collaboration

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:

 

Neel, Vanessa, Bruce and Phil

Creating your own Songwriter’s Meetup Group

This week, Bruce, Neel and Phil discussed their roles as Co-Organizers of the Songwriter’s Cafe Meetup group in Toronto. We also featured songs from some of our guests who we discovered at the meetup.

We talked about:

  • why it’s important to host meetups regularly
  • tips for running a successful meetup
  • building a community of songwriters in your hometown
  • costs, logistics and benefits to running your group through meetup.com

Listen to the whole show

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

Vanessa, Bruce, Sean, Lindsey, Phil, and Neel

Unleashed Dreams – music with a message

Unleashed Dreams brought their epic, new age, neo-classical music to Song Talk Radio. Lindsay Walker (lyricist/singer) and Sean Michael Paddison (composer, producer, and pianist) have a mission. They want to create and distribute music that empowers people to transform their lives and live their dreams. Their first song, “Deep”, is powerful. It recounts the challenges of going inside for some serious soul-searching. “Trust” had a meditative quality. It uses a wash of repeating lyrics and multi-layered production. We talked about:

  • life coaching
  • coaching through music – it touches hearts and souls
  • seniors experiencing dementia
  • suggesting reading – “This is Your Brain on Music
  • “epic songwriting” – Hans Zimmer
  • symphonic power
  • how to stay connected to your true self
  • music libraries: Cinesamples, Vienna Symphonic Library, Spitfire Audio, EastWest
  • cello and the human voice
  • down-to-earth lyrics in an epic piece
  • when to improvise a vocal and when not to
  • “meditainment”

Listen to the entire show

Connect with Unleashed Dreams

www.UnleashedDreams.com

Facebook

Twitter

You Tube

Neel, Bruce, Vanessa, Braeden, and Phil

Why work with a producer? with Braeden Mitchell

Braeden Mitchell returned to Song Talk Radio for his third visit and contributed to a very lively and informative discussion of songwriting and recording. He shared two songs with us,  Glory Days and Everyday Girl, both from his upcoming EP release. We talked about:

  • moving from a pop-rock sound to a folk-country style
  • a producer’s influence on approach, arrangements, structure, and more
  • why perform songs in a club to “test-drive” them before recording
  • how co-writing helps create a better song
  • working with Oh Susanna
  • how to meet other song writers (at shows just say, “hello, I loved your song”)
  • Braeden’s upcoming EP release show at the Dakota Tavern
  • Murphy’s Law’s of Songwriting

Listen to the complete show

Follow along with the lyric sheets

Glory Days

Everyday Girl

Watch the performance videos

Connect with Braeden

Website

Twitter

Facebook

youTube

Instagram

Soundcloud

Neel, Etain, Vanessa, Phil, Patrick, Alon and Ivan posing

Electronic music creation with Audio Insurgency

Toronto-based virtuoso electronic music duo Audio Insurgency joined us for a second time to talk about their latest projects, including an album of inventive video game music covers.

Audio Insurgency is made up of Alon Rodovinsky and Ivan Popov. The guys previously appeared on Song Talk Radio in early 2016.

Patrick Ballantyne filled in for Bruce for this show. Thanks Patrick!

We talked about:

  • song writing vs. music creation
  • orchestral-like arrangements
  • how you know when your song is done (hint: song structure is the key)
  • the roles between Alon as composer and Ivan as producer and sound engineer
  • using a melody note outside the chord to open up a section of the song
  • ways to come up with your title for an instrumental piece
  • whether or not to change your tonal center in a dance song
  • The 440Hz vs 432Hz tuning debate

Listen to the show:

 

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:

Creating Lyric Sheets that Don’t Suck

I hope you’re not like me and just keeping all your songs just in your head, It’s a bad habit I’ve developed over the years and one I’m still working against.

I’m especially bad at writing my lyrics down, which is surprising considering how bad I am at writing lyrics. You’d think I would want to capture anything that comes out after many hours of frustrating work.

We get to see a lot of lyrics here at Song Talk Radio. Every guest submits lyrics to us before they appear on the show and we use them as a way of notating what we like, etc. And although everyone seems to have a different approach, they almost all have some critical omissions.

They won’t make you famous if they can’t contact you

The Free Lyric Sheet Template (link’ed below)

The biggest mistake we see is the lack of any kind of contact information on lyric sheets. You never know where you lyrics will wind up (perhaps someone will come across your amazing words in a year or two and want to give you truck-loads of cash, which would suck it they can’t get in touch with you), so you want to make sure that you have all your contact info on the sheet visible – it will also make legal ownership of the song a bit easier to confirm in the future. (Here’s a bit of trivia for you: at one time in the US, if you published a song without a copyright notice, it was considered to be in the Public Domain.)

You’ll obviously want to include your name and/or your band name, a phone number and an email address as everything is done vie email these days (even scheduling phone calls!).

Also, include your website if you have one. If you only have a Soundcloud page, simply purchase a cheap domain name from one of our favourite domain sellers, and just point your new domain name to your Soundcloud page. If, in the future, you want to use a different service to showcase your work — perhaps you’ll have your own website by then or just offer you music on iTunes — you can change where the domain points to – all your old lyric sheets will remain accurate.

AND, since you now have your own domain name, use your domain’ed email on your lyric sheets (so if you have the “MaryMarksRocks.com” domain, create an “info” or “[email protected]” and auto-forward it to your Gmail or present email service. If, in the future, you change from Gmail to some other mail service, just change where your “marymarksrocks.com” email forwards to.

Getting your own domain is super simple and stupid cheap. The company I use for such a thing is easyDNS.com. They’re based in Toronto, the president is a great songwriter himself,  they are an all around dependable company and have been around since the 90s’.

Ensuring you get paid

If you’re in Canada, you might as well register your songs with SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada – no, I can’t figure out how they came up with SOCAN either ). Registering your songs is free and is always a good habit to get into, This brings in the next most important part. Read more

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:

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: