ideas

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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Linda Lavender on song development

Singer/songwriter Linda Lavender shares the story of her song They Won’t Catch Me Again. Follow her journey from it’s birth on a five-hour road trip to its studio recording. We talked about:

  • Linda’s album The Rosseau Sessions with Often Running
  • Bluegrass music
  • Influencers like Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, Alison Krauss
  • People on the run, rebels, a female protagonist

Listen to the whole show

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Vanessa, Bruce, Frank, Phil, and Michael

Frank Horvat and music for Human Rights Defenders

Award-winning and critically-acclaimed composer, songwriter, pianist, music educator and frequent Song Talk Radio guest, Frank Horvat returned to the show to talk about his latest project, The Thailand HRDs. Frank wrote 35 two-minute compositions for string quartet, where each movement was written for a Human Rights Defender in Thailand as part of photographer Luke Duggleby’s compelling photo essay.,…

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Neel, Mike MacInnes, Michael Proudfoot, Vanessa, Linda, Bruce, and Phil

5-Year Anniversary Spectacular!

For our 5-year anniversary, we visited moments past and our favourite bits. Song Talk Radio Superfan Mike MacInnes joined us (for the 5th time!)

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Some of our favourite theme shows:

Some of our favourite guest shows:

We talked about:

  • How to write lyrics that are specific but open enough to allow the listener in
  • The distance between being inspired to write a song and developing it with craft
  • What the heck is polytonality?

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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, Phil, Michael, Norm, Sherry, and Bruce

Harpin’ Norm: songwriting with a harmonica

Virtuoso harmonica player and singer-songwriter Harpin’ Norm Lucien joined us to talk about two of his songs and why you need many, many harmonicas, ideally on a Batman-style utility belt. Sherry Jacoby filled in for Neel – thanks Sherry! We talked about:

  • how to write simple songs that are also nuanced and have substance
  • starting your songs with the chorus or the title
  • how to incorporate sing-alongs in your performances
  • our How to Approach the Media episode

Listen to the whole show:

Download the lyrics for I Wish I was the Strongest Man and Strong Enough for Love

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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?)

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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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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?

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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:

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The Songs

 

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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”.…

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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?

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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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Vanessa, Bruce, Rachel, Phil and Neel

How to write songs with a looper pedal with Rachel Raditz

The very talented singer-songwriter and improvisational artist Rachel Raditz brought one song to Song Talk Radio that she had written previously. The other she made up on the spot in the middle of the program. “Back in Hali” about a friendship that might be more set in Halifax had an unconventional  structure and a melody that grabbed us by the ears.…

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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?

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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!…

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Dave, Patrick, Phil, Vanessa, and Bruce

Patrick Ballantyne – master songwriter

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his well-crafted songs. “Where Things Used to Be” is great example of the skillful combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a strong feeling of longing in the listener.…

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Neel, Sarah, Charlotte, Vanessa, Phil, and Patrick,

Commanding pop songwriting with the Command Sisters

Young pop sensations the Command Sisters (Charlotte and Sarah) joined us to talk about writing as a sibling duo and working with producers. Patrick Ballantyne filled in for Bruce.

We also talked about:

  • how to write a 2-chord song
  • the musical Book of Mormon
  • whether to repeat lyrics in each chorus
  • the challenge of writing direct lyrics vs.

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