I’m so happy to introduce you to Toronto’s own Ink Sticks and Stones.

 

Ai Rai1

 

On top of being a really cool and kind person she has recently released her debut album, “All That Gets Left Behind”, roughly 3 years in the making. Writing and creating the album was a process and a journey. That’s a bit of an understatement, actually. The path to completing this album was anything but smooth.

The writing itself is very thought out, especially the lyrics, which I can only imagine took a long time to complete. For instance, this beautiful yet haunting excerpt from “Full Blue Moon”:

Hush now, it’s not too late 
I can tilt the hourglass 
Though the sand slips through your fingers 
It’ll buy you some time 

(Please enjoy this embedded video of Full Blue Moon)

Writing is usually a challenge for artists (after all we are essentially summing up our message and feelings through music and then cementing it into a recording-we want to get it right!). The other challenges faced in writing this album, however, are one of the main reasons why I am so excited to Feature Ink Sticks and Stones. I always try to feature artists that can inspire us and I’m not changing that trend anytime soon!

In the first month of making the album Ai Rei (Ink Sticks and Stones’ creator) busted up her hand pretty good. Although her hand didn’t break she was very limited in her ability to play any instruments. This would throw a wrench in anyone’s gears. Ai Rei, instead of feeling defeated, reached out to Toronto’s music community and found some great staples of the Toronto music scene to jump on board and help her with recording. She hadn’t planned on working with these musicians but by keeping a great attitude and not quitting she was able to grow her network and meet some great musicians and people.

Another incident occurred 2-3 weeks before recording when the studio she had her recording scheduled at cancelled the sessions. Once again, with the never say quit attitude, Ai Rei scrambled and found another studio to work with her and keep her project on track. Shouts out to Lincoln County Social ClubThis has turned into a great relationship and Ai Rei has found her new favourite studio.

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I would describe “All That Gets Left behind” as chilled-out, melodic, beautifully haunting, and thoughtful. Having met Ai Rei in the Toronto Open Mics scene a few years back I’m glad she’s been writing and now has her full length album to share with us. Her story is a shining example of running with the punches. Things rarely ever go the way we picture in our minds. What matters most is that we keep going. Our music is our legacy and we owe it to ourselves to stick it through and finish a body of work, despite whatever challenges we face.

Our towns and cities have great networks of musicians and artists to work with if you’re willing to reach out! Thanks for reminding us all of that Ai Rei!

Check out the album guys, it’s perfect the perfect soundtrack to relaxing at home and drifting off to great lyrical landscapes. All the best Ai Rei!

(Click the photo to enjoy Ink Sticks and Stones “All That Get’s Left Behind” Album).

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