Friday, November 30, 2007

Songwriting - Collaboration and Co-Writing

My TDSB course on songwriting ended Wednesday night. I met a lot of very talented, enthusiastic songwriters to whom I'll be linking/posting in the near future.

I just wanted to give a plug to MaryEllen's upcoming course starting in the new year on Wednesday nights: Songwriting - Collaboration and Co-Writing.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend (I'm already registered for the Home Studio 201 class at Revolution Audio on Thursday nights). But I do recommend a course like this for the information, encouragement and the connections you can make!

May the Muse be with you...

Censorship over lipsyncing Simpson

Original article here.

Ashlee Simpson spoof controversy


Ashlee Simpson.

A Calgary rocker is causing quite the controversy with a tongue-in-cheek tune he penned about a lipsyncing Simpson sister.

Jason Darr, songwriter and front man for Neurosonic, a Canadian hardcore punk band, is reported to be in hot water with Ashlee Simpson and her beau Pete Wentz, bassist for Fall Out Boy.

Darr wrote Neurosonic's acid-tongued single, So Many People, mocking Simpson's now notoriously embarrassing Saturday Night Live performance in which she started lipsyncing the words to the wrong song.

"I meant every word of it... I'm a sarcastic little feller sometimes and the song just wrote its self," Darr told Sun Media. "But it was in good fun -- it's not meant to be malicious."

"Everything under the sun going to hell in an episode of SNL/watch it on the TV you ugly girl you cannot sing, can't even lip sync," shouts Darr during the song about Simpson (sister to infamous blond bomb shell, Jessica Simpson).

During a performance of the tune at New York City's Knitting Factory club last week, Darr told the crowd Wentz had a "cease and desist" order out against Neurosonic, banning them from playing the song.

The comment caused an avalanche of media coverage, starting with reports in the New York Post and NME Magazine, as well as numerous online music sources saying Wentz was considering legal action against the Calgary-bred rocker.

"I recall making a comment on stage about it one night. We're always up for a good for a laugh," says Darr, who grew up in Strathmore, just outside of Calgary.

Wentz responded to the comment on Fall Out Boy's web site, stating he had "never heard of that band or ever sent a cease and desist in (his) life."

Wentz added he, "hopes it works out for (them).

"I'm still not gonna have a fight in the press.... If your songs are good then sleep easy and have fun playing them -- just don't attach me to them."

Darr says the song and music video, which spoofs blond-haired celebritants, plastic surgery and Hollywood's redcarpet culture, was meant in jest, and brushed the incident with Wentz off with a good hearted laugh.

"I was in the same room with him (Wentz) at the Chainsaw Awards (held in L.A. in October), but he hadn't heard the song yet. We didn't speak -- I'm pretty sure he doesn't know who we are," said Darr.

Darr is the sole songwriter and main creative force behind the band. He moved from Calgary to Vancouver a little over two years ago, where he wrote and recorded Neurosonic's debut album, Drama Queen.

Darr was previously lead singer of Calgary's Out of Your Mouth. When the band broke up, he decided to move to B.C. for a change of pace.

He wrote and recorded Drama Queen by himself.

Other members of the band, including fellow-Calgarian Jacen Ekstrom, were added later.

Neurosonic has been on tour in the U.S. and Europe for most of 2007, with plans to return to Canada soon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Beat Away From A Critique

Well, I received my best critique yet for one of these song contests (Song of the Year). You can hear the song in my ReverbNation player in the top section of this blog. Anyone want to market this for me?

The following information is a critique of a single piece of material you have submitted to Song of the Year for review. The opinions stated are from an experienced professional in the music, entertainment, or media industries. Your views may differ greatly from their views of the material since music and lyrics are a subjective art form. Please be mindful that the comments made about your material will be critical only to encourage your songwriting ability and help develop your skill.

Song Writer Title
Lorenzo Policelli A Beat Away From My Heart
Reviewer ID Reviewer Specialty
#RB93272 Radio Media Supervisor

Section 1


(Scores below)

LYRICS: Impact of words and phrasing; clarity of content; structural and grammatical.
Weak Average Strong
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

TITLE: Ability to attract listener attention; pertinence to the song.
Weak Average Strong
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Weak Average Strong
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Emotional Commentary: The lyrics to the material are tender and engaging, the illustrative words create such a vivid picture. Therefore making the passion in the mood come to life. "A Beat Away From My Heart" is a great title for this song, its relative and original. This song is easy to relate to which makes it more personal and overall emotional.

Section 2


(Scores below)

Writing Mechanics: Rhyme structure, grammatical quality (slang & dialect none withstanding)
Weak Average Strong
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

STRUCTURE: Composition elements and arrangement.
Weak Average Strong
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Technical Commentary: Wonderful rhythm and rhyme structure, great sense of emotional direction with the choice of words used throughout the material. The overall structure was flawless in the construction, arrangement, and delivery.

Section 3


(Score below)

MARKETABILITY: Sound quality, mix, dynamics, and finishing.
Weak Average Strong
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Friday, November 16, 2007

Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame 2008


Hi Music Fans,

What do Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens (Alex Kramer, Joan Whitney), Paul Anka, La bittt à Tibi (Raoul Duguay), Claude Dubois and Oscar Peterson have in common? Besides being Canadian, they are just some of the iconic songs and songwriters who will be honoured at the CSHF 5th Annual Gala on March 1st, 2008.

Held at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, this memorable night is not to be missed. Join us as world-class Canadian and international artists perform Aimes-tu la vie comme moi? (Georges Thurston, Billy Clements, Phillip Mitchell), Heart Like A Wheel (Anna McGarrigle), Love Child (R. Dean Taylor, Deke Richards, Pam Sawyer, Frank Wilson) and more.

Songs by critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Paul Anka and Claude Dubois, one of the most beautiful and significant voices in Quebec songwriting history, will also be performed and celebrated.

Brilliant jazz pianist and composer Oscar Peterson, famous for his musical dexterity and energetic performances will be honoured with the Founders Award.

For a complete list of this year’s inductees visit our 2008 Inductees page.

Seats to this star-studded event are limited. Tickets will be available online through Ticketmaster in early December.

Make sure to visit the store to pick up some great music from this year's inductees and performing artists.

To ensure that you are always up-to-date about the CSHF, make sure to sign up to our official newsletter.

The CSHF Team
Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame
56 Wellesley Street West, Suite 320
Toronto, ON M5S 2S3
Tel: 416.926.7953/ Fax: 416.926.7958

Songwriting for Kids

Just want to give a plug to a wonderful website for young songwriters: Songwriting for Kids. There's monthly contests to involve young ones to hone their songwriting chops, and a blog to go with the website... My 5 1/2 year old chose not to take the bait, even though she wrote the wonder With Mama song some months back... Right now, she's just into her ballet...

May the Muse be with our kids!

FACTOR'd down!

Oh well, my second request for demo proceeds from FACTOR was turned down... seems I have to work on my songwriting skills... precisely the reason I'll be asking for a grant to attend a songwriting camp next summer!

:( May the muse be with you...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Small Talk

I was working on a song last night from an idiom (Small Talk) that is an assignment in my songwriting class. We came up with the notion that "small talk", which may have a negative connotation as being meaningless and superficial, can actually be a lifesaver for some people who are not in the mainstream - a kind "hello" or "how are you doing?" at an opportune time could bring someone down from the precipice...

Wholly unrelated... I did want to point out a posting from this morning giving kudos to all the songwriting bloggers out there... Thanks to Jeff for maintaining a great songwriting blog... I certainly don't equate this with the "small talk" part of my thought process, just the random "bon mots" part...

May the Muse be with us...
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