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Patrick Ballantyne – master songwriter

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his well-crafted songs. “Where Things Used to Be” is great example of the skillful combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a strong feeling of longing in the listener. Listen to the bridge in particular and the completely surprising chord on the word “dreams”. Patrick’s song “Plans” starts with a great line, “In California there are dates in the trees…” and connects to “dates on my calendar”. The message of a man who sees that he must change is both poignant and honest. As we discussed the tunes, we talked about:

  • “Hit-a-month” project
  • Having a manager
  • How tasty an E flat chord can be in the key of G
  • The use of “pause” in songwriting
  • Co-writing and collaboration
  • Ticket sales and merchandise (how to make money in music)
  • Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, FACTOR
  • Lifting a song through chord progressions
  • Natural or loads of experience?
  • Rhymezone.com for alternative rhymes

Listen to the entire show right here:

 

Love Songs we Love to Love (Valentine’s Day Special)

For our Valentine’s Day special, each member of the Song Talk Radio team brought a favourite love song too woo our listeners. All the songs were very different, and we each had a different take on what makes a good love song:

  • Bruce appreciates authentic, honest expressions of love
  • Neel likes it when there’s a nuanced message
  • Vanessa looks for a specific emotional response in the listener
  • Etain likes sincere and from the heart love songs that you can dance to
  • Phil likes honesty and originality in his “happy” love songs, and
  • favourite twitter follower of the show, Sharon (@SharonRose2012), said “Love songs should make you remember what it’s like to be in love.”

We also talked out:

  • writing songs from a gay perspective
  • modern songwriting melodies
  • ska music vs. reggae
  • verse / refrain / B section song structure
  • Putting a twist on the default “I love you” message

Listen to the whole show:

Check out the love songs we love to love:

Here’s the team’s top picks, and even some great love songs that didn’t make it to show!

Bruce’s pick for the show was a song written by a gay songwriter:

And Bruce’s runner-up pick, a classic love song:

Etain’s pick for the show was a quirky and cheeky 80’s song:

Neel’s pick was an earnest and upbeat, catchy love song with a twist:

and Neel’s second choice (not featured on the show) was a quirky duet about loving in the biggest way possible:

Phil chose the first song he ever heard when he realized “that’s a great song”:

Phil also considered a beautiful new wave song for the show:

Vanessa brought a gorgeous, folky ballad by Jewel:

She also considered a collaboration song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

And our twitter followers contributed to the conversation with their favourites:

Tony Burns (@ynotburns) favourite love song:

and Sharon’s (@SharonRose2012) favourite love song:

Writing for others with Ashley Braga

Toronto and Mississauga-based singer-songwriter Ashley Braga joined us for two live performances and insights into her unique approach to songwriting. While most songwriters turn largely inwards to write, Ashley provides a service writing songs for other people, based on their relationships and emotions. Often the songs are for engagements, weddings, or funerals.

Other stuff we talked about:

  • writing from melodies and a central idea
  • the Ontario Conservatory of Music
  • Ashley’s childhood family experience in realizing how songs can move people
  • shifting from piano to guitar
  • how long is too long to write a song
  • how to use a cliche and get away with it
  • the tension between happy songs and gloomy songs
  • non-verbal communication as inspiration for songs about others
Phil's birthday with cake
It was also Phil’s birthday!

Listen to the whole show:

Download the lyrics for Believe and The Other Side.

Watch the live performances:

Earnest and optimistic songs with Angela Saini

Toronto-based singer-songwriter Angela Saini joined us to talk about her process and two beautifully crafted songs: Something Like I’m Beautiful and Living on the Bright Side. We talked about:

  • Switching from a major to minor key for your bridge
  • How to connect emotionally with your listeners
  • Song endings – to resolve to not resolve?
  • Putting the em-PHA-sis on the right syl-LAB-ble

Thanks to our guest social media maven – Hema!

Listen to the full episode

Download the lyrics for Angela’s songs.

