Thanks SAC for introducing me to so many wonderful people

As the challenge draws to a close this year – I have to thank each and everyone of the participants this year. I feel like Mikalyn and I crammed a whole year of learning into six short weeks.   James and Debra are such wonderful mentors and I know that we gleaned great input from all your posts and feedback.   The co-writing was such fun and thanks to everyone that we had a chance to work with.  I hope to continue writing with all of you – long after the challenge is over.

This week for the xmas song – Mikalyn and I watched as Lynne Tessari and Loralei and Paul T worked through a lyric – we chimed in when we could – but Lynne had a great vision and melody for the song so we were fortunate to sit back and watch it develop.

On Saturday Lynne sent Mikalyn the final lryic and she got to work recording it.  We worked through it and sent it out for feedback.  We decided to make some tweaks and my computer crashed.   I called for Mikalyn and said – were starting from scratch again – which worked out great – she basically did the take we are using in one quick take.  Of course there are always things we would do in time to fine tune the song and arrangment, but I think you can a sense of the song and what its about.  Outstanding work team and I hope you enjoy Mikalyns take of the great lyric and melody.  Thanks again SAC – we had the time of our life 🙂   Here is the link to this weeks song.


It’s Coming

This week was a real challenge in that we had to write for a TV show that had a certain song in mind.  The song we had to write a replacement for was called To Be Alone by Hozier – which is an amazing song.  Very subverse and deals with rape culture.  The Week 5 team of Paul Tarvydas, Lynn Tessari and my dad worked to create a lyric that captured this story.  I read up on Lizzie Borden and of course listened to Hoziers song – James Linderman had a helpful video mid week on how to create the back track for the song which we incorporated – thanks James.   I then sat down on Saturday and sang the lyric a few times to come up with the melody I wanted.  Sunday we recorded it and then sent to Lynn and Paul for their thougths and thats when Lynn decided to add strings (which is kind of funny cause she is drummer) which really brought parts of the song to life.  The song is about never ever accepting that abuse of any kind is tolerable and that the tormenters will be brought to justice in the end.   This was a interesting song to create and thanks Jordan for the challenge.  Hoziers song is a hard one to replace – hope we did it justice.

Country Week – Yikes

I love country music, it puts me such a great place when I listen to it – the problem i have is that I just dont get a chance to listen to it much.  Its not high on the listening preferences of my young family and growing up as a 80’s new wave mixed with classic rock did not really give me much exposure.  Its only through studying songwriting that I realize how much attention is focused on this genre.  The deeper I look the more I respect it.  That said – Mikalyn and I are newbies.  I have to admit I found this week challenging – mostly because Mikalyn has been whomped with a wicked head cold and has had zero energy to do much of anything – much less listen to her dad try to convince her that “when the going gets tough the tough get going”.  I was mostly on my own this week – but desperately Monday after trying my best to lay down a melody I begged Mikalyn to rescue my vocals from misery.    She valiantly stepped up to the plate and gave the song her twist – head cold to boot. I am proud of that pup of mine.  She is the talent of our duo for sure.  I am very grateful for the challenge for pushing us to meet new people, extend ourselves mentally and artistically and most of all – finish what we start.   Thanks Paul Tarvydas once again for assisting us with lryrics.  James and Debra – you guys are saints for moderating all of us and providing us with wisdom and insight!  Best regards all.

Michael and Miklayn

Busy But Entertained – Learning Every Step of the Way!

