Madisyn Whajne. Photo by Jen Squires.
Toronto, ON—Madisyn Whajne’s extraordinary debut album Save Our Hearts is out now. Listen to the album in full here. Save Our Hearts has already garnered support from Exclaim!, The Big Takeover, Amplify Music, CBC q, CBC The Strombo Show, Here & Now and Fresh Air and Big City Small Town as well as Indie88.
Excitement courses through the veins of Save Our Hearts, which opens with the breezy, washed out “Summer Love.” Like much of the album, it’s an up-tempo track laced with melancholy and regret, a warm, nostalgic meditation on the ache of waiting for a love that never comes. Sometimes Whajne tries to lure that love closer, as on the addictive “Killing Desire” or the sultry “One Shot.” Other times, she pushes it away, convincing herself it wasn’t meant to be on the ragged “Fire” or simply sitting with the sadness on the hypnotic “Never Give In.” Yet even in the depths of her sadness, Whajne always manages to find a silver lining, proclaiming on the lilting “Sweet Talk” that no matter what happens, “my heart keeps beating.”
Recorded live to tape at Montreal’s famed Hotel2Tango Studio with engineers Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, The Barr Brothers) and Shae Brossard (Bahamas, The Dears), the album is imbued with a visceral sense of loneliness and longing, a burning desire for connection and companionship that propels it endlessly forward in pursuit of something perpetually out of reach. While Whajne (pronounced Wayne) rarely tackles her tumultuous journey in explicit narrative terms, her story is written between the lines here as she navigates love and trust, reunion and rejection, faith and fate.
Whajne has spent most of her life searching: for her purpose, for her family, for herself. Taken from her parents before the age of two as part of the infamous Sixties Scoop, in which the Canadian government forcibly rehomed tens of thousands of native children, the indigenous artist grew up without ever knowing her real name, to say nothing of her heritage. As a result, Whajne’s life has been shaped by a hunger for truth and understanding, a hunger that lies at the core of Save Our Hearts.
While Whajne rarely tackles her tumultuous journey in explicit narrative terms, her story is written between the lines here as she navigates love and trust, reunion and rejection, faith and fate. Backed by her band and longtime friends—producer Jay McBride on bass, James Gray on guitar, and her husband, Bobby Bulat, on drums—Whajne walks a delicate tightrope between indie rock charm and punk bravado on the album, balancing hope and despair in equal measure as gritty guitars and muscular percussion mix with dreamy production and intoxicating hooks. The
result is a captivating collection that hints at everything from Alvvays and Snail Mail to Rilo Kiley and Real Estate, an invigorating, bittersweet debut that insists on resilience and survival in the face of pain and heartbreak.
“Save Our Hearts was written over the course of two years, after a long period of writer’s block and struggling with depression,” says Whajne. “It was a time in my life that I felt really lost, really broken and very alone. Writing was a means in which I found a way back to myself. There was solace in the time alone, writing in the studio. I could pour myself into a song and the world would disappear.”
“This record is really a personal journey through a time of darkness, heartache and finding myself again. Whether the songs came out fun and playful, dark and edgy, or sad, there is a common theme that runs throughout the record. At a time when I had lost almost all faith, there was a glimmer of hope and the record embodies that. Ultimately, it took me out of the darkness and into the light. My own light. It has been a lifelong dream to record an album and put it out into the world. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my band and I am so grateful for that. And although I never dreamed it would be released during a worldwide pandemic, I hope it touches people in a way that inspires them to share their gifts with the world.”
Indeed, if there’s a lesson to be learned from Save Our Hearts, it’s that the most powerful way we can honor our loved ones and ourselves is to stand tall, to survive in spite of everything. Whajne’s quest for understanding may never truly end, but with Save Our Hearts, she’s come to understand that that’s the point. To search is to live, and Madisyn Whajne has never felt more alive.
- Summer Love
- Killing Desire
- One Shot
- So In Love
- Sweet Talk
- Don’t Walk Away
- When Morning Comes
- Never Give In
- Save My Heart
What people are saying about Madisyn Whajne
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.
– THE BIG TAKEOVER
The perfect blend of street sass and dance floor finesse
– THE SWINDONIAN
A sugary series of love and break-up songs, a glittering collection of jangling indie-pop that applies Whajne’s sense of rootlessness and searching to the human heart.
– THE MANITOBAN
Brash and boisterous, loaded with punk swagger, oozing pop contagion and strutting towards the listener with defiantly confident strides
– DANCING ABOUT ARCHITECTURE