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"One of Toronto's Best Indie Songwriters" - The Examiner

The Examiner, September 2014

In May 2014, musician Angela Saini was called, "One of Toronto's best indie songwriters" by Examiner as part of CMW. November 2013 Angela released her CD "Leap" and from that album are the videos "U-Turn" and "Something Like I'm Beautiful" (both online).


Angela Saini
John Meadows photography

On Thursday September 18, Angela will be performing as part of the "Bare Bones & Upfront" series at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. The series is the second showcase running 8 weeks and featured independent artists in stripped down format. That is, no frills, and the focus on the songs. Bare Bones is produced by Elana Harte and Kim Jarrett. Each night showcased 2 artists.

Angela Saini scheduled an online interview with Examiner in advance of her September 18 showcase.

Starting with the tour - How long was it and any highlights?

Angela Saini:
I was gone for 21 days. Some highlights on my days off: seeing 3 elk at Tunnel Mountain in Banff, accidentally stumbling upon Wreck Beach (clothing optional) in Vancouver, and seeing killer whales on the ferry to Victoria. Other highlights would be an awesome venue in Vancouver called Cafe Deux Soliels, a house concert in Calgary, and selling out of my first record "Cake and Callouses" on VIA Rail. Also on the train I had a "sold out show." Not that there is a charge for my shows on board, but it was so packed people were lined up outside the train car and sitting on the steps up to the dome. Standing room only, which is kinda crazy on a moving train!

Do you feel that atmosphere, and solo playing is a good preparation for the Bare Bones and Upfront show?

Angela Saini:
Absolutely. I tour mostly solo on my acoustic, so I am super pumped to bring that intimate vibe to such a beautiful space.

Have you been up to the gallery room at the Toronto Centre for the Arts?

Angela Saini:
Yes, it is a gorgeous room! I was fortunate to get a tour of the whole building.

With only 8 weeks of artists, 16 artists, how were you selected for the series?

Angela Saini:
I have known Lanrick Bennett Jr. (who is the Education Outreach Coordinator at Toronto Centre for the Arts) for a few years. The day I met him at a networking event he told me about an idea he had to showcase local songwriters... I guess a lot of time has passed and it's so awesome to see what the whole team has done with such a great series! I am grateful to be part of it.

As it's a series that focus' on the songwriting - what was your first introduction into songwriting?

Angela Saini:
When I was 15 I decided I wanted to be a singer. The next step was figuring out how I was going to be able to do that... learning guitar seemed like a good choice since it was a portable instrument. I convinced my parents to let me use my Birthday money to buy a guitar. Unlike a lot of guitarists, I was always making up my own songs, and progressions and chords right away... I found learning other people's songs really boring. I think I needed to create right away. I wrote my first song the day I picked up the guitar. That is not to say it was good!

Was there a point in time you can remember where you felt - I can do this and be a successful songwriter - musician ?

Angela Saini:
I think so. I started playing in a rock band shortly after the first guitar moment... really young. We ended up playing for 10 years, recording and touring a bunch and always progressing. There were moments of validation... showcasing in New York City in my early 20s was a really big moment for me. The momentum convinced us to re-locate to Toronto from Calgary, which is I think a big commitment to making a real go of being a "successful musician."

With the Bare Bones show being a ticketed one, do you expect it to change who your audience will be? as opposed to most of the standard cover charge/donation events you play in Toronto? (or is the appeal of the venue that matters)

Angela Saini:
I am really excited about the show as it is the first time I have ever been on Ticketmaster. I think that and the location of the venue (North York) is definitely catering to a different audience than my usual Queen St. W scene in some ways. Location is big; I have some supporters that live north of the city so this is close and convenient for some! It is a beautiful space, so for the folks who live south of the 401, I think it is a great reason to check out one of the performance gems of the city. That is why the whole series is so great. All-encompassing in a lot of ways. Get some of the down-towners uptown. You can take the TTC and be there in 20 minutes!

I am also super excited to play to a "listening room." I get to do that downtown too, but often I am playing in a noisy bar which is not appealing for an artist where lyrics are front and center to what I do.

After that show, what's next for you?

Angela Saini:
I am heading back to Europe! Netherlands, Germany and the UK in about two months. I have been invited to perform on The BBC in Leicester, where I have been getting a lot of airplay... and I couldn't be more excited!

Angela Saini: Bare Bones & Up Front
also featuring Spencer Burton
Toronto Centre for the Arts
5040 Yonge Street, Toronto
tickets available at Ticketmaster

London Free Press, June 2014

The Arts Guild, May 2014

HometownCalgary, AB

Music GenreFolk Pop

Year it all began: 2011

A quick introductionFresh off a Dutch tour overseas and three cross-Canada treks in the last year, Angela recently released her second EP “Leap.” Showcasing well-crafted songs about self-renewal, empowerment, love and life, Angela delves into humanistic and honest themes laden with catchy hooks and memorable melodies. Her first effort “Cake and Callouses” in 2012 garnered a Toronto Independent Music Award Nomination as well as a “Best Female Artist” nomination in the International Acoustic Music Awards. Whip up Feist, sprinkle in some Sheryl Crow, and top with a sour cherry candy; the result is “angelic vocals with just a little stomp.” (Cadence Canada Magazine)

What got you into music? I was singing from the womb. When I was 15 I saw an Amanda Marshall concert at The Calgary Stampede and decided right then I wanted to pursue singing as a career. I used my Birthday money to buy an acoustic guitar, taught myself a few chords and started a band that went for a decade, relocating me to Toronto in the process. A natural progression to go solo in recent years have kept me busy and I’ve never looked back!

What are your sources of inspiration? Sun, moon, clouds. In that order. A lot of “what-ifs” and deconstructing the world around me.

Dream gig? Playing Massey Hall, headlining my own tour that is live-streamed to a million people in 52 countries.

Your thoughts on Canadian Music Week? Super fun! This will be my 4th time taking part. No sleep. Music, music, more music!

Interesting points others don’t know about you? I am half Indian. (My dad was born in Delhi.)

The Examiner, November 2013

Photographer John Meadows describes Angela Saini as "an artist who understands the importance of story; every song of hers has a story" and Angela has truly taken the jump into exciting new avenues of life and music.

Included in her new directions are her recent European tour with Leo Sta and Piper Hayes, a new video release for the single "U-Turn", and the upcoming CD release party for "Leap" at Toronto's Rivoli on Queen St.

Angela took time out of her busy schedule to meet with on November 6 to chat about Leap, and other stories.

With a new CD finished, and the official video for "U-turn" available for viewing, life has been all about being busy, efficiency, and new things for Angela.

Starting with "U-Turn" the song is the first time Angela had co-written a song (with songwriters Emma-Lee and Karen Kosowski). Angela says she came up with the title of the song and the lyrics tell the story of life's many possibilities of heading down different paths in life.

"The video was shot over 3 days" with multiple locations. She also says Toronto music fans will spot the venue the Painted Lady as one of the set locations. The video director Mariana Osuna had never previously shot a music video, though with an impressive background in film, Angela entrusted her to the project. Osuna did the location scouting and other pre-production work while Angela was still on tour in Europe.

[We briefly chatted about the difference between authentic European Schnitzel and Canadian Schnitzel before discussing her European tour.]

"I love Holland. Everyone there speaks English."

When asked about her language skills, Angela said she had tried to make an effort to learn at least parts of the local languages while on tour in Europe. She describes a show she played in Venlo where the host of the event was welcoming. Having started the evening, she went up to the microphone and said "Hello" in the local dialect. With the audience perplexed at first she continued on to her set. Afterwards having learned the word for "goodbye" was what she had introduced herself with (the words being inverted in the local dialect).

