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Madisyn Whajne – Photo Credit: JenSquires
It’s really not that often that we catch wind of indigenous artists, whether they be from the US, north of the border or further stateside. Today presents the opportunity to shine the figurative spotlight on one First Nations artist from Ontario who presents a crossover blend between pop and indie rock with hooks as catchy as they come. Fans of such artists as The Primitives, Alvvays, Suzanne Vega and Echobelly will warm to the embracing vocals and lyrical style of Madisyn Whajne.
Based out of Toronto, Whajne (pronounced Wayne) is a singer-songwriter whose story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. She was one of tens of thousands of native kids removed from their families by the federal government and ‘adopted’ by non-native families. As a result, Whajne grew up without knowing her real name, to say nothing of her heritage. Not surprisingly, her life has been shaped by a hunger for truth and understanding, a yearning that lies at the core of her forthcoming debut album Save Our Hearts.
We have the pleasure of premiering ‘Sweet Talk’, offering a taster of what’s to come and following up her ‘Summer Love’ single.
In the retro-themed video clip, we see Madisyn Whajne lounging on her bed, listening to a vinyl platter spinning ‘round in a vintage record player. Soon she gets lost in the music and dreams about meeting a sweetly enticing lover. Her reveries are intercut with footage of Madisyn Whajne performing in silhouette against a glowing red screen…
This long-play was recorded live to tape with engineers Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, The Barr Brothers) and Shae Brossard (Bahamas, The Dears) at Montreal’s famed Hotel2Tango Studio.
Inspired by bands like the Go Go’s and the Vaccines, Whajne’s music blends elements of such artists as Alvvays, Snail Mail, Rilo Kiley and Real Estate. With indie pop vibes and a mildly alternative edge that would win her a comfortable place among Canada’s best music talent, Whajne’s music is upbeat, fun and infectious. Making great music as a form of resilience, her music is grounding while also offering the listener genuine pleasure. This is pristine pop music.
Whajne’s band is comprised of longtime friends—producer Jay McBride on bass, James Gray (of Soft Set) on guitar, and her husband Bobby Bulat (of Basia Bulat) on drums. While Whajne rarely wears her emotions and details her life journey in explicit narrative terms, her story is written between the lines in this LP as she navigates love and trust, reunion and rejection, faith and fate.
“’Sweet Talk’ was the first song I wrote for this record. It started as a sad love song, but after bringing it to the band it took on a new meaning. Not one where I sat with my sadness and longing, but instead where I took some power back; to remind myself that I can still stand tall in the face of adversity and loss. Whether we are left heart broken or not… all of our hearts keep beating,” says Madisyn Whajne.
“This video was shot over two nights with my good friends Laura Keightley, David Gruer and Bobby Bulat. The original concepts for all my videos changed due to the pandemic, so I had to keep an open mind and be willing to go with the flow. Laura and David are both really talented Art Directors and they turned an average living room and bedroom into two really fun sets. Laura directed this one and I am so happy with how it turned out. We were shooting test shots on a Friday night and ended up using them for most of the video! I have had to really push myself out of my comfort zones and let me tell you, playing guitar on a bed outfitted with oversized cushions was no easy task… but we had fun doing it and I think it shows.”
‘Sweet Talk’ is out now, available across online stores such as Apple Music and streaming platforms like Spotify. It can also be ordered directly from the artist via Bandcamp. The full Save Our Hearts album will be released on December 11.
Also check out her single ‘Summer Love’, released several months ago.