Basia Lyjak

Basia Lyjak

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN

“Basia Lyjak is forcefully knockin' on fame's door & tell you what - it's about to open up! Basia's a natural & when you hear her you'll understand what we mean! Fans of No Doubt, QOTSA, Veruca Salt & other gritty acts will totally dig Basia’s powerful vocals & catchy compositions.” -

Band Press

Basia Lyjak 'Rockin Out' – D.A.M. Magazine, Issue 13, February 2010

Canadian rock singer Basia Lyjak has a sound that is being broadcasted internationally through social networking sites. Even with the new direction music has taken, Basia has a foundation that makes her sound unique. Since 2002 the artists has been bringing music to the masses and is currently working a project to help the people of Haiti. Basia sat down with Corinne Lyons of D.A.M. magazine to talk about the project, her music and her inspiration.

D.A.M.: What first got you into music?

Basia: Listening to my Grandfather sing; his voice was just beautiful! He didn't play an instrument but he sang old Polish folk songs to me at a very early age, and the emotion in his delivery is what I remember most - it's what I project today as a vocalist. I wish I could thank him for giving me that passion; it's not something you can just pull out of your a**!

D.A.M.: Who did you listen to growing up?

Basia: I grew up listening to a huge spectrum of music in the form of my dad's record collection, and I just soaked it all up like a sponge. He had records ranging from Roy Orbison, Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath and Elvis to Motown... anything from the 50's to the 70's. My family had a massive influence on what I listened to from my older sister to my uncle and the neighbors across the street. D.A.M.: Why did you want to become a music artist?

Basia: Madonna! That woman gave me the drive to want to sell records, play stadiums and have balls in this business. She came to town to play a show (The Virgin Tour) and my mom bought me tickets for my birthday. I was freaking out because I had watched the videos, played her records over and over and I wanted to see the real deal live. I will never forget the moment she walked out on the stage, the lights went up and the show began, and from that moment I knew that I wanted to be in this business.

D.A.M.: Why is music so important to you?

Basia: It's what keeps me going every day. I live, breathe, sleep and dream music; it's very deep and intimate the feeling. I believe it heals people, and the fact that it's universally understood speaks volumes.

D.A.M.: Who are your main influences now?

Basia: For me, I'm usually influenced by the song itself rather than by the person performing it. When I was younger I had my idols but now I have come to realize it's all about the song and sometimes the artists/bands performing that song aren't the ones who wrote it. I don't believe in writing genre specific anymore.

D.A.M.: How would you compare your style to those of mainstream artists?

Basia: Again, it's about the song. I have a lot of different styles that I incorporate into my music and so does everyone else. Style is a fabricated term that industry uses to define and market artists. People are downloading what they like now and it's safe to say that most iPods have a huge array of music on them because people can choose what they want to listen to by the click of a button. I think artists would benefit by releasing great songs in general, instead of trying to release great songs strictly within their genre.

D.A.M.: If you could collaborate with any artist dead or alive who would it be and why?

Basia: If I could collaborate with Jeff Buckley and Michael Jackson that would be the ultimate. They had that truth and passion that comes from some inexplicable, ethereal place, and you're left speechless and winded at the end of a song. I would also have to say that Corey Taylor (Slipknot/Stone Sour) falls into that same level. I would love to collaborate with him one day. It would be Epic!

D.A.M.: If you weren't performing music what would you be doing?

Basia: Probably teaching music to parents and children. My family comes from an old school mentality that music is just for entertainment and that it is not something to take seriously as a career path. I feel that that attitude is changing, and families are more apt to encourage their kids to pursue music and art as seriously as they would any other, more traditional discipline. I'd want to be part of instilling that initial passion in kids, like my grandfather did for me.

D.A.M.: Do you ever see yourself moving out of performing and into another industry such as acting or modeling?

Basia: I would like to do it all. I especially can see myself down the road going back to my roots in musical theatre. I would love to be in a Broadway musical. I love the acting and musical element in how the story is told.

