Leah Canali is a Toronto songwriter known in the international drag world, having collaborated with Brooke Lynn Hytes, Priyanka, Lemon, BOA, Katya Zamo, Tynomi Banks, and many others, as well as finding herself on RuPaul’s radar several times.

The past year has been a difficult one for nearly every industry – to say the least. Rapid and sometimes flailing adjustments to the way one does business has been central to navigating one of the worst health crises in a century. One group deeply affected by the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has been musicians and the art community. With live venues going dark, events being cancelled, and creativity stifled, local musicians have all but lost their livelihood in the face of a rapidly changing marketplace. But some artists have dug deep to create art that is sure to leave a lasting impression on the local music scene, regardless of how that scene looks in a post-pandemic world.

Canali was a lead singer for one of Toronto’s most acclaimed event bands and went from running between multiple events per week, having been hired by brands such as Cartier, Mercedes-Benz, Saks Fifth Avenue and L’Oreal, to having nearly a year’s worth of events being completely wiped off her calendar. But once an artist, always an artist. And Canali could not sit still for long.

There’s no doubt that as an artist, when your outlet for that art is taken away, the easy answer is to stop the art,” says Canali. “But in that darkness, there is light to be found. That really is at the core of this EP. Understanding that no matter how dark it feels, light can be found and that’s what we all need to hang on to – now more than ever.”

Over the course of the past year, Canali gathered a group of producers and writers to help create her first EP. The Light + Dark will launch on March 7, 2021 and is a surprisingly upbeat journey through the mental health challenges that have been born out of the rollercoaster of 2020. Putting a fresh spin on a retro sound, Canali brings to light the hope that exists after a long period of darkness.

The EP features collaborations with Katya Zamo and Tynomi Banks. Pulling from her years of allyship with the LGBTQ+ community, Canali is ready to take centre stage with her new music to give hope to local musicians and artists who have seen their lives become more uncertain over the past 12 months.

Canali concluded, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past year it’s that no matter the curveballs that we are thrown, art will always find its way. The absolute joy any of us can find in creating – no matter what the artform – can fill your soul and bring light to any darkness.”

Album (Light + Dark) Track Listing. Available March 9, 2021 (Buy your copy now)

Track 1: Invisible War – A highlight on the EP, Invisible War is a high energy dance track that ironically chronicles the journey of depression and the internal fight that exists in so many people’s lives. With its upbeat feel, the track is a perfect example of showing how both the light and the dark often live together.

Track 2: Quicksand – A moody track is a vocal showcase illustrating how one can easily give themselves to someone who uses up everything you have to their advantage then leaves you in literal quicksand.

Track 3: Iconic – A throwback to early Mariah Carey, Iconic is a love letter to the drag scene in Toronto. Having been heavily influenced by the LGBTQ community, Canali has been a mainstay at Toronto Pride and other queer-centric event over the years and was inspired by the actual friendships she has formed with local queens such as Tynomi Banks as well as international performers such as RuPaul, Katya and Trixie Mattel. Banks (Canada’s Drag Race S1) appears on this track.

Track 4: Wasted – Exploring the challenges of addiction and abuse, Wasted takes the listener to the darker side of the album. The push and pull of being at your lowest, the track is inspired by the darkness that many experience when they have lost all feeling.

Track 5: The Light – The center track of the album, The Light showcases Canali’s deep soul roots with an infectious and bright melody that is made to bring hope to the artist community, reminding listeners that there’s always a light inside of y ou, ready to be let out.

Secret Track: IDFT – A major part of Canali’s career has been attached to the LGBT community. In this bonus track, international drag queen Katya (RuPaul’s Drag Race S7 and All Stars S2) collaborates with Canali for an instant queer dancefloor classic that is as powerful as it is tongue-in-cheek.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.