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Laila Biali is taking requests

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Singer, pianist and songwriter Laila Biali recently released Your Requests (ACT Music), built around a collection of songs from the Great American Songbook that were requested by her fans.

After a string of projects of her original songs and more contemporary covers, the album was a departure for her. After spending years living in New York, Laila moved back to her native Canada to raise her son, along with her husband, drummer and producer Ben Wittman, who she met when the two were working with the singer-songwriter Paula Cole.

Laila had established herself in New York as a reliable and sought after collaborator—she worked with Sting, Chris Botti and Suzanne Vega. After moving to Toronto, she began focusing more on her solo career. It paid off. In 2019 she won a Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. And she hosts the popular radio show Saturday Night Jazz on CBC 2.

Here she talks about her career, what it's like being married to her closest collaborator, motherhood, loyalty, leaving New York to return to her native Canada, leaning into limitations, and how the pandemic led her to renew her "vows to music."

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