On February 23rd 2024, Shaina Hayes is set to release her second album, “Kindergarten Heart”, via Bonsound. First the Canadian folk-pop artist has shared the first taste of things to come in the form of her new single, “New Favourite”.
While most parents encourage their children to take up a “respectable” career, for Shaina Hayes, the daughter of farmers in the Gaspé region of Quebec, things were a little different. “My folks always wanted me to be a musician,” she laughs, “so for me, rebelling meant getting a degree in agricultural science!”
With the release of “Kindergarten Heart,” Shaina proves mum and dad had the right idea after all. A captivating blend of gorgeous vocals, inviting melodies, and thought-provoking lyrics, Hayes’ second album fulfils the promise of her engaging 2022 debut, “to coax a waltz.” Call it folk-pop seasoned with alt-country, or simply pop…
“New Favourite” reminisces on the magic of new love, igniting that sensation in the present. This theme of purposeful remembrance, honouring memories to shape the present, runs throughout the album.
Raised in tiny Shigawake, on the east coast of Quebec, Shaina grew up listening to singer-songwriters such as Feist, Joni Mitchell and Regina Spektor, traditional country artists such as Hank Williams and Dolly Parton, and more modern country stars, including Shania Twain and The Chicks.
Attending McGill University in Montreal, Shaina pursued a degree in agricultural science, but also participated in the city’s bustling music scene singing in country and blues bands and studying jazz. She also sang backing vocals for the rock band zouz, finding kindred spirits in the group’s Francis Ledoux and David Marchand.
She released her first solo material in 2018, uploading the song “Hollow’ to Bandcamp and to her surprise, the song garnered a strongly positive reaction, prompting Ms Hayes to return to Shigawake, to begin recording her debut album “to coax a waltz” in late 2019.
The album was produced by Hayes, Ledoux (who also mixed and played drums), and Marchand (who also played guitar, steel guitar, bass and keyboards), building the music around her graceful voice and acoustic guitar.
Read more below the video…
Like everyone else, Hayes went into lockdown in early 2020. But the ag’ science major had a plan. “I was supposed to be running a farm for a restaurant in Montreal, but when the pandemic hit, all the restaurants had to close,” she remembers. “The restaurant had this land and rented equipment they couldn’t use, so I reached an agreement with them and started a CSA [community supported agriculture] farm.”
For three years, Hayes grew produce to sell to subscribers while she completed the album. Following the release of “to coax a waltz” in April 2022, she found her musical activities ramping up, and put farming on hiatus that autumn.
Teaming up again with Ledoux and Marchand, she started recording “Kindergarten Heart” in late 2022, completing sessions last year, just as live dates opening for artists like The War on Drugs and The Barr Brothers began to demand more of her attention.
Though Shaina Hayes wants to resume farming eventually, “Kindergarten Heart” guarantees she’ll be a full-time musician for the foreseeable future. One to watch.