D.A.M.: What are some projects you are working on currently? When can fans expect those to come out?

Basia: I am writing a lot at the moment with my band, with producers, with fellow musicians - if you want to write with me, I want to write with you. One project I'm really immersed in right now is a song written for deployed soldiers and their families, which I'm lending my voice to. The song was written by Peter Haley; his brother-in-law served 8 years in Iraq and now has Lou Gehrig's disease.

D.A.M.: Do you have any shows coming up?

Basia: I have a show coming up at the Mod Club in Toronto on Saturday, February 13, 2010 I'll be sharing the stage with a rock opera singer Patrizia and a wicked band Frankie Whyte and the Dead Idols. This show is also a UNICEF fundraiser for Haiti relief, so we really want a lot of people out to rock out for a great cause.

D.A.M.:Where can fans get some of your music?

Basia: I have 6 tracks on iTunes with the 2 newest singles on their way there as well. You can also check out , which is always up to date with the latest, and for tons of videos.

D.A.M.: How can fans get in contact with you?

Basia: I'm on Twitter -, or Facebook - I would love to hear from you!!

The Beautiful and Benevolent Basia Lyjak – Your Media Pass

Your Media Pass
February 2010
The Beautiful and Benevolent Basia Lyjak

Off stage Basia Lyjak is breezy and downright neighborly. Place her under some florescent lights and hand her a mic, well, that's a whole different story. When performing, it's almost like Lyjak morphs into a new woman. She's demanding, powerful and intense. Oh, and she doesn't seem to have a problem getting the crowd on their feet. She's often been compared to performers like No Doubt's lead singer, Gwen Stefani, or even pop princess Madonna. But although she displays the same type of dominance while under the limelight, her music and voice echoes late 80's and early 90's glam rockers like Heart and Pat Benatar. She's feisty, fashionable, and no quitter.

"I've always had this inside of me. It just comes natural. It's who I am. When I let 'er rip, I let 'er rip. Yeah, I've had some training. Yeah, I am concerned about my voice," she explains. "But I'm a rock n' roll singer, so the way I see it is to give it all you got."

The first generation Polish-Canadian says she has never feared the spotlight; shyness to Lyjak is like oil to water. She says she even remembers a time when her stage was her parents' veranda, belting out tunes to anyone who passed by. The fierce singer began her career at the age of four, and today, over two decades later, Lyjak has released four widely received self-funded projects including her Writing on the Wall EP and singles "Don't Talk," "What it Feels Like," and "Never Wanted Anything."

Don't be fooled. Even though Lyjak has financed many of her own ventures, she has managed to trigger a massive following over the web. Well aware of her supportive fan-base, she has done nothing but capitalized on it (in a good way, that is). Using her internet popularity, Lyjak, along with a few of her musical peers, recently visited Toronto's Mod Club stage to rock out, and to raise money for Haiti relief.

"It's exciting. A lot of people in the entertainment world are taking a stand and using their voices. That's what we have our voices bring people together, to have the community come together, [and to] understand what it means to raise awareness." she says.

Lyjak has also been keeping busy by donating her voice to a number of side projects. One in particular is a track written about the Canadian troops. Don't expect it to be typical Basia though, she says. Expect it to be totally outside of the box. "It is going to be released very soon. The recording is done and there is a supposed video in the works right now," she says. "It's called 'Waiting' and it's about a woman and her family waiting for her husband to come home from war. This song is actually a true song. It is written about a real person, a real family, and I wanted to be a part of it."

New Music Update: Basia Lyjak releases "Never Wanted Anything" – Handshake Drugs Music Blog

Basia Lyjak's 5th independent release is here! 2 EPs and 3 stand-alone singles in the last half-dozen years have explored a wide musical range for this Toronto-based rock singer, and in listening to her journey of stylistic self-discovery, the point she drives home with her songs is that good music defies genre.

Her first EP, a hard-to-track-down self-titled disc, dished out 6 catchy, pop-driven tunes more suited to adult contemporary fans than the heavier rock crowd her latest material has won over.

"Writings on the Wall," her 2007 release showed huge stylistic growth. From simple pop songs, she graduated to a grungier sound with 5 versatile tracks, Writings starts off with the Queens of the Stone Age meets electropop vibe of "Stuttering" and pure pop rock of "Bye Bye," and on to the empowering chick anthem "Plastic," which there's nothing particularly tongue-in-cheek about. Ending with two gut-wrenching power rock ballads "Torn" and "Lies," "Writings On the Wall" is short n' sweet, a delectable taste of a rainbow of emotions and sounds. The EP delivered stellar vocal performances from Lyjak, tight performances by the musicians who played on the songs and fantastic production by Andrew Lauzon. One would almost be inclined to say, "Fantastic production for an indie record," but amongst a playlist of major recordings with more cash pumped into one track than all of "Writings," you would be hard-pressed to single her out for anything other than solid delivery of solid material.

If "Stuttering" wasn't enough of an infectious, fester-in-your-head-for-days (but in a good way) rock track, 2008 saw her release "Don't Talk." Co-written by local-turned-international heartthrob Kyle Riabko (who has spent much of the last couple of years on the road, including with the Spring Awakening musical), it's the kind of track every musician wants to write - simple as hell, contagious, singable, relatable, and just an all-around good, fun rock n' roll piece. Similar to the kind of envious scorn Nirvana songs were and still are met with, it's so simple that you could write the damn thing yourself, right? Well, you didn't, and maybe the biggest trick for a songwriter is to, in fact, keep a simple song just that: simple and free of gratuitous self-indulgence. "Don't Talk" does just this; it's poppy, it's heavy, it's straight-forward and it delivers just enough of a ripping, noodling solo at the end to make you want more! Your little brother is just as likely to want to hear it again as your grandma is - we're talking wide appeal, here! Complete with a video, the track is all over the web, and despite its command, it's got people talking!

And it managed to keep her fresh in people's minds long enough to bridge the gap between it and her last single, the FACTOR-awarded and funded "What It Feels Like." Another track penned with Kyle Riabko, it was released at Basia's NXNE 2009 showcase this year. As with "Don't Talk," it was also produced by Brian Moncarz of Rattlebox Studios -- a facility resulting from a partnership between Moncarz and Tool producer David Bottrill -- and after perusing their MySpace page, it's clear where the monster production comes from! Equipped with a "state of the art SL AWS 900," most any musician would kill to have their music recorded with such a beast, and the sonic result is incomparable. "What It Feels Like" is an emotional Spirograph; drowsily luring you in with dizzy, rhythmic guitars and lilting bass and drums, the track starts off melancholy, and subdued and ends with a bang (or, more fittingly, a scream). Lyjak's vocal performance is reminiscent of a monologue in a tragedy; with the range of feeling relayed lyrically, so does her voice dip, soar, accuse, beg and triumph, each word dripping with as much conviction as sincerity. A keen ear will also hear band mate Pat Kelly's velvety, sinister baritone echoing Basia's cautioning pre-chorus an octave lower. Enter the chorus and the whole band kicks into high gear - chugging rock guitars and bass, heavy drums and true rock n' roll vocals take this track from what seems like a ballad to something that belongs in an arena filled with 20,000 screaming people. Not quite another love song, the tracks seems to echo lyrically sentiments expressed by Lyjak in interviews -- it ain't easy chasing a dream (maybe it ain't smart, either), and those around you don't always let you forget that. But it's worth it, and so is giving 3 minutes of your life to give this tune a spin (and every subsequent listen is just as worthy).

For such a heavy, fresh new rock track, "What It Feels Like" hasn't gotten the attention so far that it really should have. May it's not typically commercial enough, maybe she did wait too long to follow up "Don't Talk;" either way, those are shoddy reasons to overlook a song by an artist who seems to bridge "chick rock" and "dude rock" so flawlessly.

If Basia tapped in to these potential reasons for the quieter response to the song herself, perhaps her brand-spanking new single, "Never Wanted Anything" is a big 'bite me' to her detractors. For starters, it's unique for her catalogue in that it was co-written with someone no involved in her previous efforts, Norm Sabourin, and recorded out of his Aqua Sound Studios. While the track obviously features trademarks like Basia's one-of-a-kind vocals and her core band members, guitarist Ron Bechard (Crash Karma, Sin Dealer, Patrizia), bassist Dave Carreiro (Nigels 11, feat. Chris Kirkpatrick of 'Nysnc, Slash Puppet) and now former drummer Glenn Nash (Q107 house drummer) (Dale Harrison of the Headstones and Alannah Myles's touring band now drums for Basia), it's also got a generous splash of Sabourin's influence - he shares guitar duties with Bechard and is the axeman behind the decidedly retro guitar solo in the bridge. Now, that's not a bad thing by any means -- it arguably seems like there hasn't been an enduring hit top 40 pop song in a LONG while that doesn't feature a classic riff, lick, melody, lyric or loop. Why praise pop artists for recycling when there are still artists out there producing those classic sounds that people will still want to hear 20 years from now? Further widening the reach of the song is R&B/soul singer Kim Davis, whose back-up vocals contrast and complement Basia's epic rock delivery.

Where "Don't Talk" was maybe too polished and simple for some, and "What It Feels Like" wasn't simple enough for others and a little rougher around the edges, "Never Wanted Anything" is the compromise. It's got pop, rock, melody, memorable lyrics and hook, and if it's not good enough for pop AND rock radio - then what the hell is, and who is setting these standards?

Basia Lyjak's catalogue proves she's no one-trick pony who managed to squeeze out one catchy song to gain her indie notoriety. The 8 songs she's released over the last two years feature many co-writers and collaborators, four producers, five studios, a dozen musicians and one connective tissue - Basia herself. She surrounds herself with the best and clearly challenges herself to be the best in turn. Everything she has put out has been, quite simply, great music. No big name label, manager or investor behind her, this girl has been trucking it independently, and not once have her releases reflected this in terms of quality. Let's have an indie round of applause to Basia Lyjak, and hope that the majors figure it out a hell of a lot sooner than later!

"Don't Talk" review – Jason Daniel Barker

With Toronto-based indie singer-songwriter Basia Lyjak's new single 'Don't Talk,' she shows us that her 2007 five-song EP 'Writings on the Wall' was no fluke in terms of quality and appeal. But the new track expresses a much darker vibe and a more raw expression of feeling. The Silesian-Canadian sensuality Ms.Lyjak is known for takes a bit of a backseat to this hard rock statement by the powerful and dynamic vocalist.

The often cryptic quality of this lyrical narrative is enough to make one feel slightly off-balance, which I think is intended. I would not call what is heard in it stylistic variation upon her past successes, as much as a variation upon the feel it elicits from the listener. Ms.Lyjak and her songwriting partner Kyle Riabko seem to be exploring a darkly whimsical vibe here, which I happen to like.

"I'm so in love with this song, and I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with such great people. I can't wait for the world to hear it!" Basia says.

It offers up a sublime change of pace while still being melodically addictive but is of a kind which musical acts such as hers usually tend to leave behind when they become as successful as she now has. She is taking nothing for granted.
Guitarist Ron Bechard, drummer Glenn Nash and bassist Dave Careiro are the eclectic ensemble behind Ms.Lyjak whose steadfast work was essential to realising the potential the single has.

"Basia was like the Energizer Bunny in the studio," says the song's producer, Brian Moncarz (The Junction, Pilot Speed) of Whirlwind Sound Studios. "We spent a day on vocals, doubling and harmonies, and she maintained the same enthusiasm and professionalism for the tenth take that she did for the first, always performing with incredible tone. It's great when you're having fun recording with someone, doing take after take just to see what you come up with, rather than out of necessity for better quality."