With the upcoming CD release, Angela says she still manages to find time for all the other related music happenings. This year has seen her perform at well into a hundred events, book her own Canadian and European tours, manage funding for production work, answer emails, promote shows, and complete festival applications. She says she even has time for a "nap" on the rare occasion.

Normally performing solo or in a trio, Angela is bringing a full five-piece band to her CD release. She admits there is a more "honest" or perhaps raw performance solo on stage as much of her local, Canadian national, and European shows are.

Angela chose the Rivoli as the locale for her Toronto based release party for "Leap" as a somewhere different from the Drake Hotel, where her previous CD was released. Life always seems to head in new destinations for Angela.

Life with More Cowbell, November 2013

CCM_4pdigi Angela Saini
Angela Saini takes a leap of faith, life & love in upcoming EP Leap
Leap of faith. Leap of life. Leap of love. Singer/songwriter Angela Saini’s new EP Leap launches a week from today at the Rivoli.

In the five tracks on Leap – a fusion of pop, funk, Motown, blues and even a bit of alt country – Saini has created a narrative that takes the listener across a lifetime of relationships, including those with lovers/partners and with oneself. “U Turn” opens the record, with a funky pop vibe that comes into the chorus. “You can run away / Change your mind / It’s okay to cross that line” makes for a strong, upbeat anthem about getting out of a rut and turning your life around. “There’s so much more” than a shout out to retail therapy in “Little Black Dress.” It’s a nice follow-up to “U Turn,” with its encouraging call to do something nice for yourself – a celebration of self and positive body image that puts aside magazine images and societal imposition.

“You’re Just That Guy” is a kind of a cheerful break-up song, and feels like a natural segue from the first two tracks into the latter half of the EP, as we follow this evolution of life, self and relationship. This time, she’s out and gone, and moving on – going out into the night with a renewed sense of adventure. The tone here is playful, sexy and sassy. “Stay Here With Me” has so much soul, as Saini sings of new love and connection, and that feeling of wanting to hang on and not let go. The final track, “Something Like I’m Beautiful,” has the sense of an older, long-time love that’s become taken for granted. This is my favourite track on Leap, and one that I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Saini perform live with just her guitar backing her up. It’s a bluesy/pop/alt country vibe, and a vulnerable, honest plea to be acknowledged – this is someone who longs to feel special in the eyes of her lover/partner again.
Saini’s vocals are strong and soulful, yet warm and light – and she’s not afraid of bringing a bit of mischief or vulnerability into the performance, giving her lyrics exactly the tone they need. Leap is a collection of catchy tunes that move the listener, both physically and emotionally. Joining Saini on Leap are Tony Rabalao (drums), Sarah Giles (bass), Tony Gare (guitar), Thomas McKay (guitar & keys), John Britton (percussion) and Vanessa James-Locke (back-up vox).

Toronto is Awesome, Scene and Heard, Vol. 62, December 2013

Toronto’s Angela Saini has just released her second EP “Leap,” writing about songs of self-renewal, empowerment, love and life. Angela delves into humanistic and honest themes combined with catchy hooks and memorable melodies. The title of the EP “Leap” was named after committing to the recording process without knowing how she was going to finance it. The album was produced by Thomas McKay (Joydrop, Nightcrawlers) and involved a successful fan-funding campaign. Comparing her musical style to Feist and Sheryl Crow, this singer/songwriter has just got off a Canadian tour Via Rail and her first tour of the Netherlands. I got a chance to chat with Saini about her new EP and things she loves about Toronto.

F: Congrats on your new album Leap. Where was it recorded and tell me a bit about the process.
I recorded Leap at Revolution and Exeter Sound Studios with producer Thomas McKay. I did a fan-funding campaign to cover costs of recording while simultaneously making the record. It was a crazy busy schedule but extremely fulfilling. Making and recording music is awesome fun! I have a lot of people to thank for helping to make it happen.

