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. Her most recent single “Checkmate” (Oct 2016) was played nation-wide on CBC and Michelle is currently working on her third album of original music. At the age of 16, Michelle began writing songs on both guitar and piano, and 10 years later it is still her primary passion. For more information on her upcoming releases and performances in the GTA and the Maritimes, visit michellethibodeau.ca.
The always surprising, risk-taking, gear-shifting, soul-belting Oh Chays are beholden to no single genre. Currently writing and recording their second album, The Oh Chays are a husband and wife duo raised on trad jazz, rockabilly, gospel, and the Detroit radio of the 70’s and 80’s. Consistently wowing audiences with their versatile musicianship, songwriting, and razor-sharp wit, The Oh Chays are not to be missed live.
Since their inception in 2014, The Oh Chays have racked up an impressive list of accomplishments winning the Canada South Songwriting Competition in August 2017 for their song The Glass, competing in the 31st Annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee, and reaching the finals of the Toronto Blues Society’s talent search with their song Big Old World.
- Working on music as a married couple
- Getting a full band sound with a duo
- Looping percussion
- Making it as full-time musicians
- Send in your suggestions for the song titles
- Canadian Songwriting Competition
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For this special episode, good friend of the show Blair Packham (frontman of The Jitters, co-creator of Song Studio), brought in two of his favourite songs and together we dove deep into each song. We talked about:
- Blair’s new album Unpopular Pop
- Specificity and universality in lyrics and storytelling
- An episode of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History: King of Tears about why country songs make us cry
- Songs as vehicles for social commentary
Listen to the show
- Good Ole Boys TAB
- Desperados Waiting For A Train TAB
Teenaged singer-songwriter Brighid Fry joins us to talk about her many collaborations and solo songwriting processes. Singer-songwriter Carmen Toth filled in for Neel – thanks Carmen! We talked about:
- the challenges of being a teenaged singer-songwriter
- collaborating in different bands
- songs written for placement in TV, movies, etc
- are perfect rhymes overrated?
- Regina Spektor
- how to write the hook in a song
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Singer/songwriter Nolan Hubbard, originally from Gananoque, Ontario, brought us some summer sunlight through his stories and two of his catchy, tuneful songs – “Today” and “Sandbanks”. In this informative and entertaining program we talked about:
- Douglas Romanow producer
- Recording in Nashville
- Organizing your own cross-Canada tour (with your Dad)
- Metalworks recording studio and school – performance program
- Covers on YouTube
- “Today” – a call to action, no chorus, whistling, G to G Augmented, C to Cminor
- Finding a publicist – Hype Music, Toronto
- Collaborating vs. writing on your own
- “Sandbanks” – lots of lyrics, variations, tempo changes, instrumental bridge
Up and coming singer-songwriter and Humber College music student Sean Bertram joined us to talk about his education and his chord-based approach to songwriting. Blair Packham subbed in for Phil – thanks Blair! And welcome to Raphael, our new technical and audio specialist – welcome to the team!
We talked about:
- why bother making an album anymore
- writing as a hopeless romantic
- why do we ( as humans) write songs?
- writing outside typical “campfire chords“
- developing lyrics based on your chord choices
- conversational storytelling: rhyme schemes and writing two verses before hitting the chorus
- Song Studio
- using falsetto in your songs
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Watch the live performances
The very talented singer-songwriter and improvisational artist Rachel Raditz brought one song to Song Talk Radio that she had written previously. The other she made up on the spot in the middle of the program. “Back in Hali” about a friendship that might be more set in Halifax had an unconventional structure and a melody that grabbed us by the ears. Rachel’s powerful and original voice brought made the song engaging throughout. Her second song featured completely improvised lyrics, melodies, and harmonies, was sung acappella using a loop device to surprising and entertaining effect.
We talked about:
- Loopers and Looping
- Bob Guido
- Jacob Moon
- Staying in the moment
- Frippertronics (looping with 2 tape recorders)
- BOSS RC 330 Looper Pedal
- Michael Jackson Demo’s
- Acting processes and songwriting
Have a listen to the complete show here:
Pop singer-songwriter Lora Ryan joined us with her guitarist Andrew Scott to share two songs and talk about her songwriting process.
Singer/songwriter Lora Ryan is poised to make some noise in the independent music scene. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, she recently relocated to the Hollywood of Canada: Toronto, Ontario. Lora draws on personal experience to pen her lyrics, which can only be described as original and emotionally driven, sometimes angry, often angst-ridden, but always heartfelt and honest. “My world revolves around music,” she emphasizes.
We talked about:
- writing poems with melodies = songs
- using open mics, instagram and facebook for networking
- articulating the end consonants of your words
- finding the right tempo when performing live
- moving your story forward through the verses
- why you should have a great opening line
- the relationship with your producer as a co-songwriter
- Factor grants
- Lora’s songwriting workshops at Songwriter Sundays
Download the lyrics for the songs:
Listen to the whole show
Thank you to our live tweeting listeners!
Connect with Lora
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
Kirk Felix arrived at our little studio with a whole band; bass, violin (fiddle), and cajon. As we did our sound check the Song Talk crew all savoured the gentle, soothing and heart-warming sounds of a folk ensemble. Patrick Ballantyne sat in for Neel Modi who was on assignment. In addition to two very authentic folk songs (Dusty Roads and Whispering Peace), we talked about:
- Family focus and finding time for music
- Songwriters’ Cafe Roundtable
- Fat Albert’s open mic in Toronto
- Open mics in York Region
- Winterfolk Festival
- Gordon Lightfoot
- Authentic voice, honest music
- Personal or universal writing?
- Folk versus country
- Enunciation, pronunciation – being understood
- Chord substitutions