Polaris Prize nominee Basia Bulat plays P.E.I. Saturday

Basia Bulat is on the Polaris Prize short list for her latest album, Good Advice, and plays Charlottetown on Saturday night.

Singer happy to be back for first show on Island in almost 10 years

Singer Basia Bulat with CBC Mainstreet host Karen Mair. Bulat plays songs from her Polaris Prize-nominated album Good Advice Saturday at The Alley in Charlottetown. (CBC)

The countdown is on for singer/songwriter Basia Bulat, waiting for the announcement of this year's Polaris Prize for Canada's best album of the year.

It's the third time she has made the short list of artists nominated, this time for her latest, Good Advice, tying her with Caribou, Drake, Metric, Shad and Owen Pallett as the only Canadians with that honour.

The prize is being awarded on Sept. 19 in Toronto, but she's been on P.E.I. the past few days, enjoying the Island as she prepares for a show Saturday at The Alley.

Bulat dropped by CBC to talk to Mainstreet's Karen Mair, mentioning how she's gone out of her way to play P.E.I. this tour, among other diverse stops in the country.

A real cross-country tour

"My first show in P.E.I. was almost ten years ago, I was opening for Wintersleep, I did two shows with them," she said. "I haven't had the opportunity to come and play my own show since, and that I think is a real shame."

When you're a musician, there's nowhere that you don't belong, you have to try it all.- Basia Bulat

The success of her new record is letting her make this tour a truly national one.

"There's a lot of places in Canada I haven't been able to get to, so with this record, I'm trying," said Bulat

"We're going to be able to go up to do two shows in the Yukon, we're going to try to do some more shows on the East Coast, I haven't been able to play in New Brunswick really at all, my own shows, I'm trying to get everywhere. I'm hoping I'll have the shirts ready, they'll say 'From sea to sea to sea.'"

Her new album is a departure from her three previous ones, which Bulat describes as more folk-oriented, while this time she headed far away, and ended up making a pop collection.

Basia Bulat has four albums out, three of which have made the short list for the Polaris Prize. (
"I had gone down to Kentucky to make this record with some very dear friends and they provided this musical and emotional support I needed, and they really made everything like a fun fireworks and disco-themed kind of party that it turned out to be," she laughed.

That meant taking advantage of all the synthesizers, studio tricks and technology that she's avoided before.

"I'm in this mindset where anything that I feel trepidatious or afraid of is exactly what I have to do," Bulat explained. "Making this record gave me that push to do all the things that I had previously been apprehensive about or maybe just felt that wasn't where I belonged. I realized when you're a musician, there's nowhere that you don't belong, you have to try it all."

Bulat will be at The Alley in Charlottetown on Saturday, Aug. 27, with P.E.I.'s Sorrey opening.

From the Mainstreet interview by Karen Mair