The Canadian rock scene is rapidly becoming very vibrant due to the efforts of Ms.Lyjak and other artists. What a shame it is that the local mainstream media is not taking as big a notice as it should.

CD of the Month Review: Basia Lyjak - Writings on the Wall – IOM Magazine (R-Cat Communications)

Basia Lyjak has broken the mold folks... this incredibly talented female rock practitioner from Toronto, Canada, has emerged with a laughingly brilliant and innovatively excellent EP that rips at the very foundations of once sleepy North American rock and wakes the whole world up with the kinda force that could repair the melting ice sheets at either ends of the north or south poles!

Stuttering unleashes one of Canada's most outstanding female alt rock vocalists upon the world ahead of an astonishingly bright and refreshing musical ensemble that includes exceptional drum work Vince Peck and equally brilliant bass playing from Andrew Lauzon. Stuttering features the kind of high energy rock we all crave for but can never get enough of and to have that energy delivered by Basia in this uniquely eventful fashion is one hell of a treat for the ears!

Bye Bye features the dynamics and energy we first drew blood upon in Stuttering but we get a closer inspection of Basia's astonishing vocal prowess with the kinda range that makes the VU meters go insane right up to the red bit! Again, the musicianship is absolutely incredible in it's tightness, complexity, and in it's right round yer head delivery. What an excellent production job this track really is! I'm amazed National Canadian TV and Radio haven't woken up properly with this kind of evidence of excellence knocking about! Makes ya proud to be Canadian when for the past few years you felt a little er.. ostracized by the stuff from over the border! Basia Lyjak just took care of all that!

Plastic is the song that alerted me to Basia Lyjak's uniqueness as an innovative and highly imaginative recording artist. The songwriting is intelligently amazing with richly observed meaning wrapped around the lyrics and then there's the return of the magical arrangements and production that we have been privileged to without exception. I'd love to See Basia live and I'm gonna have to sort that out sooner rather than later. Plastic has, withut a doubt, placed Basia Lyjak on the highest pedestal for me... the girl has little competition in the independent world and absolutely none in the major market place! What a treat!

Torn has some fabulous guitar work going on all over the place with some superb string arrangements thrown in for good measure. Vocals are flawlessly, powerfully, engaging as they grab at your consciousnessto demand attantion from your sub-conscious. Torn is an unbeliveably clever head-dominating rock adventure... you hear it for days after the stop button has been pressed and fall to your knees in awe at the way in which the microphones were set up and the mixing desk messed with. A phenomenally orginal and outwardly excellent piece of recent rock and roll history being written right beside your ears!

Lies is the last track on this cruelly short EP. What an amazing experience this has been and what a reall eye opener for those who thought Canada was only capable of the likes of Nickleback with respect to the rock genre. Lies takes just about everything you ever conceived to be true about female fronted rock and turns it all on its head! A hugely important song to finish off a hugely important CD release. Basia Lyjak and Co have managed to deliver the undeliverable.. a magnificent piece of work worthy of much praise and appreciation and deserving a hell of alot more respect from this industry!
See Basia Lyjak out at your earliest convenience Ladies and Gentlemen... cos to be honest we've all been asleep to this kind of magnificence for far too long!

- Elley Wilson, February 24, 2007 Interviews Basia Lyjak! – Muzik Movement

Written by Lia Karidas

Basia Lyjak is just another example of the great female rock talent we have in Canada. If you're into powerhouse vocals and catchy, edgy tunes, then keep reading.

Having already been recognized by some of the most notable entertainment media outlets, as well as having been nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award this past summer, Basia is truly making her mark on the indie music scene and abroad.

With several hit-worthy anthems to her name, Basia is well on her way to taking her music global. But before she does that, we are going to introduce her to you here at theMOVEMENTZ.

