melody

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/

Michael, Ritah, Robert, Phil, Micah, and Neel

Robert Ball: Giving Voice To The Personal

This week SongTalk welcomed Robert Ball to our studio.

A native Torontonian, Robert Ball is a multi-faceted singer who has traveled to and performed in over 60 countries around the world.
His sound has been described as soulful, jazzy, Neo-soul and he is a much in-demand session singer. Most recently he toured his EP “Need” & single “Breathe” throughout Toronto, New York and many PRIDE circuits including Brooklyn Pride, DC pride and Jamaica Pride. Also making appearances on CTV, CP24, Bold TV, Rogers Nighttime & Daytime on Rogers, Casa Loma “Soul in the City”, Friday Night Live at the ROM.
His new single ‘River (Into You)’ was released last fall and is available everywhere.

 

We talked with Robert about:

  • his sources of inspiration
  • breaking out of typical pop song structures
  • getting the most from producers in the studio
  • how to communicate your musical ideas to your backing band
  • how personal events can shape your songwriting

www.Instagram.com/RobertBallMusic
www.Facebook.com/RobertBallMusic
www.Twitter.com/RobertBallMusic
www.Youtube.com/RobertBallMusic

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

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. His comedic musical, The Second City Guide to the Symphony was has been performed by top orchestras across North America since 2014.

As a film composer, he recently won several awards as a composer collaborating with Tim Burton’s producer, Derek Frey on the multiple award-winning film, Green Lake.

Currently he’s completing the score for the 9/11 feature doc, No Responders Left Behind, constantly creating production music tracks and finding a little time to compose classical chamber music.

We talked with Matthew about:

  • being SecondCity’s musical director
  • ways to challenge yourself as a composer
  • what is involved in scoring a film
  • how to take a new approach to classical music
  • making recorded music samples sound realistic
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:

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

Neel, Bruce, Clem, Linda and Phil

The organized chaos that could only be White Cowbell Oklahoma

BEHOLD! The triumphant latest release – Seven Seas of Sleaze – from Canada’s legendary rock armada White Cowbell Oklahoma – now in it’s 20th glorious year!

WITNESSETH! The 70s-inspired boogie-prog army’s seventh full-length release, featuring seven blistering tracks, brought to you by seven heavily-perspiring musicians.

CRY OUT WITH JUBILATION! Two brand new studio tracks – “Into the Sun” and “Harder Come, Harder Fall” – that blast off into varying realms of rootsy-yet-spacy, guitarmony-laden grandiosity and stoner rock minimalist-maximalism.

We’re now speaking with White Cowbell Oklahoma bandleader/spokesman/lead alchemist, Clem C. Clemsen.


The guys at Song Talk Radio couldn’t understand half of what our guest was talking about, but when he randomly cries out, “It puts the lotion in the basket!” you know you’re in for some genius level talk about songwriting (sort of) and being in a crazy, over-the-top band (the stories are likely true, but we’re still conferring with our legal team).

Listen to the whole show

Download the lyrics

Into the Sun

Harder Come Harder Fall

Vanessa, Bruce, Michael, Linda, Ashley, Neel, and Phil

Writing Songs for Children with Ashley Braga

Singer-songwriter and Music Educator Ashley Braga came to visit us again on the tails of her first album for children, Ladder to the Moon. The album features traditional children’s songs with Ashley’s own twists, and totally original songs as well. Ladder to the Moon was produced by Song Talk Radio’s own Neel Modi.

We talked about:

  • how songwriting for children is different than adult audiences
  • how you should never underestimate children; they can appreciate sophistication and complexity too
  • using nature and animals in your lyrics
  • the silliness factor in children’s songs
  • the power of pretending and imagination for children
  • referring to the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency to find out if a song is in the public domain

Listen to the show:

Download the lyrics and follow along:

Ladder to the Moon

I am a Tree

Watch the live performance:

The Amazing Christmas Song Draft

For our special holiday show we dipped into the vast treaure trove of holiday songs. You’ll hear everything from Run DMC‘s Christmas in Hollis to Frank Loesser‘s Baby it’s Cold Outside. Plus Joni Mitchell, Bing Crosby, David Bowie, Vince Guaraldi, John Prine, and Christmas carols too. Have a listen and see if we picked any of your favourites! From all of us here at Song talk Radio, Happy Holidays and a wonderful 2019!

Listen to the entire show