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Songwriter’s Challenge: Write a Piano Pop Ballad

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Ariane_Mateesco

As the Memorial Day weekend draws near, I wanted to send out a songwriter’s challenge for the long weekend. I challenge you to write a pop ballad.  Take that extra day you’re given this weekend and give yourself an hour or two to sit down and write a new song! A lot of pop artists are taking a step back on their productions and releasing material that is more stripped down minimal instrumentation of piano, some light orchestration with either synth strings or live strings and the perfect vocal production. Why not use it as a challenge to put out some similar demos in this style for publishing opportunities and pitching material?

Often times, tracks get overproduced and the most important element in the recording gets lost- the vocals and the story of the song. Sometimes, a piano/vocal production is the way to go. If you have a full band production of a song already complete, don’t forget to do a simple acoustic stripped back alternate mix of that song so you have options.

The StudioPros production team has recently finished the production of “For Amber” by French songwriter living in Switzerland, Ariane Mateesco. Ariane had originally wrote the song as a gift for her 15 year old sister Amber, taking a poem Amber had written in French and putting lyrics and music to the poetry. After speaking with her about the process and helping her develop the song, we did a piano based production with Kelsey on vocals and added a nice melodic cello playing supportive lead counter melodies. We also developed the song as a full band production adding drums and bass as an alternative version. Having both the full band production and the simpler piano/vocal version has expanded the options for sending the material out to A&R representatives and publishing companies.

 Check out StudioPros production of Mateesco’s song, “For Amber”:

Full Band Production:

Piano/Vocal/Cello Production:

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Songwriter’s Challenge: Write a Standard Form Song

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Beginners Guide To Song Form Part 2

After receiving such great feedback from you guys, we’ve decided to continue the songwriting form series. Last time we touched on the AABA format using Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” as an example, and today I want to focus on the most popular song structure-ABABCB.

Understanding Song Structure Basics: ABABCB Song Form

The ABABCB Song Form:

The most common song form is the ABABCB form, which is a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus song. The “A” section is the verse, where the story is told. The “B” section is the chorus, which is the hook and the highlight of the song. A standard verse chorus can often become tiresome, so adding a “C” section, also known as the bridge, adds variation. The bridge is a musical departure from the expected-often summing up the song-thus supplying new momentum to the final chorus. Some popular examples for ABABCB songs are “What’s Love Got To Do With it” by Tina Turner, “Girl” by The Beatles, and “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry. (more…)

Featured Artist: Jack Brill

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

A versatile songwriter, Jack Brill, finds the team to take his songs from demo quality to the radio airwaves.JackBrill

Jack Brill is a blues, pop, rock song writer and a favorite staple for collaboration ,who has now used Studio Pros’ production services on seven songs. Coming away with a great completed set of productions, Brill has proven that you don’t have to be in the same city, country, even continent to collaborate on projects with the Studio Pros team.

Brill left his home of New Jersey in the United States and settled in beautiful Sicily, Italy- causing him to essentially lose his previous band. With the help of Studio Pros’ accesible services, Brill recalls, “It was like a band away from home.”

Listen to Jack’s productions produced by Studio Pros:

Brill cites Bob Dylan as a driving force for his music. We spoke to him about growing up and what it was like harnessing the genius of other songwriters into his songs.  “I think I started writing my own songs cause I couldn’t figure out what he was saying (Dylan), ” says Brill. “My mom hated Dylan’s music, which made me like him even more. Being from Philly in my teens, the folk scene was just starting to emerge. The radio was playing mostly Smokey Robinson, the Tokens and the Temptations, but me and a couple of friends were working on Bob Dylan, Eric Anderson and Dave Van Ronk songs. These guys were my inspiration.”

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The Studio Pros team thoroughly enjoyed working on Brill’s songs as he had such a dynamic variety of songs from pop, blues, rock to bluegrass.  That is the sign of a talented and versatile songwriter.  From the bluesy notes of “I Want You” to the traditional bluegrass instrumentation of “Mother Mary” to the traditional Dixieland big band feel of “New Orleans” -the team took Brill’s basic concept demos and transformed them through the step by step process sending him previews of each instrument as it was tracked all via email.  Together with the producers, Brill hand picked the instrumentation that would best fit the style and final product of the demos that he was going for. (more…)

Featured Artist: Stephen McElligott

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

How to avoid the pitfalls of your previous studio experiences—and vastly improve your chances to get your song published with major A&R representatives.

Stephen McElligott reminisces about a recording he made of one of his songs in a local studio. “I wasn’t happy with that production, really,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘Oh gosh, how am I gonna save this?’ I basically turned around and found Studio Pros and thought, ‘Brilliant, they’re my savior.’” (more…)

Featured Artist: English Earl

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Using Studio Pros to breathe new life into some old songs, English Earl successfully proved to himself that he had what it takes to make great music.

English Earl suspected he had some good songs on his hands, but he knew his productions just weren’t going to cut it against the high-quality recordings of today’s music industry. “I kind of wanted to resurrect my old pop songs and write a few new ones, I thought it would be a great opportunity to prove to myself that some of my pop music wasn’t so bad,” Earl says with a laugh. This “resurrection” refers to the fact that he has been writing pop music since he was a 15-year-old in a garage band, but formally Earl was classically trained on piano and violin. After getting degrees in music theory and composition from the Conservatory of Music in Kansas City, he had established his classical chops. But Earl wanted to see how his pop and rock writing had evolved.

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