick, Vanessa, Linda, and Neel

Patrick Ballantyne: An album of longing

This week Song Talk welcomed Patrick Ballantyne back to our studio. Patrick is a veteran songwriter and musician who has worked with many top-selling artists such as The Trews, Meredith Shaw and Big Sugar.

On this episode, Patrick brought in a few songs from his upcoming new release so our Song Talk audience got to hear the premieres of two tracks – Vicious in Your Vanity and Beneath Your Skin.…

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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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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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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

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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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Vanessa, Bruce, David, Richard, Phil, Neel, and Linda

Collaborating for the Good Stuff: Richard Hunting & David Meirovich

Songwriter Richard Hunting and songwriter guitarist David Meirovich met at the Songwriters Meetup and started to work together.

Listen to the show:

What we talked about:

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