point of view

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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Gigging on trains with Sarah Hiltz

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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”.…

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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.…

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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

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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.…

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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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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:

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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.

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Neel, Phil, Vanessa, and Bruce

Songs by the Hosts Special

For this special episode, each of the Song Talk Radio hosts shared one of their own songs for discussion. We talked about:

Listen to the show

The Songs

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Phil, Bruce, Avery, Vanessa, Linda, and Neel

How to manage your own career with Avery Florence

Avery Florence stopped by the studio on the cusp of her first tour. She was excited! “Road trip!” Her songs were a treasure trove of musical delight, and her tips about managing her own career were helpful to anyone trying to make a living as a singer/songwriter.…

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Vanessa, Bruce, Michelle, Phil, and Neel

Michelle Thibodeau moves from opera to pop

Michelle Thibodeau is a pop-folk singer/songwriter from Moncton, New Brunswick, now based in Toronto. She performed live for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (2012) and David Foster (June 2017) as well as recently playing the leading lady “Nancy” in a professional production of Oliver the Musical.…

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Neel, Bruce, Erik (Scrape), Phil, and Vanessa

Industrial music according to Scrape

The Song Talk Radio team of Bruce, Neel, and Phil received an education in Industrial music with Eric Scrape. Here’s some of what you can learn by listening to the show:

Have a listen right here!

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Phil, Vanessa, Neel, Etain, and Bruce

Leonard Cohen, the late great Canadian troubadour

What can you say about the exceptionally talented poet, novelist, and prolific singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen.that hasn’t already been said? Well, the Song Talk Radio action team didn’t worry about that. Bruce, Neel, and Phil simply dove into their memories and had a close look at three of his many, many songs.…

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Dan Edmonds making it up in the moment

The Song Talk Team had the distinct pleasure of spending an hour with the very talented and original singer/songwriter Dan Edmonds. His fresh takes on music and how it’s made were both illuminating and engaging. He played two of his intriguing recordings – “Love Can Be a Tunnel” and “To Be That Needle”.…

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The unusual world of songs with unusual lyrics

For this special theme show, each of the hosts presented a song with “unusual” or hard-to-decipher lyrics. We delved into a discussion around understanding the intentions behind and interpreting the songs. Download the lyrics here: Unusual Lyrics

  • Neel’s selection: A Self Called Nowhere by They Might Be Giants
  • Bruce’s selection: McArthur Park by Jimmy Webb (performed by Donna Summers)
  • Janice’s selection: Paranoid Android by Radiohead

We talked about:

  • The notion that once your song is released to the world, it’s no longer yours and open to multiple interpretations
  • Check out www.songmeanings.com to read user interpretations of songs
  • What is the purpose for communicating a story through unusual, hard-to-decipher lyrics?

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Getting (not so) personal with Faaria

Faaria was one of our first guests on Song Talk Radio (check out her first episode) and she joined us once again with new songs about relationships, where none of them are autobiographical (or so she claims).

Stuff we talked about:

  • writing from different point-of-views
  • relationship songs
  • how practicing songwriting can affect the enjoyment of listening to other songs
  • progressing the story or idea from verse to verse
  • spicing up chords using the Circle of Fifths
  • the value of collaboration and playing around with songwriting suggestions

Download the lyrics for Faaria’s songs.…

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Letting songs steep with Carmen Toth

Carmen Toth / Social Potion joined us for the second time to talk about a new song, and an older one, both of which are appearing on her upcoming album.

Stuff we talked about:

  • writing lyrics first, songs first, or improvising on the fly during a jam/collaboration
  • journalling / creating a “lyrics bank”
  • starting a song from an emotion
  • marketing to promote other artists
  • memorable titles in the world of singles
  • working with a producer to focus the song structure and strengthen commercial appeal
  • writing universal, relatable lyrics
  • using a bridge to bring a new perspective into the song

Download Carmen’s lyrics for the show.…

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The art of songwriting with The Sun Harmonic

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.…

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