Watch the live performances

Connect with Angela Saini

https://angelasaini.com/

https://www.instagram.com/angelasainimusic/

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/leap-ep/id740125831

 

Piper Hayes, from Broadway to Hamilton

Piper Hayes is a New York born singer/songwriter currently living on the outskirts of Hamilton, Ontario – home to a burgeoning arts scene. Piper started writing her own songs because she couldn’t play other people’s songs on her guitar. On this fast-paced and informative show, she sang “You’re Gone” and “Honey” and we talked about:

  • musical theatre training and the singer/songwriter
  • the influence of Stephen Sondheim
  • specific versus ambiguous lyrics
  • using the rhythm guitar to drive a song
  • the right mood for writing

Connect with Piper

http://pipersings.com/

https://twitter.com/pipercansing

https://www.youtube.com/c/piperhayes

https://itun.es/ca/15fSL

https://piperhayes.bandcamp.com/

https://soundcloud.com/piperhayes

Listen to the full show

Watch the live performances

Jordan Paul on Writing Trippy Tunes

Singer/Songwriter Jordan Paul stopped by with a couple of brilliant songs. His sound has been described as “if Queen, Mimicking Birds, Radiohead, and Led Zeppelin all had a beautiful love-child.” A clever songwriter at only 24–his writing and musicality is well beyond his years and his voice is otherworldly. Paul’s new single ‘Rain’ is coming out on limited-edition 7” vinyl from Leesta Vall Records, featuring Andrew Scott of legendary Canadian band Sloan on drums.   

Topics of Conversation

Listen to the full episode

Writing the emotional gamut with Beige Shelter

Indie rock band Beige Shelter stopped by to talk about forming the band, producing their first album, and performed two songs. Our very own Neel Modi took the co-guest seat as producer, drummer, and co-writer. A good friend of Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne filled in for Neel’s host spot.

Beige Shelter is:

  • Adi Aman – songwriter, vocals, rhythm guitar, ukulele, harmonica
  • Neel Modi – producer, percussionist, co-writer on Colours
  • Tom Kuczynski – bass guitar
  • Karan Sabharwal – lead guitar (absent)

We talked about:

  • Adi’s first appearance on Song Talk Radio over two years ago
  • Where the band name came from
  • Adi’s approach to capturing a wide range of emotions with his yin-yang philosophy of songwriting
  • Neel’s approach to producing the album – check out his blog post on this
  • Playing with your key signature to find the sweet spot for your vocals
  • Where you can listen to Beige Shelter’s debut album, Rumours we make, paths we take

Listen to the whole show:

Watch the live performances:

allister-with-the-team

Thoughtful lyrics and music with Allister Bradley

Pro songwriter Allister Bradley joined us for an hour to talk about two of his catchy, thoughtful songs and his process for getting them done. Stuff we talked out:

  • Toronto’s Song Studio
  • Making it in the music industry
  • Writing with your secondary instrument
  • Using session musicians
  • Why you should whistle your melody
  • Chord progression tip: make each chord in your progression a perfect fifth above the previous one

Download the lyrics for the songs.

Connect with Allister

Listen to the full show

Writing to perfection with Jules

Talented teen singer-songwriter Jules joined us again, after her first appearance over a year ago. In the midst of writing songs for her sophomore release, Jules talked with the Song Talk Radio Action Team about:

  • FACTOR grants for Canadians, and why you should hire a grant writer
  • Unsigned Only Songwriting Competition
  • writing from a title
  • writing lyrics that are open to interpretation
  • working on a lyric until it’s perfect
  • collaborations
  • what a band brings to the songwriting process
  • how teens are feeling about issues and putting them into songs

Listen to the whole show:

Watch the live performances:

Jeff Greenway finds his own way

Jeff Greenway returned to the Song Talk Radio studio to share his thoughts on song writing. His approach to writing is through a feeling, not a theory. This was amply demonstrated in the two songs he shared with us. The first, Cavalry, evoked the sadness and confusion you feel when a relationship just isn’t working any more. No one is coming to save the day and there’s nowhere to hide. The second tune, I Need describes the two opposing sides of possible reconciliation. Notice the lyric shift from “don’t come home” to “please come home”. We discussed:

  • collaboration
  • home recording with a good microphone and Logic
  • modulation
  • background vocals
  • the use of silence in a song
  • chord substitution
  • teaching music to children

Listen to the entire show here: