production

Neel, Vanessa, Bruce, Shelly, Phil, and Raphael

Shelly Peiken – writing the hit song

Multi-platinum hit songwriter Shelly Peiken, has written songs for, and with, Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban, Celine Dion, Cher, Reba McEntire, Christina Aguilera, Meredith Brooks, Britney Spears, Natasha Bedingfield, NSYNC, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Idina Menzel and Demi Lovato. Shelly Peiken is also a successful author who has written a book detailing her experiences in songwriting – “Confessions of a Serial Songwriter”. Shelly shared two songs with us – “Bitch” and “Who You Are”. Here are some of the things we discussed:

  • Shelly’s new book Confessions of a Serial Songwriter – Shelly Peiken
  • predicting a hit
  • co-writing
  • how the business has changed
  • the birth of a hit song (“Bitch”)
  • using well-known chord progressions
  • moving to Los Angeles when it was the centre of music writing
  • writing for Christina Aguilera

Listen to the whole show here

Lyrics are here…

Bitch

Who-You-Are

Watch the live performances here…

Neel, Raphael, Amir, Phil, Vanessa, and Bruce

Pop songwriting with Amir Brandon

Pop music singer-songwriter Amir Brandon joined us to talk about two of his upcoming songs, working with producer Thomas McKay, and the stories behind his songs.

We also talked about:

  • Collaborating with other songwriters
  • Battle Royale: grammar vs. lyric vs. meaning vs. melody
  • How to write a really long chorus
  • Chord choices and mixing up major, minor, and 7th chords
  • Last week’s show on non-verbal hooks
  • Doing cover songs on youTube
  • The competitive nature between Eddie Murphy’s and Freddie Mercury’s music careers (aka Phil’s faux-pas)
  • Narrative and longing through the seasons in Waiting for Summer

Download the lyrics for Amir’s songs Diamonds Rain and Waiting for Summer.

Listen to the show

Phil, Bruce, Bob, Vanessa and Neel

Bob Wiseman on pushing your songwriting envelope

Producer, composer and Blue Rodeo founder, Bob Wiseman stopped by to share tips on pushing your songwriting approach to get out of a songwriting rut.

Listen to the episode here:

Some stuff we talked about:

 

 

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!

 

Neel, Sarah, Charlotte, Vanessa, Phil, and Patrick,

Commanding pop songwriting with the Command Sisters

Young pop sensations the Command Sisters (Charlotte and Sarah) joined us to talk about writing as a sibling duo and working with producers. Patrick Ballantyne filled in for Bruce.

We also talked about:

  • how to write a 2-chord song
  • the musical Book of Mormon
  • whether to repeat lyrics in each chorus
  • the challenge of writing direct lyrics vs. abstract lyrics
  • when editing, do you change the lyrics or the melody?

Download the lyrics for the songs, Back To You and Low Profile.

Listen to the show

Watch the live performances

Connect with the Command Sisters

Command Sisters website

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

youTube

The ambient sounds of Louis Moon

Moody, original and unexpected are three words that describe the song writing of Louis Moon.

He started his musical life when he took piano lessons at age seven. Three years ago, influenced by Korean Hip Hop artists, he began to create his own beats. More recently he added lyrics and his own voice to the mix. On this program you’ll hear two Louis Moon songs; “With You” and “Morrissey Love”. We talked about:

Follow the lyrics here:

With You by Louis Moon

Morrissey Love by Louis Moon

Listen to the program here:

Creating Lyric Sheets that Don’t Suck

I hope you’re not like me and just keeping all your songs just in your head, It’s a bad habit I’ve developed over the years and one I’m still working against.

I’m especially bad at writing my lyrics down, which is surprising considering how bad I am at writing lyrics. You’d think I would want to capture anything that comes out after many hours of frustrating work.

We get to see a lot of lyrics here at Song Talk Radio. Every guest submits lyrics to us before they appear on the show and we use them as a way of notating what we like, etc. And although everyone seems to have a different approach, they almost all have some critical omissions.

They won’t make you famous if they can’t contact you

The Free Lyric Sheet Template (link’ed below)

The biggest mistake we see is the lack of any kind of contact information on lyric sheets. You never know where you lyrics will wind up (perhaps someone will come across your amazing words in a year or two and want to give you truck-loads of cash, which would suck it they can’t get in touch with you), so you want to make sure that you have all your contact info on the sheet visible – it will also make legal ownership of the song a bit easier to confirm in the future. (Here’s a bit of trivia for you: at one time in the US, if you published a song without a copyright notice, it was considered to be in the Public Domain.)

You’ll obviously want to include your name and/or your band name, a phone number and an email address as everything is done vie email these days (even scheduling phone calls!).

Also, include your website if you have one. If you only have a Soundcloud page, simply purchase a cheap domain name from one of our favourite domain sellers, and just point your new domain name to your Soundcloud page. If, in the future, you want to use a different service to showcase your work — perhaps you’ll have your own website by then or just offer you music on iTunes — you can change where the domain points to – all your old lyric sheets will remain accurate.

AND, since you now have your own domain name, use your domain’ed email on your lyric sheets (so if you have the “MaryMarksRocks.com” domain, create an “info” or “[email protected]” and auto-forward it to your Gmail or present email service. If, in the future, you change from Gmail to some other mail service, just change where your “marymarksrocks.com” email forwards to.

Getting your own domain is super simple and stupid cheap. The company I use for such a thing is easyDNS.com. They’re based in Toronto, the president is a great songwriter himself,  they are an all around dependable company and have been around since the 90s’.

Ensuring you get paid

If you’re in Canada, you might as well register your songs with SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada – no, I can’t figure out how they came up with SOCAN either ). Registering your songs is free and is always a good habit to get into, This brings in the next most important part. Read more

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. Bruce brought the poetic Bird on a Wire (1969), Neel shared the dark and foreboding Everybody Knows (1980’s), and Phil had us pay attention to one of Cohen’s last recordings, the prescient Leaving the Table (2016).

Have a listen!

Writing the emotional gamut with Beige Shelter

Indie rock band Beige Shelter stopped by to talk about forming the band, producing their first album, and performed two songs. Our very own Neel Modi took the co-guest seat as producer, drummer, and co-writer. A good friend of Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne filled in for Neel’s host spot.

Beige Shelter is:

  • Adi Aman – songwriter, vocals, rhythm guitar, ukulele, harmonica
  • Neel Modi – producer, percussionist, co-writer on Colours
  • Tom Kuczynski – bass guitar
  • Karan Sabharwal – lead guitar (absent)

We talked about:

  • Adi’s first appearance on Song Talk Radio over two years ago
  • Where the band name came from
  • Adi’s approach to capturing a wide range of emotions with his yin-yang philosophy of songwriting
  • Neel’s approach to producing the album – check out his blog post on this
  • Playing with your key signature to find the sweet spot for your vocals
  • Where you can listen to Beige Shelter’s debut album, Rumours we make, paths we take

Listen to the whole show:

Watch the live performances:

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”. We talked about:

  • improvising lyrics in the recording studio
  • letting the listener make their own meaning from the words
  • the two-chord song
  • the fun and challenge of touring
  • finding management

Here’s the show. Have a listen!