F: I find that albums often represent a chapter of time in a person’s life. What was the theme around this album?                                                                    
Say Yes. Go for it. You can do anything. Songs revolving around self-renewal, love and life.

F: Why LEAP?
That is what I did! I returned from an L.A. trip a year ago with the motive to record and I had no idea how I was going to do it. I put the intention out there and within 3 weeks I had solidified the producer, studio, players, timeline and budget. The only thing left to the universe was how I was going to pull it off!

F: Hope your current Canadian tour is going well. Why did you choose to travel via Rail and how’s it going?                                                                                                  Thanks! This is the fourth time I have performed on VIA Rail on “The Canadian” and it is the most fun way to travel west. I play for the passengers on the train, make friends, eat a lot, sleep, sell CDs and most importantly look out the window and appreciate this amazing and huge country! I have made friends all over Canada and have a great relationship with the folks at VIA. Super fun. My Alberta shows have went well so far, including a sold-out show in Calgary. I will be heading back east for shows in Peterborough, Ottawa, and Montreal.

F: You recently came back from performing some shows in Europe. Was this your first time? How does it compare to Canada touring besides the shorter drives between cities?                               
I recently came back from my first international tour to The Netherlands. Europe is very compact compared to Canada which is a huge plus when you are trying to hit a bunch of cities. The transportation systems are very efficient and I appreciated that immensely. There are a few different customs that you have to get used to, (for example, paying for tap water and restroom facilities) but I really appreciated that almost everyone in Holland speaks English. I did not find that in Germany and Austria. Language is big.

F: What would you recommend to anyone performing overseas?                                                    
Have a tour manager that speaks the language. Even if it’s a friend, it will make your travel, shows, and everything in between that much smoother. Being that far from home in a foreign place is already hard as an artist, so make sure you have someone with you at all times that knows exactly where you are and where you are going next! As an artist that books and executes most of my own tours, I really appreciated not having to worry about the details.

F: What are 3 must album haves on your ipod/computer?                                                             
Right now I can’t get enough of all my Arcade Fire albums (Reflektor is awesome.) I never leave for a trip without Rilo Kiley (my favourite is Under the Blacklight) and Bon Iver is often on repeat.

F: A musician’s life is both rewarding and stressful. What do you do to keep sane?
Yoga is my lifeline.

F: If you had to collaborate with one Toronto band, who would it be and why?                            
I absolutely love Public Animal. I saw them at NXNE this year and am hooked. Badass riffs and awesome harmonies.

F: As a singer, are you careful with your diet such as eliminating acidic foods and dairy or do you consume the same foods you have always had?                        On show days, I do avoid dairy as much as possible and am pretty strict about not eating 2-3 hours before I hit the stage. I also don’t drink beer or eat spicy foods before I sing. Any other time, I eat whatever and whenever I want!

F: Top 3 artists that have inspired you in your life?                                                         
Amanda Marshall: at a concert at the Calgary Stampede when I was 14, I had an epiphany that I wanted to be a professional singer. That led me to starting a rock band that I fronted for over a decade. Foo Fighters: their first 4 albums were very influential to me; their live set and stage transitions are legendary and I took ideas from their shows in terms of set list and flow in concert. (I have seen them 7 times!) Death Cab for Cutie: the songwriting from this band, from clever lyrics, memorable melodies, emotional nuances and singable guitar licks drive me to write better and better songs.

F: Favourite place to eat in Toronto?                                                                                          
Two Bite Saloon on Bloor. Yum. In two bites or less.

F: Favourite thing about the city                                                                                                     
I can eat any food from anywhere in the world and see live original music any night of the week!

F: Favourite hang out in TO?                                                                                                   
The Drake Hotel.

Rapid fire:
F: Sneaky Dees Nachos or Hey Meatball Spaghetti?


F: Queen or College St?

F: Trinity Bellwoods or Highpark?
High Park

F: Early bird or night owl?
Night Owl

F: What are your thoughts of today’s age of downloading free music’s purchasing music.
I get it. Don’t practice it myself.

