Bruce, Neel and Phil were all happy to have Patrick Ballantyne back in the Song Talk Radio studio for the third time. He always brings great songs (listen to “Make Believe” and “Sky” for proof) and lots of experience to share about the songwriting process for our listeners. When writing a song, he starts with the music – almost always on the guitar. For contrast, he has started writing on the piano where he has less competency and is forced to “keep it simple.” After writing solo for many years, he recently joined a group of collaborators and enjoyed the process.
Pianist, producer, and songwriter Andrew Seok stopped by and talked about the process of creating music for his new Musical “Echos”. Andrew Seok (also known as just SEOK) has written music for Television, Recording Artists, Movies, and pretty much everything including the music you hear when call a company and you’re put on hold. He began his career as a Musical Theatre singer and composer, moved onto Vocal Coach, then Singer / Songwriter, and finally TV / Film Composer and Record Producer / Mixing and Mastering engineer. Throughout his career he has worked with / for Jully Black, Jeff Healy, Feist, Raine Maida, and produced God Made Me Funky’s Juno nominated album.
We talked about:
- WHEN DOES IT LYRICS
- LIGHT LYRICS
- The Toronto Fringe
- Researching topics for Musicals
- Developing the musical’s story arc
- A great tip on making the mixing process smoother
Listen to the whole show:
Jeff Greenway returned to the Song Talk Radio studio to share his thoughts on song writing. His approach to writing is through a feeling, not a theory. This was amply demonstrated in the two songs he shared with us. The first, Cavalry, evoked the sadness and confusion you feel when a relationship just isn’t working any more. No one is coming to save the day and there’s nowhere to hide. The second tune, I Need describes the two opposing sides of possible reconciliation. Notice the lyric shift from “don’t come home” to “please come home”. We discussed:
- home recording with a good microphone and Logic
- background vocals
- the use of silence in a song
- chord substitution
- teaching music to children
Listen to the entire show here:
Have a listen to an informative and lively discussion on chord substitutions. In this show we talked about:
- the Circle of Fifths
- Nashville numbers
- one/four/five chord progressions
- the sixth, seventh, and ninth chords
- how easy it is to use the Circle of Fifths to add colour to your song
- Chord Substitution on YouTube
- Learning on lynda.com (at your local library)
Songtalk Radio welcomed multi-talented artist The Sun Harmonic (aka Kaleb Hikele) back to the studio for a second sharing of his song writing skills. “Born (I Have Awakened)” is a stream-of-consciousness, spiritual/traditional style a capella song that captures the losses we all endure as we grow up. “When the Well Runs Dry” switching from 4/4 to 2/4 and back again, prompted lots of discussion among the hosts about its meaning. Here’s a hint – it’s something all writers fear – have a listen! “I Will Sleep Again” was written on a long commute and sung into a cell phone. Its powerful bridge near the end is just one of the highlights of this song.
Neel Modi is a multi-talented songwriter, drummer and keyboardist with an eclectic collection of recordings from the quirky to the imaginative. On this show, he presented “Depend on Me” – based on a challenge to write a song about a car accident from the brake pad’s point of view – it’s a “brake-up” song ;-), and “Nature’s Lullaby”, a collaboration with singer/songwriter Sonja Seiler, a touching poetic take on the interconnection between all things in the natural world. The third song was “I Never Write Her a Song”, a catchy response to a request from Neel’s spouse. She loves it!
We also talked about:
Jeff Alan Greenway, backed by Cheryl Beatty on guitar and vocals, rocked our little studio with some powerful piano chops and heartfelt sounds. With a background in piano, jazz improvisation, cover and original bands, Jeff draws on his relationships to inspire his song writing. Whether it’s a call for closeness (Open These Doors), an on-again, off-again affair (No More Hellos), or a bitter missive to a friendship that always ends up in conflict (Eye for an Eye), Jeff’s songs grab you by the heart and won’t let go. Have a listen!
The very talented Kaleb Hikele stopped by during his tour and played some great tunes, even one written for a wedding.
Some stuff we talked about:
- working on pushing your limits
- playing for weddings
- strategies for lyric writing
- passing chords
Sonja talks about her arguably turbulent past with regard to the Canadian Art Song. The guys comment on her strong melodies, powerful imagery, and beautiful songs.
Neel and Peter talk about their collaborative approach of jamming out songs, Neel on piano/keys and Peter with either pre-written or spontaneous lyrics. Neel’s funky and evocative keyboard parts and thoughtful arrangements combined with Peter’s compelling, intense lyrics and unique singing style has resulted in some eclectic music.