guitar

Neel, Blair, Sean, Bruce, Vanessa, and Raphael

Chord-based and conversational songwriting with Sean Bertram

Up and coming singer-songwriter and Humber College music student Sean Bertram joined us to talk about his education and his chord-based approach to songwriting. Blair Packham subbed in for Phil – thanks Blair! And welcome to Raphael, our new technical and audio specialist – welcome to the team!

We talked about:

  • why bother making an album anymore
  • writing as a hopeless romantic
  • why do we ( as humans) write songs?
  • writing outside typical “campfire chords
  • developing lyrics based on your chord choices
  • conversational storytelling: rhyme schemes and writing two verses before hitting the chorus
  • Song Studio
  • using falsetto in your songs

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics for Closure and She’ll Ruin Me.

Watch the live performances

 

Vanessa, Bruce, Rachel, Phil and Neel

How to write songs with a looper pedal with Rachel Raditz

The very talented singer-songwriter and improvisational artist Rachel Raditz brought one song to Song Talk Radio that she had written previously. The other she made up on the spot in the middle of the program. “Back in Hali” about a friendship that might be more set in Halifax had an unconventional  structure and a melody that grabbed us by the ears. Rachel’s powerful and original voice brought made the song engaging throughout. Her second song featured completely improvised lyrics, melodies, and harmonies, was sung acappella using a loop device to surprising and entertaining effect.

We talked about:

Have a listen to the complete show here:

 

 

Neel, Bruce, Melanie, Vanessa, and Phil

All about the pre-chorus

The show you’ve all been waiting for…or maybe that was just Neel. The Song Talk Radio Team tackles the subject of the pre-chorus; what it is, what it does for a song, and why have one? Singer/songwriter Melanie Peterson joined us to perform one of her songs as an example, “Been So Long.” To add a few more examples to the mix, Phil brought “Buddy Holly“, a short catchy tune by Weezer, Bruce brought Beige Shelter‘s latest release “Light Your Way” (by Adi Aman and Neel Modi), , and Neel presented “Head Like a Hole” by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

We talked about:

  • How the pre-chorus relates to song structure
  • How is a pre-chorus different from a bridge?
  • How it amps up the energy
  • How is the pre-chorus different from the verse and the chorus?
  • Neel and Adi’s co-writing process for Light Your Way – check out Neel’s blog post on this

Download the lyrics for:

Listen to the show

See the live performance

Phil, Vanessa, Stacey, Bruce, and Neel

Waxing poetic with Stacey Dowswell

Singer-songwriter Stacey Dowswell joined us to talk about her literature-inspired and poetic take on songwriting with two original songs, Ties that Bind and Wax Wings. We talked about:

  • Poetic vs. more straight forward lyrics
  • How to add complexity to a simple 1-4-5 chord progression
  • How to incorporate a cliche
  • Contrast and space
  • Using dynamics in your performance
  • The benefits of noodling around to start a song

Check out Stacey’s EP release show at The Painted Lady in Toronto on June 15, 2017!

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics for Ties that Bind and Wax Wings.

Watch the live performance

Connect with Stacey

Artist website:
http://www.staceydowswell.com

Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/staceydowswell

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

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP0H6OEQCUyg1Fq3rXe7doA

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 show here

 

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

Writing blue-eyed soul with Jeremy Voltz

Crazy talented Jeremy Voltz joined us with his Stevie Wonder inspired, but totally original songs, In the Clear and Wrong With Me.

We talked about:

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics

In the Clear

Wrong with Me

Watch the live performances

Connect with Jeremy

Artist website:
http://jeremyvoltz.com

Twitter:
http://twitter.com/jervoltz

Facebook:
http://facebook.com/jeremyvoltzmusic

YouTube:
http://youtube.com/user/yardapeJV

SoundCloud / MySpace:
http://soundcloud.com/jeremy-voltz

Complexity in songwriting: When is it too much? with David St. Bernard

Singer / songwriter Davis St. Bernard stopped by and we explored the issue on complexity in one’s songwriting.

What we talked about:

Listen to the full show:

Watch the live performances:

Connect with David:

AND it was Vanessa’s birthday!

 

 

 

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:

1972 revisited with Kirk Felix and friends

Kirk Felix arrived at our little studio with a whole band; bass, violin (fiddle), and cajon. As we did our sound check the Song Talk crew all savoured the gentle, soothing and heart-warming sounds of a folk ensemble. Patrick Ballantyne sat in for Neel Modi who was on assignment. In addition to two very authentic folk songs (Dusty Roads and Whispering Peace), we talked about:

Find more Kirk Felix:

www.Facebook.com/kirk.felix.73

https://www.youtube.com/user/Jensguard1968

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/KirkFelix

Read the lyrics here:

Whispering-Peace

Dusty-Roads

Listen to the whole program:

Watch the performance video: