Our newest feature B-Side Bios is a quick introduction to some of the maybe unknown facts about some of our favourite musicians. Today’s feature is a beloved Canadian singer-songwriter who has a knack for beautiful lyrics and also has legs for days. Emily Haines stole our hearts with her project Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton, as a member of the supergroup Broken Social Scene and as the frontwoman of Metric. She’s still going strong with the release of Metric’s seventh studio album “Art of Doubt” released in September. Check it out now if you’ve not given it a listen!
Emily Savitri Haines, her middle name from a poem of the same name by Sri Aurobindo, was born January 25, 1974, in New Delhi, India to American-born parents. Her father was a poet and lived in the US, Europe, and India before settling in Canada. Emily and her siblings were raised in Peterborough, Ontario in a very creative household. Her sister went on to be a journalist with CTV and her brother still resides in Peterborough and is the owner of the vintage shop Bluestreak Records. In her teens, Emily was encouraged to go to the Etobicoke School of the Arts where she studied drama. It was there that she met Amy Millan and Kevin Drew, and would later collaborate with them in Broken Social Scene.
In 1998, Emily Haines joined with James Shaw to form the duo "Mainstream" but were later joined by Joshua Winstead and Joules Scott-Key and Metric was born. The name Metric came from a song James was working on that involved a sound he'd programmed into his keyboard called 'Metric'. Emily has said, “Some people think it has something to do with the fact that we're from Canada -- which uses the metric system, but that was coincidental...if we'd wanted to use a name that evoked Canada, we would've called ourselves the Toques or something".
Her solo work as Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton is typically more subdued and piano-based than her Metric tracks. In addition to piano, she also plays keyboards, synthesizers, guitar, tambourine, harmonica and has some powerful vocals. Her vocal range is actually deemed “soprano”, a type of classical female singing voice that has the highest vocal range of all vocal types.
Regardless of the project, Emily always evokes raw emotions, her own poetry in her songwriting and messages of female empowerment. She’s been pretty influential, including being the inspiration behind the Envy Adams character in the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World series, later being included on the soundtrack and on stage, making an appearance as the drummer in the performance of the song “Black Sheep” in the movie.
To perfectly sum up the honesty and awesomeness that is Emily Haines, I bring you a little snippet from her interview with Exclaim.ca, where they asked her “What is your vital daily ritual?” and she responded simply, “Orgasm.” I think we can all learn a little something from that.
Did ya learn something?
As always, for a fun Pull the Plug added bonus, check out this week’s acoustic cover of Metric's "Eclipse (All Yours)" written for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Soundtrack.