pre-chorus

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/

Phil, Bruce, Gravely James (Chris), Vanessa. Linda, and Neel

Gravely James: Rockin’ the blues with soul

Blues-rock-soul singer-songwriter Gravely James shares his journey from a trumpet-playing kid to a kickin’ singer-songwriter. He also treated us to two incredibly energetic performances of his songs. We talked about:

Download the lyrics for Farewell Anita and Snapchat Lady

Listen to the whole show

Watch the live performances

Neel, Bruce, Melanie, Vanessa, and Phil

All about the pre-chorus

The show you’ve all been waiting for…or maybe that was just Neel. The Song Talk Radio Team tackles the subject of the pre-chorus; what it is, what it does for a song, and why have one? Singer/songwriter Melanie Peterson joined us to perform one of her songs as an example, “Been So Long.” To add a few more examples to the mix, Phil brought “Buddy Holly“, a short catchy tune by Weezer, Bruce brought Beige Shelter‘s latest release “Light Your Way” (by Adi Aman and Neel Modi), , and Neel presented “Head Like a Hole” by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

We talked about:

  • How the pre-chorus relates to song structure
  • How is a pre-chorus different from a bridge?
  • How it amps up the energy
  • How is the pre-chorus different from the verse and the chorus?
  • Neel and Adi’s co-writing process for Light Your Way – check out Neel’s blog post on this

Download the lyrics for:

Listen to the show

See the live performance

Dave, Patrick, Phil, Vanessa, and Bruce

Patrick Ballantyne – master songwriter

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his well-crafted songs. “Where Things Used to Be” is great example of the skillful combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a strong feeling of longing in the listener. Listen to the bridge in particular and the completely surprising chord on the word “dreams”. Patrick’s song “Plans” starts with a great line, “In California there are dates in the trees…” and connects to “dates on my calendar”. The message of a man who sees that he must change is both poignant and honest. As we discussed the tunes, we talked about:

  • “Hit-a-month” project
  • Having a manager
  • How tasty an E flat chord can be in the key of G
  • The use of “pause” in songwriting
  • Co-writing and collaboration
  • Ticket sales and merchandise (how to make money in music)
  • Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, FACTOR
  • Lifting a song through chord progressions
  • Natural or loads of experience?
  • Rhymezone.com for alternative rhymes

Listen to the show here

Phil, Bruce, Ashley, Vanessa, and Neel

Writing for others with Ashley Braga

Toronto and Mississauga-based singer-songwriter Ashley Braga joined us for two live performances and insights into her unique approach to songwriting. While most songwriters turn largely inwards to write, Ashley provides a service writing songs for other people, based on their relationships and emotions. Often the songs are for engagements, weddings, or funerals.

Other stuff we talked about:

  • writing from melodies and a central idea
  • the Ontario Conservatory of Music
  • Ashley’s childhood family experience in realizing how songs can move people
  • shifting from piano to guitar
  • how long is too long to write a song
  • how to use a cliche and get away with it
  • the tension between happy songs and gloomy songs
  • non-verbal communication as inspiration for songs about others
Phil's birthday with cake
It was also Phil’s birthday!

Listen to the whole show:

Download the lyrics for Believe and The Other Side.

Watch the live performances:

Back: Bruce, Melanie, Phil, and Neel. Front: Vanessa and Etain

Holiday Love Songs with Melanie Peterson

Saskatoon-born, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Melanie Peterson joined us again, this time with her original holiday-themed love songs. Melanie has been deemed “Mary Poppins with a broken heart” by the BBC and a “superb songwriter” by Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun. She was last on our show in 2015.

We talked about:

Listen to the whole show

Watch the live performance

Connect with Melanie

Eric Sorenson, Finding his Directions Home

Singer-songwriter and occasional co-host of Song Talk Radio, Eric Sorenson, returned to the show to showcase tunes from his upcoming EP, Directions Home, and a crowd-pleaser from his live shows.  Eric was joined by his bandmates Liz Jaremyn and Andrew Ages.

Stuff we talked about:

  • International Songwriting Competition (deadline extended to November 5)
  • IMSTA Festa Event  – October 17, 2015 at Ryerson University (say hi to Phil and Neel while you’re there!)
  • How to create a concept album
  • Is it a bridge or a pre-chorus? (Who cares? It sounds good!)
  • When your song may not need a chorus
  • When to consider a key change / modulation in your song

Be sure to support Eric’s indiegogo campaign to help him cover production expenses for his new album.