Mississauga indie rocker on a mission

photo courtesy geoff mclean


Basia Lyjak will be plugging her latest EP, Writings On The Wall, during a performance at the MQMusic Fest this weekend.

She’s got Janis Joplin’s purse, Veruca Salt-like vocals and a full-steam ahead attitude that harks back to the rock ’n’ roll heydays.

Singer-songwriter Basia Lyjak is an indie artist on a mission: to get on the road and promote her recently released second self-funded EP Writings On The Wall.

After performing at the NXNE festival this past June, the petite brunette will take the stage at the Phoenix for the MQMusic Fest 2007 this Sunday.

Lyrics scribbled on cigarette packs, an answering machine full of recorded melodies and a team of accomplished musicians supporting her are just a few of the tell-tale signs of Lyjak’s passion and determination.

“Some people say I have Janis Joplin’s purse,” laughs the Mississauga-based musician, explaining her lyric-laden handbag.

“The majority of the time lyrics and melodies are mainly written before I write songs.”

However, a new direction for her is to write to guitar.

Ron Bechard, Lyjak’s guitarist (who formerly worked with Edwin, also on the bill), says: “I can get an idea and start playing a chord structure … and she has the ability to lay down vocals over top — it just comes out naturally.”

Collaboration is huge for Lyjak, who is currently in writing sessions with Kyle Riabko, an accomplished guitarist who has toured with acts such as John Mayer and Buddy Guy. With his help, she hopes to release a full-length album in 2008.

“It’s a beautiful thing to see how two people’s emotions can meld together and make something really f------ great,” she says on the topic of collaboration.

In the meantime, Lyjak’s self-described “chick rock” has landed her on the future cover of the new Jimmy Stilettos magazine, a printed extension of International Online Music Magazine (IOM). Due out in October, the Alberta-based publication will feature 30 of the top indie artists worldwide with a complementary online music platform where fans can download MP3s.

“I think (publicity) is the hardest part for an indie artist,” explains Lyjak, who got her first “break” nearly 10 years ago in an all girl group called Aphrodisia. “If you really want to live your dream, you have to plow away … because no one’s going to do it for you.”

That said, the bubbly yet business-minded singer says she is the happiest she’s ever been and is “achieving everything I dreamed of as a young kid.”

Bechard adds: “If a label doesn’t see it, they’re asleep at the wheel as far as I’m concerned … ’cause this is going to happen either or.”

see it live ...

  • Catch Basia Lyjak at the Phoenix Concert Theatre this Sunday. She hits the stage at 6:50 p.m.