F: What do you think of physical vs digital album sales? Do you have a preference? Are CD’s almost extinct?
I thought they were and was pleasantly surprised to realize that physical CD sales are alive and well in certain demographics. I personally do not collect physical CDs. I prefer the digital counterpart for my own musical consumption, but avoid MP3s when I can because they sound terrible.

F: What is one fact people about you that people wouldn’t expect?                                                         
I am half Indian. My father was born in New Delhi.

F: What’s next for Angela Saini?
World Domination.

Canadian Music Week, March 2013

Getting to know Angela Saini: A Fresh Collective Q&A:

When did you start pursuing music as a passion? What sparked it?
When I was 14, I had an epiphany at an Amanda Marshall concert. I realized that I wanted to make people feel the way I did that day. I had always been singing but it wasn’t until that day that I became obsessed with the idea of performing as my life. That same summer I taught myself how to play guitar.

What is your favourite song you’ve written? What is it about? How did it come to be?
Favourites change for me with each record and era of my career. Right now it is “Something Like I’m Beautiful” which will be on my new EP. It is the most honest, stripped-down lyric I have written in a long time. I feel like even the most confident woman can relate to it in some way.

What is your relationship to fashion? What does it mean to you?
Fashion is a way to express yourself and who you are. While clothes never define someone, I think fashion is a tool to a deeper expression of the inner beauty of an individual.

As a local artist, what do you love most about Toronto? What about Canada?
I moved to this city with my band at the time. It was a huge chance that I took, leaving my whole family out west. Even though I was homesick at first, I am so grateful that I did because this city is amazing. It is vibrant, alive, colourful and full of opportunity. Canada is an amazing country and I feel so proud and grateful for this land every time I hit the road. It is also gigantic!

Is there a woman in your life that really moves and inspires you? Who is she and why?
It’s a little cliche but my mom. I am grateful to her for teaching me the meaning of hard work and never giving up. Growing up with entrepreneurial parents and starting to work at a young age in the family business will always be a part of who I am. I learned really early how to go for what you want and to not be afraid to get my hands dirty.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I played in a rock band for a long time with a bunch of dudes, I was a bit of a musical “tomboy”. I started wearing heels 2 years ago and have never looked back! Thanks for the opportunity to wear these beautiful clothes. All the dresses I have found in the store make me feel pretty! ;)

NXNE Music Festival, June 2013. Interview with the Examiner

Having missed out on last year's NXNE while in Europe, Angela Saini has ensured that this year, her Western Canada tour would finish up on time for NXNE 2013. Originally from Calgary, Angela now calls Toronto home, bringing her solo acoustic and full band pop sounds to stages of all sizes. Her current CD is titled, "Cake and Callouses" with a new CD "Leap" nearing its official release date.

Following NXNE, Angela Saini has an East Cost Canada tour, a European tour, and a trip to Nashville.
While still on tour, Angela scheduled an interview with about her Toronto NXNE showcase.

Let's chat about the tour. Hopefully it's going well. How many tour stops have you made, and how many to go?
I am 5 shows in, not including my 17 performances with VIA Rail. I have 4 more to go until I hit Toronto again.

As you've been touring, how has the audience response been so far?
Really good! My favourite solo show so far was in Victoria. It was a very unassuming coffee bar, but the crowd turnout and response was so positive and just good vibes all around. I love that place (starting to plan my retirement there, haha). I also have to include my show in Calgary with a full band. 3 members of my old band Supernal, and we hadn't hit the stage together for 7 years. And an old high school friend filled it out as a 4 piece. It was totally a high school reunion and such a blast!

You're travelling with the "Cake and Callouses" CD?
Yes. I am in the process of sending out the advance copies of my new EP "Leap" before I release it this fall. That was part of the deal with my fan-funding campaign, so I have to make sure all my contributors get their copies before anyone else!