Has music always been a part of your life? How did your involvement with the music industry begin?

Thank you so much for taking the time to help promote indie artists, it is greatly appreciated! Music has always been a part of my life; I started singing at age four and realized that it was a definite part of me something I would do for the rest of my life. For me music is like therapy, I have told every boyfriend I've had that music is my first love and will always come first.

Through the years the need to be a singer has changed, I realized that I loved writing lyrics and started to hone in on my writing abilities. I learned about the industry by surrounding myself with people who were older and wiser and living it, and by observing at such a young age I was able to take in the business side of the music industry. I have been fortunate being surrounded by people who introduced me to that part of being a musician. I love every aspect of this business and it's been an interesting ride!

You released an album in 2007 (Writings on the Wall), and your single "Don't Talk" was nominated for a TIMA this year. What types of themes/ ideas did you work with to create the first album, or in your songwriting in general?

I try to write about things that people can relate to. I love hearing from fans who tell me that one of my tunes has inspired them or helped them get through a situation. The gift of music is so precious, and to be given a voice that is heard by the universe is a beautiful thing. I just keep it real and let the story speak for itself.

Are you working on a new album/ can we expect a new one in the near future?

Yes, I am writing new material, I am really excited about the new collection that's being built. I hope to have something out soon. Until then, we will be posting videos on my official YouTube channel of acoustic performances of released and unreleased tracks, featuring some of the talented musicians and songwriters I collaborate with.

Who are your favourite artists and how do you think they have influenced your music (if they have)?

There are a lot of artists who have influenced me, some as a performer, some as a songwriter, and many as both. My taste in music is really eclectic and not limited to one genre, and I think part of that is that I love deconstructing songs from core melody and lyrics, to arrangements and harmonies, production, layers and mixing, then seeing how they evolve and become the final product... I love and respect the musicianship and performance of a song but what really appeals to me in how it's structured and crafted. While there are tons of artists I look up to in terms of performance and flair and attitude, someone like Diane Warren or Glenn Ballard would be just as influential, because they have the capacity to adapt to each artist they work with and create fantastic songs in any genre.

Are any of your songs derived from an interesting story?

"Stuttering" was written at time when I was going through a huge transition in my life. I was just about to step back into the studio to finally start recording Writings on the Wall. I was doing this on my own and was gearing up for the ride that was about to begin. I was thinking about how long I had been singing and writing and all the trials and tribulations. I still have the original voicemail recording of the melody and lyrics I kept hearing in my head! I met up with Santino DeGasperis at our good friend Joe's and sat in Joe's washroom with Santino creating the musical side of Stuttering. I will never forget that night and the voicemail recording that was being created in the can. Stuttering was completed with Andrew Lauzon, the producer of Writings on the Wall. The message in the song is about waiting for that break and fake people out there. Hence the reason why it was probably meant to be created in the can of all places!

What do you hope people will gain from listening to your music?

That they can achieve and dream anything they want. The very fact that people can listen to my music is a testament to the fact that dreams can come true if you have the passion and determination to work hard and rise above obstacles and people who tell you you're wasting your time.The messages in my music are real; all things I've felt and thought, and hopefully that could help someone, somewhere. Or if the tunes make someone feel jazzed and want to sing along for hours, that's a beautiful thing too!

Any upcoming news/events we should know about?

I'm in the September/October issue of Canadian Musician Magazine, which is fantastic. Currently I'm in the studio writing and recording some of my best material to date, and I have my first show since July booked for October 24th at the Hard Rock Cafe, for their annual Pinktober breast cancer awareness concert series with DAME and Scarlet Sins, who are both fellow strong female artists in the rock arena. There's always something happening in the online community with all the fantastic sites and e-zines (like you guys!) who make it a mission to support up and coming bands. Same goes for online communities like, and MySpace, where you really get to connect with fans musicians alike and get real feedback on your music, and an opportunity to transcend international borders and earn fans from places in the world you had no clue you could have a following in.

