The Sound Cafe
Toronto-Based Singer-Songwriter Angela Saini Assures 'It’s Ok' With New Self-Acceptance Anthem
When you don’t fit in, you define yourself on your own terms.
Angela Saini an Indian-Austrian Canadian and a crossover country-pop artist. The singer-songwriter has forged her identity through unflinching positivity and empowering ideals. While she has experienced some incredible success, being known for her positive and uplifting music through her debut album and two popular EPs, her success has come as a result of some of her darkest moments.
The Toronto-based country folk-pop artist is issuing a series of singles seeding a path to her sophomore album, the first being sunny pop country anthem “In It for The Ride” which was released this fall.
“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.”
The newest single, self-acceptance anthem, “It’s Ok,” is lushly layered with pedal steel guitar and ethereal textures, but also grounded by a jaunty pop-rock groove. “It’s Ok” showcases Angela further nurturing her crossover appeal by sneaking in a rapped passage on the tune. Here, the rhythmic cadence makes the song’s meaning more impactful. Overall, the lyrics on “It’s Ok” are cathartic because they give you permission to just admit things are hard, and not try to force positivity or change your circumstances in a fake or forced way. Angela sings: It’s okay to have hard days/It’s okay to not want to win, let alone play/No need to answer why/The roller coaster proves you’re still alive. “It’s Ok” was written for Angela’s friend and collaborator Derek who passed away unexpectedly, but it also applies to pandemic depression.
“That’s the most personal song I’ve written,” Angela says. “Sometimes we don’t know what to do with sadness and depression, and I want people to know it’s fine to crawl into a ball — it’s okay not to be okay,” she says.
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. “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.”