Hello everybody! This weeks challenge was to write a “jingle” type song for kids. It kept me busy but entertained! This week I took on 4 songs, which was really fun. The first song was a song about hats, and it was called “wear anything.” It was written by Gordon Gow. I really enjoyed singing it, and the lyrics and melody were great! I did it in a few takes. Gordon gave me great advice on how to sing the song, which really helped a lot! He also gave me 3 keys to choose from, which was good because it gave me a few options on how to sing it! Thanks Gordon for such a great song this week! The next song I sang was called “Pink Balloon” by Lynn Tessari. I really enjoyed singing this, because it was catchy and I liked the groove, and the way it flowed. I found myself almost “dancing” to it when I recored it! It was a clever song that was fun to sing, and right off the bat I knew I liked it. The key was great for my voice! Thank you Lynn for another great song! Third, I sang a song called “Nigh Light” by Michael Proudfoot. This song had great lyrics and a good melody. It took a few tries to get it right, but by Sunday we got it! I really enjoyed singing this song! Thanks Michael for this awesome song. Finally, I worked on a song with Paul Tarvydas and Emm Gryner called Galaxy. This was a great song that I loved singing! They worked on the words and I tackled the melody. It was a cool little song, and we ended up speeding it up to make it a minute long. I tried to create a catchy melody and I liked the lyrics. I know if I had a phone and lost it, my reaction would be similar… hoping and praying someone would call me! The song had a cool story to it, and it was awesome to work with/on! Special thanks to: Paul and Emm, Gordon, Lynn and Michael Mikalyn 🙂

The Challenge – Write a Pop Song for Young Girls – My Response – Carnival

Hello everybody!

This weeks challenge was to write a pop song for young girls, aged 13-18. Naturally, I thought this would be a walk in the park since basically, the task was to write a song for myself. I knew I had a few song ideas down that could easily work. However, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I was at a loss for ideas for the verses. Luckily enough for me, I had Paul, Allister, and my dad to help me here.

About 2 days after the challenge was released, we had come up with a rough idea of the song. However, it wasn’t quite there yet. About another 3 days later, we had finally come up with the song you guys hear today. This morning (Sunday) my dad and I went to Allister’s house to record the demo. We were a little bit pressed for time, since it was around 12:30 and I had to get home around 1:00. First, we recorded the piano. I ended up playing well, considering I usually make lots of mistakes by the time the song was over. We only had to do one take of the piano, and then we moved on to the vocals! We had to do the vocal piece about 4 times. The first two, I sang it through and it just didn’t feel right. I didn’t like the lower notes, and the higher notes really weren’t working for me. That’s when I asked Allister to transpose it up a semitone, which he could easily do since we recorded it on midi. I sang it through as a warmup, and it honestly felt so much better! The second time, I got into character, and thats the track you hear on the recording:)

I sang 2 other songs well recording at Allister’s, his song “Make up your Mind” and Sean and Allister’s son “Go down Swingin’.” Both were super fun to record! They were super well written and great songs that I really enjoyed singing!

Allister’s studio was overall such a fun and cool experience, and I look forward to working with him again.

I love working with Paul, and without him, this song DEFINITELY wouldn’t be where it is right now.

Thanks to everyone who gave me advice and input on this song.



Challenge No. 1 – The S.A.C. Songwriting & Blogging Challenge

My dad and I are looking forward to working with the SAC gang to create a cool song for Matt to consider 🙂

Songwriters Association of Canada

We are excited to announce this year’s challenge is being launched by a REAL PITCH REQUEST!  As such, you will have 6 weeks to submit a demo for this first challenge.  Although you will not be submitting a song in 7 days, you will be required to submit a blog about your experience of the challenge thus far, the progress you have made, any collaborations you may have initiated, and challenges you have encountered in working towards this challenge.

We would like to thank Barb Sedun and SOCAN for helping us to issue this challenge.

Matt Dusk is an established Canadian artist who has a challenge for you.  Take a look…

Good luck everyone!

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There is no panic at the disco.

As the father of a young daughter who has signaled a deep passion for music, I have to remind myself that there is no rush and there is no panic or drop dead date for things to be done by.   Its hard for me – because I am a just do it kind of person.   I look first but not long after I leap.   For a kid like mine, what many others that I respect say is  “just keep supporting them, and opening the doors until they can open them themselves”.     And – they are right.

This is what the songwriting challenge to Mikalyn and I is – another door in self discovery, in the constant progression towards improvement.   Learning really occurs when you take the talent you were given and you stress it.   Mikalyn was given the gift of talent (likely from her mother who when listening to the Grammy’s last night while working in another rooms says correctly, oh hozier is singing his song a couple notes down).   Now its up to her to stress-test that talent!!  Keep moving forward 🙂