Anything else that you would like to add?

I'd like to thank all the fans and supporters out there as it wouldn't be as rewarding without your support. Thank you to all the online press, publications, papers and magazines for helping get my name out there. It is greatly appreciated. I also want to thank my main support system at, Emy, for her constant support when it comes to helping me keep everything in order, and my band, Ron, Dave and Glenn for sticking by me through this stage and for believing in what I do and for all of their friendship! I couldn't do this without them! Whatever will be, will be just keep livin' the dream!

Canadian Musician Magazine Unsigned Artist Showcase – Canadian Musician Magazine

September/October 2008

Some singers were born with the rock'n'roll gene and some were not. The minute Toronto's Basia Lyjak opens her mouth, you know which group she falls into. Lyjak has the kind of voice that would be out of place anywhere but centre stage in front of screaming guitars, big bad bass lines, and pounding drums. Her music is a full-frontal assault on the sense, and she gives no quarter.

You would expect nothing less of her after scanning the list of people she cites as having influenced her musical development. Included in that list are such heavy hitters as Led Zeppelin, Guns'n' Roses, Motley Crue, Hole and Nirvana. I had an Outer Limits moment when I saw both Motley Crue and Hole on the list because my first thought after hearing Lyjak rip into "Don't Talk" was that she'd somehow been possessed by Vince Neil and Courtney Love.

There's a lot of attitude in the music Lyjak writes, but she's not putting anything out there she can't back up, as evidenced by her recent nomination for Best Song at the 2008 Toronto Independent Music Awards for the aforementioned single "Don't Talk." Her current EP, Writings on the Wall, bears witness to an artist mature beyond her years. The vocal prowess Lyjak displays on that EP and the strength of the original material she's penned point to a long run for her. Her efforts have already been recognized with five International Online Music Awards, a segment on OMNI's Na Luzie TV show, and an opening slot for Lee Aaron.

- Doug Gallant

Metro News - Basia lives her dream – Metro News (

Basia lives her dream
Mississauga indie rocker on a mission

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.”

-- Ann-Marie Colacino/Metro Toronto

Basia Lyjak - Writings on the Wall review – Toronto Music

By: Jason Daniel Baker

It is perhaps amongst the music industry's lesser known secrets that Billy Joel and Michael Bolton each started their respective careers as hard rock performers. Neither fit the mould and both would discover themselves musically going on to find success performing more mellow tones catering to a very different kind of audience later in their careers.

A performer with any kind of following eventually finds his or her niche. But those that embrace the form they have the most affinity for from the beginning tend to get there sooner. Toronto based singer-songwriter Basia Lyjak is intent upon building a name in the recording industry by being herself above all else. There is much appeal in her to recommend such a stratagem.

Her parents set her off the right foot in life and gave her a musical education schooled in the classics. Of course "the classics", in Basia's household did not just refer to Chopin, they also included Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath among a massive catalogue of other classic rock acts featured in the impressive LP collection owned by her parents.

It is however that which she has cultivated on her own musically which shines through most prominently in her work. It is why if she were to sing in choir with one hundred voices most of the audience would hear her within that sea of sound and be drawn to her voice. Like an insatiable mongrel assimilating various vocal styles (especially the darkening of the vowels) she honors no specific format but draws from many.

Her sensual Slavic looks and powerful yet melodious singing are punctuated with an undeniable charisma. She gives vocal performances that are so dynamic and intense they evoke Janis Joplin and Maggie Bell. But she has the added advantage of superior vocal range and resonance. She is also rousing and effective in live performance and able to engage the most fickle audiences over the course of a concert.

The result is a performer of great vocal talent who also leaves the unique imprint of her own femininity, sensuality, and steely intensity all over her music. Few amongst her contemporaries can sell a song with similar conviction or emote as openly. The extroverted sincerity leaves a deep impression.

