working with producers

Neel, Michael, Steve, and Phil

Steve Koven – Play Piano, See The World

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

 

 …

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Neel, Alex, Micah, Michael, and Phil

Bridging classical and pop music with Alex Whorms

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:

Too Many Love Songs

Birds

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Vanessa, Michael, Ritha, Taylor, Phil, Micah, and Neel

Making the most of your voice with Taylor Abrahamse

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.…

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Neel, Michael, Ritah, Matthew, Phil, and Micah

Favourite Movie Soundtracks!

This week SongTalk welcomed our pal Matthew Reid to our studio to talk about movie soundtracks.

We chose our favourites and talked about why they made the cut and what were the runners up.

 

We talked about:

  • what are the criteria of soundtracks – are they a collection of songs from other sources, are they custom music made specifically for the film project or is there a grey area in between?

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Phil, Micah, Jeff, Ritah, Michael, and Neel

Creating Soundtracks with Jeff Alan Greenway

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.…

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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.…

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Michael, Ritah, Robert, Phil, Micah, and Neel

Robert Ball: Giving Voice To The Personal

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.…

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Vanessa, Micah, Neel, and Phil

Songwriting for Beginners

We talked tips and tricks for beginner songwriters. Our producer Vanessa and techie Micah also joined in the conversation. Some of the stuff we covered included:

  • Our Rocketman movie pre-screening contest
  • How Phil and Neel got started on songwriting, and the challenges they faced
  • Get yourself a decent guitar to start on (or a ukulele!)
  • Basic melody development
  • The benefits of collaboration
  • Writing from a title, or a poem
  • How to take apart your favourite songs
  • How practice makes perfect better
  • How to finish songs
  • Writing a bad first draft, because you won’t be awesome right away
  • Vanessa’s post about stuff she’s learned on the show
  • We won a spot on FeedSpot’s Top 20 Songwriting Podcasts!

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College Radio: How Do I Get My Music Played?

This week SongTalk welcomed Adriel Smiley to our studio. Adriel is the Music Director of CJRU – Ryerson’s Radio station – and Adriel brought a wealth of information about college radio and the best way musicians can get their music played on these stations.…

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Back row: Michael, Alon, Ivan, Neel, and Phil. Front row: Ritah and Micah.

Audio Insurgency on video game music, pop music, and well, everything music

Audio Insurgency returned to the show to talk about a boat load of music stuff, as well as showcasing two of their pop songs. We talked about:

  • Vox’s Earworm videos, in particular the one in support of fade-outs in recordings
  • Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast episode about country music, The King of Tears
  • writing and placing music for video games
  • getting your songs into placement for TV or movies
  • the role of the producer in the creation of songs for maximum impact
  • writing a song completely in the digital realm (Abelton Live, in this case)
  • why deadlines are a good thing

Listen to the show

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Back row: Michael, Blair, Linda, Neel, and Phil. Front row: Ritah and Micah

This Is Spinal Tap: 35 Years Later

This week SongTalk Radio has a special episode celebrating the 35th anniversary of the classic film, “This Is Spinal Tap”. And joining us in our trip down memory lane is one of our favourite guests on the show Blair Packham. We talk about where and when we first encountered this classic cult comedy and how true it was to our own experiences in the music business (hint: very!)

On this episode, Neel, Phil, Michael and Blair talk about:

  • how the film was made
  • what has made the movie so popular many decades later
  • our favourite Spinal Tap moments
  • why this early mock-umentary was so influential

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Back row: Gerrod, Mike, Cecil, Christian, Linda, and Phil. Middle row: Ritah and Micah. Front row: Michael, Neel, and Vanessa. Whew!

One in the Chamber on their debut EP

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?

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Michael, Bruce, Angela, and Linda

Angela Saini: Writing and collaborating on her new album

Angela Saini returned to Song Talk Radio with a new album and a fresh bunch of earnest and optimistic songs.

We talked about:

  • Structured vs. casual collaborations
  • When should an artist make a trip to Nashville?
  • Making a personal connections to songs you’re performing, even if you didn’t write them totally by yourself
  • Live performance vs studio recording
  • Using a “weirdo” chord change for the bridge of your song
  • Should melody trump the natural shape of the language in your lyrics?

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Linda Lavender on song development

Singer/songwriter Linda Lavender shares the story of her song They Won’t Catch Me Again. Follow her journey from it’s birth on a five-hour road trip to its studio recording. We talked about:

  • Linda’s album The Rosseau Sessions with Often Running
  • Bluegrass music
  • Influencers like Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, Alison Krauss
  • People on the run, rebels, a female protagonist

Listen to the whole show

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Neel, Linda, Bruce, Avery, Vanessa, and Phil

Blending Jazz and Soul with Avery Raquel

Teen-aged jazz/soul superstar Avery Raquel joined us to talk about moving from covers of jazz standards to her own blend of jazz and soul to better connect with her audience. We talked about:

  • Jazz standards by Chet Baker, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra
  • Listening to songs analytically
  • Tension and release in a song (and how Avery is amazing at it)
  • “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus” – or not?

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Dokter Nomi – writing the pop song

What a pleasure to have Dokter Nomi back in the studio to share his hooky pop tunes. This time, one of them was produced by our very own Neel Modi. During the show we talked about:

Listen to the whole show

Dokter Nomi’s lyrics

Dokter-Nomi-Party-in-NYC-Lyrics

Fallen-Star

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Neel, Bruce, Dahlia, Vanessa, Phil, and Linda

DAHLIA, long-term views on writing songs

Songwriter DAHLIA stopped by after her tour in India to talk songwriting.

Listen to the episode:

What we talked about:

Download the lyrics

DREAMLOVA-LYRICS-D.FERNANDES
BROKEN-DAHLIA-LYRICS

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Kayt, Bruce, Amanie, Neel, Vanessa, and Linda

Songwriting across nations and cultures with Amanie Illfated

South Sudan-born, Toronto-based indie fusion singer, model and writer Amanie Illfated joined us to talk about her songwriting journeys across nations and cultures. Guest host and singer-songwriter Kayt Lucas filled in for Phil – thanks Kayt! We talked about:

  • Amanie’s journey from Regina to Toronto at age 16
  • blogging and modelling as they apply to songwriting
  • trance vs.

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Bruce, Linda, Angela, Vanessa, Phil, and Neel

Angela Saini: on preproduction, songwriting and being memorable

Singer/songwriter Angela Saini returns with a couple of great tunes and some pretty in depth talk about songwriting concepts.

Listen to the full show

Stuff we talked about:

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