Canadian folk phenom Basia Bulat performs from her new album 'Tall Tall Shadow'

The World

With her straight, blond hair and her warm, sweet voice, the Toronto-based folk singer Basia Bulat has been compared to Joni Mitchell — but she shakes off the suggestion.

"There can only be one, she's just a genre unto herself," said Bulat during a recent visit to The World's studios in Boston. "I love her, obviously. This is one of the people I grew up listening to. I feel like she partially raised me."

The Canadian indie-pop sensation just released her third album, "Tall Tall Shadow."

Bulat studied literature at the University of Western Ontario and pulled from her reading list for musical inspiration.

"I've also been influenced a lot by the writing I've been reading my whole life — like Alice Munro or Margaret Atwood. I guess if we're going to stick with all things Canada, there's a kind of a great tradition of amazing, independent women."

The 29-year-old singer-songwriter plays the autoharp, the piano, the guitar, and a variety of other instruments. She explains that she was surrounded with music from an early age.

"I started on piano when I was young," said Bulat. "My mom taught classical piano. In school, I started picking up the two opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of range. I was playing the flute in the stage band and I was playing upright bass in the string orchestra."

For this new album, she learned how to play the charango, a small, Andean stringed instrument.

"I try to convince myself that I can play anything, at least well enough that I could write a song on it," said Bulat. "But that's not true. I will definitely stay away from the violin and the oboe."

Bulat co-produced the album with Tim Kingsbury and Mark Lawson. Kingsbury is a member of Arcade Fire.

"Tim had actually played bass on my second album, so we've known each other for quite some time and we had become good pals, and it seemed to make good sense to work with your friends."

Basia Bulat is currently touring the US and Canada with "Tall Tall Shadow."

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