With a fresh year in 2012, two recently released singles, plus two more and a video slated for release this year, Basia Lyjak is a woman in control; she is a veritable supernova of songwriting and vocal talent poised to explode, putting a stranglehold on her eager existing fans and caught-off-guard new converts alike, leaving them rapt and thirsty for more, more, more!
10 years into her professional career, Basia has seen and learned a thing or two about her ever-changing and increasingly uncertain industry. From the glitz of generously funded development deals and girl groups, to living out of her car in order to record and release her next single, Basia has been personally and professionally privy to to the whole spectrum of the good and bad of being a musician.
Education: Humber College Radio Broadcasting
Stats: That’s a tough one! I’ve been lucky enough to receive quite a few awards for doing what I love, but I wouldn’t say that’s what defines my personal sense of awesomeness. If I really had to toot my own horn, I’d say I quantify my own awesomeness by how I’ve managed to stay true to my dream by keeping my project alive and moving even when things are at their toughest. No matter the hurdle — and there have been MANY — I still manage to keep on truckin’. I’m living my dream despite what anyone says, and that’s awesome to me!
How did you get started on your current career track?
I think with any artistic pursuit, every step of the development of your craft has something to do with your current career track. So, from singing along to all the major divas as a kid to self-train my voice, to singing in productions of musicals, to being in an all-girl band, to recording my first and second EPs and all of my subsequent releases – all of that has led me to where I am. Every personal struggle and hurdle has affected my goals, my style, my songs as well. All of those things help whittle down what you really want for yourself as a person and artist!
Everyone has their two cents to offer to me: I should sing like this, write with that person, use this producer, focus on a different genre, wear different clothes – the list goes on and I can’t please everyone. I’m here to write great songs, period, so I’m done with limiting myself to genres when every kid with an iPod has at least 100 different kinds of music on it! That’s the mindset I was in when we went into the studio with these new songs – make them the best they can be, not cram them into a genre.
What gives you the most satisfaction as an artist?
I love performing to an audience and watching people sing along with me. Playing to a crowd of people that are into the show and loving it is the greatest satisfaction.
What motivates or inspires you in your work?
Living, breathing music everyday, it’s my medicine. I have to say though, it’s also people who stand by me through thick and thin and want to see me succeed who keep me on track. It’s a powerful feeling when people want your dreams to come true as much as you do!
Do you have a personal work philosophy?
Love what you do and reach for the stars… life is too short to waste on not taking risks and chances. No sense in regretting the opportunities you were too scared to seize when you’re older.
If you weren’t doing this, what could you see yourself doing?
Sitting on a beach somewhere beautiful, drinking a fancy bevy and singing for the locals. Whatever I do in life, it will involve music somehow!
What are you working on right now?
My team and I are working on a new release for the coming months, plus I have a video in the post-production stages, so I’m stoked about that. We’re going to get more shows booked for the spring and summer, write and record more tunes and just go balls to the wall this year!
What gets you interested?
Personality – looks only get you so far!
What keeps you interested?
Manners. I may be rock n’ roll, but a man with some old fashioned values when it comes to how he treats a lady is golden.
What’s your number one deal breaker?
It’s hard to say until you get to know someone better. Gut instinct always kicks in when meeting a new person – either you want to know more about them or you don’t. It can be a bit of a deal breaker if your instinct tells you not to bother with a person!
To stay in shape, what’s your basic diet look like?
I stay in shape by working in film, 14-16 hours days making sure the crew and actors are fed. I’m on my feet all day and night, making food, running around set with heavy trays and dragging coolers. I have a serious workout everyday and what keeps me working in this crazy business is the money I earn to make my music happen. With every breakfast burrito or special meal request made, I remind myself why I do this… it’s all about the music!
What sort of fitness plan, if any, do you follow?
Don’t sit around, get off your ass and move around, be active! It’s what keeps you young!
What’s next for you? What’s your next big idea or project?
The next big thing for me is to release new music with more of a southern rock vibe, dipping into the past and bringing out a different side of rock n’ roll, a side my fans haven’t heard from me yet. I love the blues and country, so that gives you a hint of what’s coming up. I’m looking forward to getting back to Nashville as well – it’s so inspiring there! Everyone lives, breathes, eats, sleeps music!
I’m a Food Network maniac! I can rarely sit still in one place for long, unless the Food Network is on; I could watch it for hours! I love to cook and I love good food – secretly, I’d want to be a food critic if I weren’t a musician!
Favourite workout tip: I think most people can agree on what the ultimate exercise is!
Favourite recipe: Bobby Flay’s Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf. Seriously, it’s awesome!
iPhone or Android: I’ve had both, and I currently have an Android, but I do miss my iPhone! So, let’s say iPhone!
What are you driving: I have a Mitsubishi Lancer – it’s not fancy, but, man, can that thing zip around! Plus we’ve been through a lot in it! My friends and I almost got crushed by a transport truck while en route to a Hank 3 show last year – the right side of my car got torn off, but it kept us safe! We pulled up to the show in style – with tape and tarp holding half the car together!
One thing guys should know when talking to a beautiful woman: Look in her eyes!
I must be ridiculously lucky, because I’ve always had great experiences with crews I’ve worked with. It’s always been a community thing – we’re all there to exhibit our skills and talents and to help one another get recognized. There’s no room for attitude in that kind of environment!
Basia Lyjak’s website
Basia Lyjak’s YouTube channel