Join the family & learn how to write better songs, in any style

We’re here to help you write better songs, and help you progress in your songwriting journey.

Every Tuesday, we talk to a songwriter from any style and from any ability level to explore techniques that will actually help you write better, more memorable and more successful songs. Since November of 2013, we’ve talked to many songwriters, from beginners to professionals and everything in between and had a blast each and every show. Join us and get those songs moving!

Fresh Content

Show date:  Sep. 27, 2016

stephen-witkin-desk-papers

LA Screen writer Stephen Witken is stopping by to talk about musical theatre.

From “Into the Woods”

Download the lyrics: No One Is Alone

From “Wicked”

Download the lyrics: Defying-Gravity

 

No one is alone

Cinderella
Mother cannot guide you.
Now you’re on you’re own.
Only me beside you.
Still, you’re not alone.
No one is alone, truly.
No one is alone.

Sometimes people leave you
Halfway through the wood.
Others may deceive you.
You decide what’s good.
You decide alone.
But no one is alone.

Little red riding hood
I wish…

Cinderella(to little red)
I know…
Mother isn’t here now.
Baker(to jack)
Wrong things, right things…
Who knows what she’d say?
Who can say what’s true?
Nothing’s quite so clear now-
Do things, fight things…
Feel you’ve lost your way?
You decide,
Both:
But you are not alone, believe me.
No one is alone.
No one is alone,
Believe me.
Truly…

Read more »

Show date:  Sep. 20, 2016

frank-with-the-team

Songwriter, composer, and music teacher Frank Horvat joined us to talk about scales, the different kinds and colours of chords, and using chords as a palette for your songwriting.

We covered:

Listen to the full show:

Show date:  Sep. 18, 2016

alyssa-with-the-team

The Multi-Talented songwriter/actor Alyssa Baker stopped by with a couple of great songs and an even better discussion on creating songs and managing multiple career streams.

Some Stuff We Talked About:

This week’s twitter contributors:

  • @roseandselena
  • @Christie_Baker
  • @SharonRsoe2012
  • @ynotburns
  • @timothyjlim
  • @garbaker_gary

Listen to the show:

Watch the live performance:

 

Show date:  Sep. 06, 2016

jacob-with-the-team

With 10 albums over a 20-year career, Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist Jacob Moon dropped into the studio to share a wealth of helpful tips and clear insights. “Live a Little” is a truly exceptional tune, a perfect marriage of lyrics, melody, theme and variation.  “Is That All You Got” is a gutsy rocker that looks at calamity with defiance and a “bring it on” attitude. The hour just flew by as we discussed –

  • live performance looping
  • putting cover songs on YouTube
  • social media
  • how to reharmonize your chords using the same melody
  • the influence on Jacob of songwriters Paul Simon, Ron Sexsmith, Joni Mitchell, and Jackson Brown
  • the benefits of writing a song using only a bass guitar (or the bass notes on piano)
  • open (alternate) tunings including the ever-popular DADGAD
  • how a great song requires hard work and lots of rewrites

Listen to the whole show

Check out Jacob Moon’s engaging and heartfelt performances

Show date:  Sep. 05, 2016

ladybeard-wrestler-metal-singer-cross-dressing-8

 

If you read Part 1 of this three-part series, you’ll also have listened to three different performances of the song “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.”

What you may have learned is that the way you interpret a song makes a difference in the way people will react to your performance.  This means the way you choose to sing each phrase, emphasize key words, and bring in dynamics and emotional expression are important in making an emotional impact.

So, now I want to get into the Song Interpretation Exercise that I mentioned, which can help you think more intentionally about all of these elements.

Just a note: I’d like to think I’m brilliant, but I didn’t make this all up. A huge thanks goes to my former vocal teacher, Véronik Fournier (a.k.a. V), who passed on this incredibly helpful exercise to me.

First things first, choose a song you want to work on. Then download the Song Interpretation Exercise template here and get going with Step 1!

Step 1: Character, Objective, Moment Before, Win or Loss?

My Character

It may seem obvious that the “Character” in question – i.e. the person singing the song – is, well, you.

Technically, yes. However, is every story that you communicate through the songs you perform actually about you?

Maybe you are singing a song that you wrote completely based on your own personal life story. In that case, when you do the rest of this exercise, you’ll probably be drawing from the exact events and emotions you experienced.

However, sometimes we perform songs that aren’t based on our real life history. For example, one of my songwriting collaborations involved me having to sing about how my now-ex-lover just ran off to Havana. Well, I assure you that this has never happened – but I needed to convince everyone that it had!

So, I created a character in my mind who I could embody when singing Havana”: a young woman who had gotten in deep with her Cuban lover and brought him back to her homeland. Yet, after a tumultuous time together, he packed up and left her high and dry.

Although creating this made-up character may have seemed a bit disingenuous at first, I was able to own the performance by drawing from my own, very real experiences of having felt the emotions of longing, bitterness and despair that are expressed in the song.

Singing To

If you are performing at a show, you will, of course, be singing to your audience.  But, again, let’s get to the heart of the story behind the song.

Who are you, as the character of the song, singing to? Are you singing to your cheating, ex-boyfriend who is now trying to win you back? A group of angry protestors who are demanding change? Your first, newborn baby?

There’s something kind of freeing about approaching a performance in this way. Rather than getting the jitters about singing to a sea of faces watching you from their seats, you are simply communicating a story that is really about, and being directed at, someone else.

Objective

What is your objective, or reason, for singing these words to the person (or people) you are singing to? Is it to assure them that they are going to make it through their challenging situation? To convince yourself to take the leap into a new romance?

Clarifying this for yourself from the outset can help in shaping the rest of the exercise. Read more »