working with producers

Neel, Bruce, Andy, Vanessa. Phil, and Anthony

Where metal, folk, and soul meet with Andy De Rego

Andy De Rego, also known as Black Suit Devil, is a seductive blend of acoustic soul with thought provoking lyrics and heartfelt, soulful melodies. Andy has been a regular in Toronto’s rock, blues and metal music scenes for over twenty years, writing and performing across North America. Andy joined us to talk about:

  • stealing borrowing from Black Sabbath if you’re going to start a metal band
  • how Andy’s lyrics pull from the political, “fight the man” attitude of metal
  • Andy’s song Blind Man, a song about corporate control and injustice – download the lyrics
  • Short songs vs. long songs (hint: Andy writes long songs with a lot of tension)
  • the daily grind of being a full-time musician, and where to find good paying gigs
  • Andy’s song Fumbledownload the lyrics
  • how to separate the verse from the chorus
  • the great debate of enunciating every word in your vocal performance, or not

Listen to the show

Watch the live performance

Vanessa, Bruce, Michelle, Phil, and Neel

Michelle Thibodeau moves from opera to pop

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.

Download the lyrics

Checkmate

Easy Target

Listen to the whole show

Watch the live performance

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, Jef, Bruce, Vanessa, Phil, and Raphael

Keeping it short & sweet with Jef Leeson

Playing multiple instruments & writing songs since his mid teens, Jef eventually succumbed to a music career in his early 20s. 2½ years in he joined the backing band for the multiple award winning CCMA duo of the year, Tim Taylor & Anita Perras. By the mid 1990s Jef became founding member & lead singer/bassist for the popular eastern Ontario trio, Ambush. Following the height of their popularity, Jef turned to solo work, both on stage and in the studio. Still doing the do, he’s currently preparing his next album, ‘Topic of the Day’ and performing throughout southern Ontario.

What we talked about

Contact Jef

Listen to the show

 

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

Bruce, Phil, Nolan, Raphael, and Neel

Nolan Hubbard and his happy summer tunes

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

Here are the lyrics for Today and Sandbanks

nolanhubbard.com

@nolanhubbard

facebook.com/nolanhubbardmusic

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCehutQn4uLaof89VAtuAEQw

 

Neel, Phil, Vincent, Vanessa, and Bruce

How to get noticed by a music publisher with Vincent Degiorgio

Vincent Degiorgio, president of CYMBA Music publishing, joined us to tell tales and give tips to songwriters on getting your songs published. We talked about:

Listen to the show

 

Vanessa, Bruce, Andrew, Phil, and Lora

Pop songwriting with feeling with Lora Ryan

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:

Tough Love

Now or Never

Listen to the whole show

Thank you to our live tweeting listeners!

Sharon Airhart

Heather Spratt

Connect with Lora

Artist website:
http://www.loraryan.com

Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/loraryan

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/loraryanmusc

YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/loraryanmusic

 

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, 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