ideas

Adi, Bruce, Linda, and Neel

Songs about mental health

It was Canadian Mental Health Week‘s 66th year and we thought we’d put a spotlight on songs that talk about the challenges of maintaining mental health.

This year’s hashtag is #getloud.

For this special show, we had guest host Adi Aman from Beige Shelter, and four songs that talk about mental health.

We talked about:

  • Beige Shelter’s mental health advocacy song, Light Your Way
  • Song Meanings, a great site to see others interpretations of popular songs
  • suicide
  • addiction
  • the role of music and art in mental health
  • Loving Vincent
  • Oliver Sacks and his work with Alzheimer patients and the power of music

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics for the show to follow along:

The songs

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

Robert Priest – how to write songs for children

We had the pleasure of having the prolific Toronto poet, novelist, and singer/songwriter Robert Priest (with David Hynes on guitar) back in the studio to share a couple of his children’s songs. We talked about…

  • testing a song on a 6-year old
  • moving from writing for adults to writing for children on the same day
  • chord choices for children
  • writing for younger and older children (the differences)
  • kids deserve quality songwriting
  • Inchworm” (an old favourite)
  • repetition in kids’ songs
  • using words that kids will have to look up (why not?)
  • the work habits of a prolific writer
  • Gilbert and Sullivan style (The Ships of Bath)
  • do you have to have kids to write for children?

Listen to the whole show

Robert-Priest-Lyrics

Watch the live performances

Phil, Neel, Vanessa, and Bruce

The 2017 Year End Wrap-Up Show!

Join the gang as we go over our favourite bits of the last year and lots more stuff!

We talked about:

Listen to the show:

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. Includes a great instrumental hook. Patrick’s other pick was a song by Ian and Sylvia, “The French Girl”, in a very unusual version recorded by Gene Clark. As we discussed the tunes, we talked about:

  • Patrick’s new album – “Calendar”
  • Hearing songs of yearning at the age of 13
  • Joni Mitchell’s unique vocal style
  • adding a 2/4 bar in a 4/4 song
  • When the root chord is a 7, it creates tension
  • Led Zeppelin

Listen to the show

Bruce, Neel, Vanessa, Phil, and Anthony

Halloween Special

The next time Halloween will occur on a Tuesday will be in 2023, so we were supernaturally possessed to take advantage of the freaky intersection and dig up some Halloween themed songs for this show.

But first, the important stuff. Since this is radio, we figured Halloween costumes were in order. Phil showed up as the classic Frankenstein’s Monster, Neel just kept with his usual weekday morning look as a corporate zombie, Bruce donned a pretty (scary) tiara to complete his princess outfit, and Vanessa came in dressed like a sushi, because, well, she digs sushi.

We also welcomed our newest team member, Anthony, who will be taking over technical duties next week. Glad to have you aboard, Anthony!

Listen to the show

The Songs

Download the lyrics / sheet music for:

Kaw-Liga

Halloween Parade

I Put A Spell On You

Stranger Things Theme

We talked about:

Bruce, Ed, Phil, Vanessa, and Neel

Ed Roman a Canadian original

Ed Roman is an award-winning singer/songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist from Shelburne, Ontario, Canada.  Blurring the lines between pop, rock, folk, and country music genres, Ed’s uniquely crafted songs have received regular rotation on more than 100 terrestrial radio stations across North America and more than 400 stations, worldwide. On this program we had some lively discussions about:

  • What is “Canadiana”?
  • Being human and the influence of family on songwriting
  • Music as a way to deal with dyslexia
  • Forming a band at the age of 14 and writing original tunes
  • Lyrics have many meanings for the listeners (good!)
  • Emotions in the performance
  • Protest songs – what happens behind the scenes?
  • Holding onto unresolved chords versus fulfilling expectations

Download the lyrics

The Way She Goes

I Told You So

Listen to the whole show

Watch the performances

Neel, Bruce, Stephen, Vanessa, and Phil

Book Writing for Musicals with Stephen Witkin

Stephen Witkin joined us again to talk about his career writing the book for various musicals, and shared three songs resulting from his writing.

We talked about:

  • The difference between “On Broadway” and “Off Broadway”
  • Prom Queens Unchained available from Samuel French
  • different sub-genres in musicals
  • the nature of collaboration between book writer, lyricist, and composer
  • what’s an “I Want” song?
  • what the heck is underscoring?

Download the lyrics for the songs.

It was also our very own Bruce’s birthday! Happy birthday Bruce!

Listen to the show

Blair, Phil, Neel, Vanessa, and Bruce

Blair Packham and two of his favourite songs

For this special episode, good friend of the show Blair Packham (frontman of The Jitters, co-creator of Song Studio), brought in two of his favourite songs and together we dove deep into each song. We talked about:

Listen to the show

The Songs

 

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