Photo Credit: Jen Squires
Right now we can only hope Angela Saini is getting some rest as she just got done playing in the Netherlands at the Eurosonic Festival this past weekend. Just another notch in the achievement belt for this singer-songwriter who has taken being on the outside her whole life and put that energy into her latest single, “Black Sheep.” A song that most of us can relate to on a level like no other. We talked at length not only about that feeling, but hope, the future, and more.
Kendra: Listening to you, I got a real Lilith Fair vibe. Was that a festival you were able to attend growing up. If not, were those the artists that made you want to get into music?
Angela Saini: I never went to Lilith Fair but I definitely remember it. So many amazing artists all in one place, supporting each other and working together. I certainly loved Sarah McLachlan growing up, and Sheryl Crow, Jewel, and particularly Fiona Apple really influenced me even before I became a rocker in high school. Her voice just made me want to become a singer.
Kendra: While your overall vibe is this positive folk with lovely pop notes, “Black Sheep” had this country feel to it. Do you ever find yourself in between genres?
Angela Saini: Yes, I do. It would be great if every artist fit easily into one genre, but I know I’m not easy. I have so many influences from my career so far that perhaps I sound like all of them in some way. I have the country and stomp from my upbringing in the prairies being born and raised in Calgary, the ”band” vibe from years fronting a rock band, and the comfort of folk music from picking up the acoustic guitar at age 15.
For this album, I made a conscious decision to create a more roots/ Americana sound, which ultimately came from recording with my live band this time. “Black Sheep” has certainly gotten that response, even more than I expected. I guess I do sing “cowboy boots” in the chorus! No matter the genre, at the end of the day all I want to hear is a catchy melody and some nice harmonies.
Kendra: I’m just saying, country is not a bad genre to get into. Those artists seem to tour year round. Speaking of, you had some dates as 2018 closed. What’s up with your tour schedule in 2019? Will you be heading out of Canada?
Angela Saini: I am planning to tour Europe more in 2019 and 2020 as well as across Canada starting this spring with the album release. I just booked my first big folk festival literally today, so I hope to fill my summer calendar with more of those. (fingers crossed!)
Kendra: Back to “Black Sheep.” It’s a wonderful song about embracing who you are. Was that something you had to discover with age or were you always okay being outside the herd?
Angela Saini: There are some ways I have always been set apart even from a young age. With a mixed-race heritage, I grew up being somehow different no matter where I was, whether it was shopping at the mall with my brown-skinned Indian father or attending a Hindu celebration as a child. I was also very smart when I was a young child (not bragging!) so certain subjects in school I would have to leave the classroom and do advanced independent study somewhere else.
I didn’t realize how much that affected my feelings about “fitting in” until very recently. Maybe that’s why I resonate with it so much. Life is too short to care what other people think. Dance to the beat of your own drum!
Kendra: Who was behind the lively, animated video?
Angela Saini: Derek Mok is the illustrator and director for the video. This is my second time working with him. He directed the music video for my single “Here I Go Again” in 2016 and this time we really wanted to do something different. Derek drew all of the scenes and conceptualized the personality of the “Black Sheep.” The lead character is really just a cool badass that everyone wants to root for. I think it turned out really well!
Kendra: “Black Sheep” can be heard on your sophomore album Hope on the Stereo. If you had to compare the album to a venue to Toronto, what would it be and why?
Angela Saini: It’s a little like the Dakota Tavern. The album has some southern feel and definitely a little stomp, so it is a good fit. You have to go down some stairs in order to be surprised by a warm, colourful and brightly lit stage.
Kendra: In recent weeks have you heard a song on the radio or in passing that has indeed given you a sense of hope?
Angela Saini: That is a great question! It’s from earlier this year but “The Joke” by Brandi Carlile. What a powerful song and anthem.
Kendra: Overall you have a very beautiful outlook on life that you deliver through song. Where does that positive spirit come from?
Angela Saini: I think I have been loving life since the day I was born. That doesn’t mean I don’t cry, hurt, scream and frown. But somewhere along my path, I realized that every moment is a choice. And the more I wrote about that, the more I put my own courage out there in front of others, the more it resonated and now it drives me.
Kendra: Lastly, can you tell us what you have going on right now?
Angela Saini: I just came back from some Ontario tour dates, and have been planning the artwork for the album. I’m also planning the next single (there will be one more before the album!) and shooting the music video. Somewhere in there, I will fill in the holidays before I head to Europe. I can’t wait to share what I have been cooking up. This album has been quite a journey and I’m finally going to be sharing it soon!