BBC Radio has called Melanie, “Mary Poppins with a broken heart” and that is just part of her appeal. Besides her beautiful voice, Melanie is a terrific songwriter with lots of great songs to prove it. Her tune “Christmas Breaks My Heart” was a finalist in the Great American Songwriting Contest.…
This week we were saddened by the passing away of guitar icon Eddie Van Halen. We talked about his amazing talent and some more stuff.
We talked about:
- Mandolin Orange cover version of Bob Dylan’s Boots of Spanish Leather, and songs with two different points of view (thanks to Jeff from Michigan for the email)
- Did Eddie Van Halen invent the two-handed tapping technique for electric guitar?
Neel plays a track off his latest EP with special guest Lexie Jay from local TO Duo, Featurette.
Ace Symmetry is Neel Modi’s experimental EP of progressive electro-pop. Odd time signatures and nonsensical lyrics are combined with inventive beats, cool synth sounds, and catchy keyboard solos to create a unique and fun sonic experience.…
This week Song Talk Radio welcomed Gilbert Neal to our studio.
A master song craftsman, Gilbert Neal – on his latest release Mistakes of Memory shows the depth and diversity of his influences: Leonard Cohen, Pink Floyd, ELO, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Stephen Sondheim.…
Canadian Juno and Latin Grammy winning artist, Alex Cuba joined us to talk about his songwriting process and perform a new song, Solo Mia, live on the show.
We talked about:
- Alex’s first visit to Canada as part of his father’s band
- How a melody-first way of songwriting tells Alex what the song is about
- The differences between solo writing and collaborating with others
- How to develop unique and rich chord progressions (hint: jazz)
- Writing in Spanish vs English
- How Alex’s playing style is unique to him, and why this is important – this applies to everyone!
Jeff returns to our show to talk about scoring for films and how you can start on your own journey. From Pickering, Ontario, he has written music for film, worked as a session keyboard player, orchestrator and arranger in Toronto, and has released his own original album Great Expectations, which received airplay across Canada.…
Song Talk Radio is happy to welcome our good friend Blair Packham to the studio. This episode, Blair is talking about his songwriting and the latest songs that he is working on. In fact, he will preview one of the songs he is considering for his new collection/album.…
Michael talks about what it’s like being an established musician but being a beginner at home recording.
Actor, playwright, filmmaker, and musician, Michael Louis Johnson has lived in Toronto since 1990. He spent seven years as right-hand man to Big Rude Jake; he blowed-up on the silver screen in cult hit Bride of Chucky and was himself a principal subject of 2010 documentary, A Different Path.…
One of our favourite guests drops by to give practical advice on performing. Blair Packham – songwriter, teacher, performer and 80’s hitmaker – talks about the best practices to entertain and present your songs to an audience, live or on-line.
Blair also shows off his dulcimer, which is very impressive.…
This week on SongTalk we look at a simple songwriting technique that may be more complicated than you think – songs with one chord progression.
That’s right, no guest this week just the SongTalk team – Phil, Neel and Mike – talking about the ways songs with just one series of chords repeated over and over have become huge hits.…
For our first podcast while in self isolation, we talked about things we can do as songwriters while in isolation :).
We talked about:
- Taking the Song Talk Meetup online – stay tuned for details on April’s meetup
- The We Should Write Sometime app
- Frank Horvat’s project: Music for Self-Isolation
- Neel’s working on productions for Melanie Peterson
- Phil and Neel working on re-mixes for Mike’s song from our Songwriting Challenge
- Resources for rhyming: B-Rhymes and Rhyme Zone – don’t forget about our episode on rhymes with Blair Packham!
This week SongTalk welcomed our old friend Blair Packham to our studio.
The Toronto-based artist, first gained attention for his work with ’80’s power pop band The Jitters. He is now an acclaimed solo artist and musician. Blair released two strongly-reviewed solo albums before shifting his focus to composing music for TV and films, teaching songwriting at the post-secondary level and in numerous special event workshops, and co-hosting a long-running major market weekly radio show about music (“In the Studio” on the BellMedia talk radio network).…
This week SongTalk welcomed FEATURETTE to our studio.
The Toronto-based duo FEATURETTE, formed by singer Lexie Jay and drummer, Jon Fedorsen, makes emotionally-charged, heavy-hitting electro-pop music that has been met with international critical acclaim.
After receiving their first full recording grant from FACTOR Canada, the duo released their debut LP CRAVE in October, 2016.…
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
This week singer-songwriter and Hamilton Arts Award for Emerging Artist winner (2019) Alex Whorms joined us to talk about her sophomore EP, Burgundy, and two of the songs.
We talked about:
- FACTOR grants and Canada’s Music Incubator (check out our episodes on grants and music royalties)
- how long to take to get to the chorus
- finding the right amount of instrumental activity when you’re singing
- how Alex always gets through the skeleton of a song right away when writing
Listen to the show
Download the lyrics to follow along:
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.…
This week SongTalk welcomed Jeff Alan Greenway to our studio.
Greenway is a film composer, singer/songwriter and pianist from Pickering, Ontario. He has written music for film, worked as a session player, orchestrator and arranger, released his own original album “Great Expectations” and wrote the score to the international documentary The Secret Life Of Frogs, which won a Nature award at the Cannes Media and TV festival.…
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.…
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.…
There are many Government Grants out there that can help you expand your songwriting career. The unstoppable team of Frank and Lisa Horvat stopped by and shared some fantastic tips to get funding for your musical projects.
- Factor (THE FOUNDATION ASSISTING CANADIAN TALENT ON RECORDINGS
- Following up
- how to find who is offering funding
- It takes a few tries
- Ontario Arts Council
- Getting PR episode “How to approach the Media & get Results”
- Canada Council for the Arts
- How to write grant applications
- Don’t Give Up!
Indie rockers One in the Chamber joined us following the release of their first studio EP, I’ve Got Something To Say…. We talked about:
- One in the Chamber’s first appearance on Song Talk Radio
- difference between their demo EP and their studio EP (hint: pre-production)
- writing as a band collaboration
- thwarting conventions around song structure
- guitar solos: a good thing or a bad thing?
Emmanuel Lopez, the Social Media Wingman, stopped by to share tips on how songwriters can use Social Media to boost their brand and build their career.
Stuff we talked about:
- What channel to focus on
- Jeff Lynne’s ELO on instagram
- The Fostex 280 Recorder
- Defining what we think “Success” is
- Songs_IN-THE-FILM_Emmanuel-Lopez lyrics
- Songs_RAIN-OF-ANGELS_Emmanuel-Lopez lyrics
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.…