writing

The unusual world of songs with unusual lyrics

For this special theme show, each of the hosts presented a song with “unusual” or hard-to-decipher lyrics. We delved into a discussion around understanding the intentions behind and interpreting the songs. Download the lyrics here: Unusual Lyrics

  • Neel’s selection: A Self Called Nowhere by They Might Be Giants
  • Bruce’s selection: McArthur Park by Jimmy Webb (performed by Donna Summers)
  • Janice’s selection: Paranoid Android by Radiohead

We talked about:

  • The notion that once your song is released to the world, it’s no longer yours and open to multiple interpretations
  • Check out www.songmeanings.com to read user interpretations of songs
  • What is the purpose for communicating a story through unusual, hard-to-decipher lyrics?
  • Use of metaphors
  • Writing a song with unusual lyrics as a songwriter’s challenge – break the rules!

Listen to the complete show:

 

Making an Emotional Impact as a Performer: Part 1

Having been immersed in the wonderful world of singer-songwriters during my time at Song Talk Radio, I’ve attended quite a number of gigs and open mics over the past year.

Everyone I’ve seen perform has great talent in singing, playing an instrument and writing music.

However, I find there’s a lot of variation in a performer’s ability to make an emotional impact on me as an audience member.

A singer may have an amazing voice, but if every song in their set (or even a single song) is delivered in the exact same way and with little variation in emotional expression, I might leave thinking: “That was a good show”, but not feeling that my mind was blown or heart inspired.

So, I’d like to share an exercise – the Song Interpretation Exercise, to be exact – that may help in taking your performance up a notch in the mind-blowing, heart-inspiring department.

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Letting songs steep with Carmen Toth

Carmen Toth / Social Potion joined us for the second time to talk about a new song, and an older one, both of which are appearing on her upcoming album.

Stuff we talked about:

  • writing lyrics first, songs first, or improvising on the fly during a jam/collaboration
  • journalling / creating a “lyrics bank”
  • starting a song from an emotion
  • marketing to promote other artists
  • memorable titles in the world of singles
  • working with a producer to focus the song structure and strengthen commercial appeal
  • writing universal, relatable lyrics
  • using a bridge to bring a new perspective into the song

Download Carmen’s lyrics for the show.

Listen to the complete episode:

Blair Packham packs emotional power

From the moment Blair Packham started to speak, we knew we were in for some great lessons from a master songwriter and experienced teacher. If You Were Mine featured a great bridge and instrumental break. In Her Dreams started out as a story of a woman in a call centre and moved to a daughter caring for an ailing mother. In our wide-ranging conversation we also touched on the following:

  • who are you writing for?
  • does the song connect emotionally with the listener?
  • collaboration is good
  • ask for feedback and use it
  • write from your creativity
  • the new singer-songwriter accent (Shawn Mendes song Stitches for example)
  • song-writing workshops (songstudio.ca)

Listen to the full episode

John Glover keeps it simple and engaging

On this highly informative and entertaining show, we talked with John Glover:

  • how John adapted his guitar playing after a hand injury
  • the difference between “cathartic creativity” and the hard work of writing songs
  • Justin Rutledge‘s songwriting workshop
  • lyrics versus poetry
  • playing with Willie P. Bennett
  • starting the writing of a song with a melody and a chord progression
  • Object writing” as a songwriting exercise to build sensory awareness
  • Secret Agent Man” as inspiration
Bruce with the team

Keeping it real with Bruce Harrott

A very special show with Song Talk Radio’s co-host and co-creator Bruce Harrott, showcasing and discussing the process behind some of his best songs. We talked about:

  • Bruce’s traditional approach with writing lyrics first, and trying a different approach now
  • working with different producers
  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  • writing about real experiences (“staying true to the story”)
  • using different melody/chords in bridge vs. verses
  • chord substitutions

Do you write songs from the heart or from the head?

Often on Song Talk Radio, this question arises.  Sometimes, it’s fun for the hosts to try and guess.  “Your song sounds very cerebral,” or “Your song sounds very intuitive.”  The guests themselves tell us how well considered every decision in their songwriting process is, or tell us “It just came to me.”  This question of process in creative endeavour is as old as the creative endeavours themselves. On Blair Packham’s show, he talked about his own journey on both the intuitive and the cerebral roads.

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Mark Martyre writes melodic word pictures

Mark Martyre is a Canadian writer and musician. His prolific song writing has produced 3 full-length studio albums since 2012: Down, Record (2012), London (2013), and Red Letters (2014), as well as several live records, and bootlegs. His music and lyrics have garnered critical acclaim and attention both nationally and internationally. Mark is currently working on his fourth full-length studio album, as well as a book of poems and short stories, to be released in 2016. On December 8 he filled our studio with a laid back set of three tunes. With “I know What It’s Like” he plays with simile very effectively… – “like a story”, “like an old deck of cards”, like a movie”. His lyrics flow in an almost spoken style on top of solid rhythmic guitar work. On “Long Goodbye” listen for surprising images (“sleepy trees”), tasty harmonica fills, and  cool bridge. “I Never Knew” traces the musician’s process and resonates for anyone who ever set out to play gigs only to discover it was a lot harder than they thought. Mark is an accomplished songwriter worth checking out at any of the links listed!

SOCIAL MEDIA

www.markmartyre.com

www.markmartyre.bandcamp.com

www.facebook.com/markmartyre

www.youtube.com/markmartyre

www.twitter.com/markmartyre

 

OITC with the team

Get loaded on songwriting ammo with One in the Chamber

One in the Chamber (Mike Baise – vocals, rhythm guitar, Cecil Eugene – lead guitar, vocals, Christian Dotto – bass, Gerrod Harris – percussion) join us to discuss their songwriting process as a band.  We talked about:

  • bringing a song to the band to be fleshed out
  • singing lead vocals with lyrics written by a bandmate
  • to be or not to be wordy
  • abstract lyrics
  • rock and roll

With influences streaming in from all eras of rock, One In The Chamber is a unique, modern rock outfit. Driven by roaring vocals, slinky guitar work, and fueled by driving bass lines and tight, deep grooves, One In The Chamber are able to bring together elements from the 60’s to present day into one tasteful flavour. Hailing from Mississauga, Markham, and Richmond Hill, One In The Chamber can proudly call Toronto and the surrounding cities home, and are excited to perform at your next big event. Be it Friday night in the club, a summer festival, or your block party. Drawing inspiration from the past, while keeping things fresh, One In The Chamber is your new favorite band.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oitcband/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/oitcband

Instagram: https://instagram.com/oneinthechamberofficial/

Songwriting Apps Review: Rhyme Genie, TuneSmith & Chordmate

In our first Apps Review Show, we take a look at Idolumic’s Rhyme Genie and Harmonic Sense’s Chordmate Apps.

First up was Idolumic’s Rhyme Genie a fully cross platform (PC, Mac & iOS) program that boasts over 330,000 rhymes and more rhyme types than you’ve ever heard of. The desktop versions are brilliant and much better than any online rhyme services I’ve found (it even give you Feminine Pararhymes – so you know, there you go).

A great interface too. It lets you select “similarity of sound” of the rhymes, gives you filters for adverbs, adjectives, nouns, verbs, etc, and lets you select how many syllables the rhymes have.

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