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:
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)
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
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:
Moody, original and unexpected are three words that describe the song writing of Louis Moon.
He started his musical life when he took piano lessons at age seven. Three years ago, influenced by Korean Hip Hop artists, he began to create his own beats. More recently he added lyrics and his own voice to the mix. On this program you’ll hear two Louis Moon songs; “With You” and “Morrissey Love”. We talked about:
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:
Born in England, raised in The Netherlands, Paul Vos shared two of his songs with us at Song Talk Radio.
The first was “Lost Along the Way” a song about finding love when you least expect it. Listen for the awesome 80’s background vocals on the chorus! The second tune, “Heaven in My Hands” had us all dancing to its funky beat and tasty guitar licks. It also sparked a lively discussion on the merits and possible pitfalls of repetition in a song. Over the course of the program we also talked about:
writing songs with only a bass line or a beat
How some lyrics sound like something else when they’re heard (like “re-find it”)
How long should a pre-chorus be?
How a song can benefit from a bridge, a breakdown, or an instrumental interlude
Whether a singer’s vocal style should change dramatically during a song
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 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