writing

Neel, Ritah, Adi, Mike, Ahmed, and Phil

Beige Shelter: How To Write Within A Band

Beige Shelter is an ambitious and eclectic five piece band from Toronto that brings fire, passion and a political conscience to their music. Through electrifying live performances, the band showcases both original songs and interesting twists on cover songs. Beige Shelter is currently working on their 2nd EP release.…

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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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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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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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Matthew Reid: Music Composition – Live, recorded and improvisational

This week SongTalk welcomed Matthew Reid to our studio. Matthew is a critically acclaimed, award winning composer for film, television, games and theatre. His funny songs have delighted almost a million people during his tenure as composer for Toronto’s world famous Second City comedy theatre.…

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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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Phil, Michael, Patrick, Vanessa, Linda, and Neel

Patrick Ballantyne: An album of longing

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.…

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Bruce, Blair, Vanessa, Michael, and Neel

What’s a cover song anyway?

Our own Michael Proudfoot proudly stepped into the world of cover songs. He uncovered a treasure trove of examples and ideas. Have a listen as the Song Talk Radio team plus Blair Packham (The Jitters) tackles:

  • when everything was a cover
  • the difference between 45, 78, and 33 1/3 rpm records
  • professional songwriters writing for professional singers
  • How The Beatles shifted pop culture by both writing and performing their own songs
  • Jimi Hendrix covers All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan)
  • authenticity (Sarah McLachlan) and self-expression
  • Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Carole King, Leonard Cohen
  • singing someone else’s song – making it universal
  • Husker Du, Love Is All Around (Sonny Curtis)

Listen to the whole show

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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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Michael, Bruce, Neel, Vanessa, and Phil

Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie review

Did you love the new movie Bohemian Rhapsody? Hate it? Something in between? Listen as Bruce, Neel, Phil, Michael, and Vanessa let loose! Hear their takes on the Bryan Singer helmed Queen/Freddie Mercury biopic released in late 2018. While they found much to criticize, they had a few raves too.…

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Making the most of a three-chord song

On this program Bruce, Neel, and Phil, (and Linda) each brought a three-chord song to share. We looked at what each song needed to do (if anything) to compensate for the lack of chord diversity. We talked about:

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The lyrics

Download the chord/lyric sheets to follow along:

Ming-Tea-BBC

Now-You’re-Leaving_Lyrics

Radiohead-Street-Spirit

The-Joker

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Eric Walker, jazz/pop/blues fusion

Eric Walker is a singer/songwriter from Toronto and a member of the blakeley walker band. He was a founding member of the Toronto Songwriters Association which has met the second Saturday of the month for the past 17 years. We talked about:

  • playing Harry Belafonte songs on the ukulele
  • writing a song with 47 chords
  • master songwriting teacher Andy Krehm
  • composition teacher Gordon Dalimont
  • SONG – “Umbrella” – looking back at the beginnings of a relationship
  • SONG – “Renovations” – building and renovating love
  • short chorus – good or bad?

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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:

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Dokter Nomi’s lyrics

Dokter-Nomi-Party-in-NYC-Lyrics

Fallen-Star

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Vanessa, Phil, Robert, David, Linda, Bruce and Neel

Robert Priest – how to write songs for children

We had the pleasure of having the prolific Toronto poet, novelist, and singer/songwriter Robert Priest (with David Hynes on guitar) back in the studio to share a couple of his children’s songs. We talked about…

  • testing a song on a 6-year old
  • moving from writing for adults to writing for children on the same day
  • chord choices for children
  • writing for younger and older children (the differences)
  • kids deserve quality songwriting
  • Inchworm” (an old favourite)
  • repetition in kids’ songs
  • using words that kids will have to look up (why not?)
  • the work habits of a prolific writer
  • Gilbert and Sullivan style (The Ships of Bath)
  • do you have to have kids to write for children?

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Vanessa, Phil, Linda, Bruce, and Neel

How to write a break-up song

True to form for Song Talk Radio, the day before Valentine’s Day seemed a good day to talk about break-up songs. So Phil brought “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)” by Jim Croce, Neel chose “One More Minute” by “Weird Al” Yankovic, Bruce performed a new original tune “I Don’t Love You Anymore”, and Vanessa selected “White Blank Page” by the band Mumford & Sons.…

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