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Phil, Neel, Mike, and John

Tomato Tomato and How Writing Simple Songs Can Be Complicated

This week SongTalk welcomed John from Tomato Tomato to our virtual studio.

They just might be Atlantic Canada’s most entertaining musical duo. The New Brunswick based pair – John and Lisa McLaggan – have built a reputation on a live show that is as much about their on-stage charisma as their musical multi-tasking and vocal excellence.…

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Mike, Phil, Neel, Brendan, and Adrian

New Life to Old Songs with The Fugitives

This week SongTalk welcomed Brendan and Adrian from The Fugitives to our studio.

The Fugitives are a folk collective headed by songwriters Adrian Glynn and Brendan McLeod. They’re joined by banjo player Chris Suen (Viper Central) and violinist Carly Frey (The Coal Porters).…

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Neel, Mike, Phil, and Jay

Making Your Influences Your Own with Jay Gordon Wright

This week SongTalk welcomed Jay Gordon Wright to our show.

Jay a multi-instrumentalist songwriter and performer who has entertained audiences around the world. He is classically trained on violin, and has expanded his musical toolshed to include just about every instrument he can get his hands on.…

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Neel, Phil, and Mark

Writing Songs For A Living with Mark Cawley

This week SongTalk welcomed Mark Cawley to our (virtual) studio.

Mark Cawley is a hit songwriter, best selling author, in demand speaker, songwriting coach, and popular blogger. As a songwriter his songs have been on more than 16 million records to date – with a long list of cuts with legendary artists ranging from Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan, and Diana Ross to Wynonna Judd, Kathy Mattea, Paul Carrack, Billie Piper, Pop Idol winners, and The Spice Girls just to name a few.…

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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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Alex Cuba, Phil, Neel, and Mike

Making complicated sound simple with Alex Cuba

Canadian Juno and Latin Grammy winning artist, Alex Cuba joined us to talk about his songwriting process and perform a new song, Solo Mia, live on the show.

We talked about:

  • Alex’s first visit to Canada as part of his father’s band
  • How a melody-first way of songwriting tells Alex what the song is about
  • The differences between solo writing and collaborating with others
  • How to develop unique and rich chord progressions (hint: jazz)
  • Writing in Spanish vs English
  • How Alex’s playing style is unique to him, and why this is important – this applies to everyone!

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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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Don, Neel, Donna, Matt, and Phil

Donna Linklater: Songwriting and Composition, What’s The Difference?

This week SongTalk welcomed Donna Linklater to our studio.

Soprano and composer/songwriter Donna Linklater studied opera with Sylvia Richardson at Brandon University. Toward the end of her studies, she began to focus on new music and was especially taken with the aleatoric music of John Cage which gave her greater freedom of creative expression.…

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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, Steve, and Phil

Steve Koven – Play Piano, See The World

This week, SongTalk welcomed jazz pianist and teacher Steve Koven. Steve is a composer, performer, producer and educator. He has one of the longest standing trios in Canada, performing, touring and recording together for over 26 year. Aside from performing and recording with his trio – Steve Koven Trio – Steve also has other recording projects such as the Koven Collective and Koven & Law as well as Lazersuzan

We talked with Steve about:

  • his process for writing
  • how he communicates his song ideas to his bands
  • the touring opportunities available through consulates and embassies
  • where he finds inspiration for his music
  • what improvising can bring to songwriting

 

 …

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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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Neel, Michael, Ritah, Matthew, Phil, and Micah

Favourite Movie Soundtracks!

This week SongTalk welcomed our pal Matthew Reid to our studio to talk about movie soundtracks.

We chose our favourites and talked about why they made the cut and what were the runners up.

 

We talked about:

  • what are the criteria of soundtracks – are they a collection of songs from other sources, are they custom music made specifically for the film project or is there a grey area in between?

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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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