What can you tell people about the differences between the 1st CD and the upcoming one? Was there an evolution in the songwriting? Material you wanted to record the first time around? Better sense of going into the studio?
It was pretty different in a lot of ways. With "Cake and Callouses" I was recording a collection of songs I had pre-demoed with my friend (and Tragically Hip drummer) Johnny Fay over a long period and I had way more time to think about what songs to record, and the writing of them was over a longer period of time. This time around I decided to record some tunes that were co-writes (one with Emma-Lee/ Karen Kosowski, and one with Frazer Mac) and two were songs I had finished less than a month before we hit the studio.

Another big difference was "Cake and Callouses" was produced by long-time collaborator Tony Gare (who produced my old band Supernal and Drive Faster records) which was a very different experience than "Leap," which was produced by Tom McKay, someone who I have known for a little while but have never worked with before. We had a quick recording pace and just got it done. The first time around we took our time, all in all it was about 8 months compared to 1 and a half.

I think "Leap" is a little more focused in the songwriting, perhaps a little more mature or thought out. The first time around I just recorded the songs I liked that were the strongest, not necessarily which would sound the most unified in sound.

As far as NXNE, FreeTimes is very much a "listening room" and I believe you're starting off the night (no pressure here). What are you doing to prepare for the evening?
Well I am excited to have a warm-up show with the band on Tuesday, June 11th at C'est What? as the first show back from my tour. That will be fun.
I played Free Times for my CMW showcase this year and really enjoyed the room. You could hear a pin drop while I was playing and that can be rare in a lot of the Toronto venues that I play.
I am feeling pretty prepared since I have played a lot this month and also have some new material that I may premiere at the show. With the band it takes some coordination and rehearsal but when I play solo anything goes and it is fun to get the feedback and exhilaration of sharing something brand new.

For folks who've never heard you play before, how would you express to them, what to expect at an Angela Saini show? What to expect at C'est What, then Free Times in June?
I describe my music as rootsy folk-pop. I have some emotional songs, really upbeat and positive songs, and some that are in between. I like to tell stories in my music. I have a little sprinkle of country, but consider myself a songwriter with pop sensibilities. I like songs with a catchy chorus.
Angela Saini and the Residence is me and some talented folks that play with me as a full band. Same songs but with full instrumentation. That will be the C'est What? show on Tuesday, June 11th at 9pm. My solo show feels more intimate and stripped down, and I trade in my hollow-body electric guitar for an acoustic. You can expect that at Free Times on Saturday, June 15th at 8pm.
"Life with More Cowbell" CD Release Party live review @ The Drake Hotel
April 5, 2012

When I got home from the Drake last night to post a quick tweet before I shuffled off to bed, I have to admit, I was at a loss for words (and those of y’all who know me know that this happens only very rarely). In the end, I came up with “amazing, soulful sounds” – but that doesn’t come nearly close enough to describing Angela Saini and her music.

Was out with my pal Kat Leonard again last night, this time meeting at the Drake Underground for Saini’s Cakes and Callouses EP release gig. I caught the end of Jessica Bundy’s set – lovely, lyrical acoustic sounds. Jessica was followed by the driving beat of Mushy Callahan. Then, there was Angela Saini and the Residence.

First, loved their look – all the gals (three-quarters of the band) were in dresses, each wearing feathery fuchsia earrings (which, I learned later from Angela, was a total coincidence – they had a colour scheme of black and pink and that was it) and J.B. the drummer was looking very dapper in a navy v-neck sweater with white shirt and tie. Kat said it best when she said their look reminded her of Josie and the Pussycats – except with a dude on drums. Bottom line – these folks were stylin’. And, jitters aside, their presentation was confident, professional – and they were having fun together.