This Venus in a Motley Crue tank top and ripped jeans unreservedly refers to her music as "Chick Rock" and her new EP Writings on the Wall embraces a rough-edged feel truthful to the term. She finds a certain beauty in rawness and it comes through in her sound. Yet technical sophistication is not a casualty to it. Indeed the balance evident in each track betrays the enormous amount of work, which must have gone into the EPs production.

While there is an undeniable consistency in the energy of the performances on each track there is also the added element of a variety of musical influences. Ms.Lyjak's influences embrace an eclectic range outside of hard rock and power pop. The smorgasbord gently nudges boundaries between genres but remains within a hard rock/power pop structure.

The familiar rhythm section drive gives the overall melodic structure a kind of depth that lesser producers and recording engineers might fail to capture properly. Having heard Ms.Lyjak and her band perform live I think I can safely say that the sounds which emanate from the EP are faithful to those played onstage.

Another noticeable trait of the recording is that it is in line with the tradition of album rock. An adept and cutting edge musical performer does not necessarily mean one who has turned her back on a proven format more prominent in the past than today.

The temptation may be to look to catchy sounding tracks such as the fourth one called "Torn" and single them out as some critics have. But it is just one track and to consider it on its own is to peruse just one piece of the puzzle. The entire meticulously crafted EP is a statement heard best within the context that has been set by the order of tracks first. The individual listener will better be able to judge which tracks are most relevant to them personally after having heard all of them in sequence.

Writings on the Wall is a vibrant statement of a young woman coming into the prime of her life and finding her own distinctive voice utilising the language of music. Aside from the pleasure of hearing the sound which she has cultivated her new EP also gives us the thrill of watching positive evolution as unique talent is further mined from the vast potential shown in previous recordings.

Yet in creating something of such quality Basia Lyjak has left herself with two challenges for her next project. Can she equal the standard she has set with Writings on the Wall? Can she perhaps even exceed the standard she has set with Writings on the Wall?

Those who have followed the respective music industry odysseys of Brian Adams and Tom Petty among other acts know that a performer can plateau before they or anyone else see it coming. It is only the very best among musical performers who offer sublime variation to what they have done rather than recycled versions of it and get better.

Were I to speculate on what Ms.Lyjak will do, my inclination would be to say that she will produce music with even greater sophistication over time.

Those of us who are taking an interest in this performer will not have long to wait to find out. A brand new Basia Lyjak song, of many she has composed with the reknowned Kyle Riabko is currently being recorded and produced by Brian Moncarz, of Whirlwind Sound Studios.

"I'm excited to be debuting this song live next month at the 'Shoe" Says Bas referring to Toronto's legendary Horseshoe Tavern where she will be performing on Thursday, November 1st, 2007.

Those who like what they hear that night will be also be able to catch her at the Remembrance Day concert on November 11th in Downsview Park.

I, for one, can't wait!

For more information on Basia Lyjak visit her MySpace page at or

"What It Feels Like" review – Meg-A Music Toronto - Devon Sartori

With Lyjak's fans still reacting positively to recent work like 2008s single Don't Talk and 2007s EP Writings on the Wall she has come up with something a little different for them in collaboration with her writing partner Kyle Riabko and her guitarist Ron Bechard for her adventurous new single "What It Feels Like".

It does not sound like her previous work at least after hearing it a few times. This is not an old song masquerading as a new one or merely just a reinterpretation of her sound.

It does sound like a song recorded by one of the most talented females in Toronto's music history and by a chanteuse gifted with one of the great voices of modern rock. But it also is a reinterpretation of the entire approach Lyjak has taken towards her music i.e. more focused on melody than vocal power and power chords.

Ever grateful for all the help and opportunities that have come her way, Lyjak recently signed a deal with an outfit called The Game Cartel to write and perform music to score its first user designed videogame.

This is a positive sign for the music industry and its artists overall. It is but one of many recent stories of innovative ways that recording artists are finding new streams of revenue. One hopes the calling of rock music will provide its practitioners with something more than mere cost recovery in the near future.