point of view

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.

Taylor is on the verge of a breakout moment in a promising career. After creating a spontaneous performance opportunity on the conference floor of Canadian Music Week, Taylor was contacted by Grammy-winning producer and engineer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Carly Simon, David Bowie, Michelle Branch & many more), who wanted to produce & develop Taylor. Now close to the release of his debut record of original songs, Eddie describes Taylor as ‘A true artist, and songwriting genius’.

We were very excited to have Taylor drop by so we could catch up and hear  his talent for ourselves.

 

Writing Better Lyrics – Pat Pattison

FangBone cartoon. theme song by Taylor

Todd and The Shadows on YouTube

Nick Lowe – Cruel To Be Kind

 

Gigging on trains with Sarah Hiltz

Listen to the show:

Sarah Hiltz is a contemporary folk artist based in Toronto. Her current project has her researching the ways Canadians experience, express and suppress anger in modern society, especially women, and creating a song cycle in response.

Sarah’s last album, Beauty In The Blue, compiled songs and stories culled from her multiple journeys across Canada as a travelling musician on VIARail’s passenger train, “The Canadian”. Beauty in the Blue features lush, nuanced vocals and jazz-influenced songwriting.

Sarah has independently released three full-length albums and two EPs since 2009. Her work over the last decade as a talented singer-songwriter has landed her opening slots for Canadian icons Gordon Lightfoot and Ron Hynes, Top 3 placement in a nation-wide music competition (She’s The One), a Best Folk Album nomination (Toronto Independent Music Awards) and earned her an invitation to give a TEDx talk in 2014.

What we talked about:

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

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
Phil, Michael, Patrick, Vanessa, Linda, and Neel

Patrick Ballantyne: An album of longing

This week Song Talk welcomed Patrick Ballantyne back to our studio. Patrick is a veteran songwriter and musician who has worked with many top-selling artists such as The Trews, Meredith Shaw and Big Sugar.

On this episode, Patrick brought in a few songs from his upcoming new release so our Song Talk audience got to hear the premieres of two tracks – Vicious in Your Vanity and Beneath Your Skin.

We talked with Patrick about:

  • the origins of the songs on his new album
  • the difficulty of writing lyrics
  • his collaboration with Colin MacDonald from the Trews
  • how to organize songs for an album
  • the way lyrical inspiration changes as the songwriter ages
  • Patrick-Ballantyne-Lyrics
  • Patrick Ballantyne on WikiPedia
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:

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

Linda, Neel, Bruce, Michael P, Michael Thorner, Vanessa, and Phil

Michael Thorner turns a webcast into an album

Toronto singer/songwriter Michael Thorner dropped by the studio for a chat about his music. He brought two catchy tunes from his recent webcast/album release The ehMTee Show; Don’t Let it Go and Point Edward Fair. We talked about:

The Lyrics

Don’t Let It Go

Point Edward Fair

The Links

Facebook

Soundcloud

Spotify

Get the DVD

Listen to the whole show

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

Kayt, Bruce, Amanie, Neel, Vanessa, and Linda

Songwriting across nations and cultures with Amanie Illfated

South Sudan-born, Toronto-based indie fusion singer, model and writer Amanie Illfated joined us to talk about her songwriting journeys across nations and cultures. Guest host and singer-songwriter Kayt Lucas filled in for Phil – thanks Kayt! We talked about:

  • Amanie’s journey from Regina to Toronto at age 16
  • blogging and modelling as they apply to songwriting
  • trance vs. pop
  • the use of melodrama and operatic aspects
  • the influence of a multi-cultural Toronto on Amanie’s music
  • using different languages in your lyrics
  • connecting emotionally with your audience
  • setting and achieving goals in life, but also appreciating the process of getting there

Listen to the show:

Download the lyrics and follow along!

Letter to Myself

You Me