Angela Saini and the Residence served up an amazing set of kicky pop (like Keeping Score) and soulful ballads (my fave: Close to You – makes me so wanna slow dance with someone special, as yet to be determined), all Saini originals on the Cakes and Callouses EP, with the added treat of new song Stay Here with Me (another fave of mine, which you can find on Saini’s website). Saini, who also plays guitar, has incredible vocal range, easily tackling both punchy pop and heartfelt ballads, with an amazing stage presence – adorably charming, fun, and including her band and the audience on her journey. The Residence is the perfect musician team for Saini: J.B. keeping the beat, Vanessa James-Locke on keys and back-up vocals, Sarah Giles on bass (she even got a stand-up out for a tune) and special guest Neil Cameron on fiddle for the latter part of the set.

Saini is off on Saturday for a Toronto to Vancouver VIA train gig, with some dates out west before she returns to Toronto – and to the Residence – and a May 15 gig at the Horseshoe Tavern at 10 p.m. If you live in B.C. or Alberta, check out her upcoming April dates on her website.

Give Angela Saini and the Residence a listen. You won’t be sorry, I promise.

“Probably going to be stuck in my head for the rest of the day”

-Alan Cross,
(TV and radio personality, veteran music historian and commentator)
Response to "Dear Diary"
Oct. 15, 2011 at INDIE WEEK Listening Panel

Helium Album Reviews -May 22, 2012
Jason Daniel Baker

Tall, dark and supermodel pretty Angela Saini is a Canadian recording artist and singer-songwriter with a rare star quality. Born and raised in Calgary she was able to re-connect with past contacts resulting in a very successful spring 2012 tour in support of the release of her debut solo recording - a six-track EP entitled 'Cake and Callouses' produced by Tony Gare, lead guitarist in 'Drive Faster' a band in which she remains lead singer and keyboardist.
Ms.Saini was only too happy to relate some of her experiences in the production of the recording which included the participation of notable musician friends and colleagues.

"I had these songs kicking around and I kept writing more and more and really wanted to do my own thing and was playing a lot of solo shows. Once I started recording demos of my songs with Johnny Fay (Tragically Hip) I really started seeing the record taking shape... it was great that Tony was willing and capable of producing it. He had produced Frame of Mind (Drive Faster) as well and has an amazing ear and a lot of patience and skill. After we had recorded the bed tracks at Turtleshell Studio we could really take some time with it and explore the musical landscape. My live band played their parts but Tony and I (and some other special guests including Moe Berg) were able to bring new ideas to the songs. That is the beauty of working in a home studio. You have the time to try things and bring the music to new heights. The record took about 8 months from demos to the final master and I am really happy to share it... you cannot have the cake without the callouses." Says Saini.

She performed solo with just her guitar on her train ride back to Toronto as part of the highly acclaimed VIA Rail On Board performance series. She remains a bigger name out west but after re-locating to Toronto a few years back her following is now growing across the central part of the country. Shows she has done in the Toronto area feature a backing band called 'The Residence'.

'Cake and Callouses' is Saini's musical statement offering gentle, wistful and ethereal introspection on girlish adolescence with mostly upbeat chords and vocal cadences. It is seemingly a very personal document at times detailing a sense of arrival at a new stage in life expressed most explicitly in the track 'New Canvas' - the second track of the EP.

The opening track 'Dear Diary' was nominated for a 2010 International Acoustic Music Award. This title and its order of placement on the EP will seem apropos to some of us as it signals the beginning of when people take time to look back and evaluate both actions and inactions - selves past, selves present and signs of future selves, evaluations and affirmations.

'Keeping Score' relates the experience of confronting a high school rival and is of the most serious statements on the album. It suggests that the only way to resolve some conflicts is to leave them behind.

Some criticisms have suggested that the lyrics are overly simplistic and even perhaps facile, an assertion only valid if one happens to overlook an artists' continual efforts to find a common language with an audience. The vocabulary of lyrics is different from the vocabulary used in print journalism for the obvious reason that lyrics go with music requiring a certain rhythm. The rhythm of the words and that of the music are thus an aural melange.
'Cake and Callouses' and its six tracks are now available for purchase on iTunes.