collaboration

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 “mary@marymarksrocks.com” 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:

“A song is good if you like it,” says Patrick Ballantyne

Bruce, Neel and Phil were all happy to have Patrick Ballantyne back in the Song Talk Radio studio for the third time. He always brings great songs (listen to “Make Believe” and “Sky” for proof) and lots of experience to share about the songwriting process for our listeners. When writing a song, he starts with the music – almost always on the guitar. For contrast, he has started writing on the piano where he has less competency and is forced to “keep it simple.” After writing solo for many years, he recently joined a group of collaborators and enjoyed the process.

Listen to the whole show:

See the live performance:

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:

 

Collaboration do’s and don’ts with Janice Ho

The ever lovely and talented (and what a voice!) Janice Ho, Song Talk Radio’s very own tweeting songbird, talked about two early collaborations she worked on and what to look out for when collaborating. Download the lyrics for the show.

We talked about:

Listen to the complete show:

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

New standards by Steven Taetz

Multi-talented singer songwriter Steven Taetz turned the Song Talk studio into a smoky nightclub with his perfect renditions of his own songs. Waiting for Wishes (co-written with Emma-Lee) had so many “hooks” we lost count (listen for pre-chorus one and two, and the first chorus!). Lately (co-written with Gavin Bradley) had us enraptured as Steven delivered the plaintive lyrics of a man who fears his lover may have strayed. Listen to the awesome bridge!

Listen to the entire show here!

Exploring the blues with Son Roberts

Maple Blues Award Best New Artist nominee and harmonica player, Son Roberts stopped by the Song Talk Radio studios with guitarist John Crosbie and had a fun and wide ranging conversation about writing blues influenced tunes.

Here’s what we talked about: