— BBC Radio - Leicester
The state of being in-between—the place where things are not clearly defined is where true self-knowledge is derived. When you don’t fit in, you define yourself on your own terms. Singer-songwriter Angela Saini is bi-racial and a crossover country-pop artist who has forged her identity through unflinching positivity and empowering ideals. Today, the Toronto-based country folk-pop artist will issue a series of singles seeding a path to her sophomore album.
“I am known for positive songs, but a lot of these were written in dark states. My life isn’t ponies and rainbows, but I write myself out of the sadness,” Angela says. “In every moment we have a choice. I choose to uplift myself and bring people along with me. ”
Angela sweeps people away with instantly-memorable, toe-tapping pop infused with storyteller sing-alongs about courage and finding joy in surprising places. Her Calgary, Canada upbringing—a hotbed of country music—and her Garth Brooks obsession, always informs her instantly memorable songcraft. After all, you can take the girl out of the prairie, but you can’t take the prairie out of the girl.
The Examiner has gushed Angela is “one of Toronto's best indie songwriters,” Celebmix has described her as “Empowering with a little kick,” and BBC radio has called her “massively talented.” She’s been on regular rotation at CBC Radio, Stingray, and Sirius XM across North America. In 2020, Angela had the distinction of being an Independent Music Award Finalist for “Best Alt Country,” and, in 2017, she became a Toronto Independent Music Award winner. Select onstage career highlights include tours throughout Canada, Germany, England, and the Netherlands. In addition, Angela has performed at festivals including Home County in London, and The Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Angela was born into an immigrant family that ingrained in her hardworking, bootstrap ethos. Her mother hailed from a tiny mountain town in Austria, and her Indian father was born in Delhi. Both parents moved to Canada to chase their dreams when they were just teens. “They left their homes when my mom was 15 and my dad was 17. Their stories are so empowering—they inspire me,” Angela affirms. She continues: “My parents instilled in me the idea that even if there is no clear path for the career or life you want, you take the risk and do it anyway.”
Angela was one of those rare talents that sang before they could speak. At the age of 15, she saw Canadian pop icon Amanda Marshall in concert at The Calgary Stampede, and her destiny was unveiled in front of her. “It was a lightbulb moment, for sure. I loved her music, but I also really loved how I felt seeing her—how she made people feel,” Angela recalls. That same year, Angela bought a guitar with her birthday money, and, thus, began her songwriting journey. By the time she was 16, Angela was a semi-professional musician in a young rock band. A few years later, she made the leap to move to Toronto with her band. “We were passionate, and put our money where our mouth was,” she says.
That band toured tirelessly and issued four indie releases before Angela stepped out with her first solo EP in 2012. Her solo material caught the attention of Tragically Hip drummer Johnny Fay who worked with Angela during the demos and pre-production for her debut EP, Cake and Callouses. She since released another EP, 5 singles, a live album, and her debut full-length, Hope on the Stereo. The solo journey continues on her latest singles, “In It For The Ride,” and “It’s Ok.”
The sassy “In It For The Ride” is a country-pop rocker that bursts with big hooks, sunny harmonies, and thoughtful messaging. The song was written before the pandemic, but it epitomizes hope while living through challenging moments where you just want to give up. One choice passage is: Roadblock up ahead, my tires spent/This journey’s already felt so long/Many delays, construction for days/Should I turn around instead/But I’ll never know what’s around the bend. The song offers forth an “it’s always darkest before dawn” reminder. “’In It For The Ride’ song has double meanings, and one interpretation is my music career. I am a lifer, and this isn’t about an end goal, it’s about a journey,” Angela says.
Angela has toured, recorded, and grinded it out because sharing with others positivity and understanding has been her musical mission. “When you write a song, and it resonates with people, it’s always worth it to travel 2,000 kilometers to play it,” Angela says. “We heal together.”
-By Lorne Behrman