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:
The ever lovely and talented (and what a voice!) Janice Ho, Song Talk Radio’s very own tweeting songbird, talked about two early collaborations she worked on and what to look out for when collaborating. Download the lyrics for the show.
We talked about:
- Muse Songwriters forum – a great online community to meet other lyricists and songwriters and collaborate on songs
- Janice’s song interpretation exercise
- Melody development and Melody in Songwriting by Jack Perricone
- Transitions between song sections
- Why sometimes you should reinterpret your song in a Motown style (according to Phil)
Listen to the complete show:
We don’t usually talk about Artist promotion in the Song Talk Radio Newsletter. You can find lots of places on the web that cover that.
But we do see a lot of submissions so we see all the different levels of “promotional” abilities in artists – and some could really use a few pointers.
Understanding your target
The people you want to reach in the music or news industries are pretty busy folk. They’re constantly bombarded with random pitches of varying quality. They’re not going to spend 15 mins trying to decipher a vague description or your artist photo to figure out what you do. You need to be clear and grab them quickly – otherwise it’ll just be the circular file cabinet with your submission. They have a ton of other things on their desks.
1) Building your Arsenal
The first step is to spend a bit of time getting some basic marketing pieces together. Once you have it all ready to go, it’s easy to jump on any opportunities that pass your way. Meet a reporter for a local newspaper? Get his email and send them your description and photo when you get home.
These pieces would be
- Artist Promotional Photos
- Artist Description
- Marketing Materials (so printed junk)
Today, we’ll cover Artist photos.
So, where do I get off telling you all this stuff?
I’ve been working in advertising and design for far longer than I’d like to admit, and have worked with countless photographers on countless projects. Some successful, others less than fully, um, “satisfying” lets say. So you’ll get to learn from my mistakes.
It’s the person behind the camera that counts
Technology these days is incredible. The difference between a consumer level camera, pro-sumer and professional camera is less now than its ever been in the past. Ironically, this makes the actual person behind the camera more important now than ever.
Back in the day, there were quite a few photographers that were in fact not very good. But they were cheap, and had some high-end equipment so there was a good-sized market for them: customers needing photography but couldn’t really tell if what they were getting was good or not. I know – I spent countless hours trying to take their out-of-focus, poorly framed work and make it into something usable.
These days, the person behind the camera is key, and believe me, the ones who are great are truly, truly magic.
The awesomely talented former recording engineer Bob Guido shared some absolutely mesmerizing sounds with the Song Talk Radio audience. With his guitar and effects he played Letting Go, a dreamy instrumental which showcased Bob’s mastery of melody and form. His second tune Wake Up Call featured Bob’s vocals and lyrics in a haunting arrangement that called for more love in the world. Some of the topics that came up included:
- El Capistan echo box
- WET reverb box
- Brian Eno
- ambient music
- making lyrics sound musical (phonetics)
- Groove Salad – Internet station for ambient music
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
Pop singer and songwriter Jade Naraine talks about taking her career into her own hands by finding her own producer and how to make sure its the right fit.
Old friend of the show Dokter Nomi came by and we talked about his unique way of writing songs, working with producers and amassing over 42,000 twitter followers!
Some stuff we talked about:
Producer extraordinaire (Sinead O’Connor, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Alison Moyet, Dexys Midnight Runners, Talking Heads, The Pogues, Bob Geldof, Mel Brooks, Siedah Garrett, Steve Earle, Ali Amran, Alain Chamfort, René Lacaille, Talitha Mac Kenzie, etc) and songwriter guitarist Chris Birkett talks about his searching for the ins and outs of the creative process.