The organic songs of BSc(Ag.Env.Sc.) Alum Shaina Hayes

Published: 20 February 2024

Ahead of the release of her second album, Kindergarten Heart , expected on February 23, Mac Campus alum Shaina Hayes spoke to Le Devoir about where she finds inspiration for her work and the connection between her farming and her music.

After graduating from the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill University, she managed a restaurateur's vegetable garden before founding her own small five-acre market garden farm (Shaina Hayes Farm) located in Mont-Saint-Grégoire, east of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu; she grew organic vegetables there alone to fill 75 baskets per week. Last year was complicated “by rain, plant diseases and insects,” but she will always remember the particularly torrid 2022 season having inspired the song Heat Wave: “We tried to give the impression of being in the field during this intense heat, with an effect in the voice similar to the mirages that we think we see when it is very hot,” she said.

“It’s a bit thanks to agriculture that I came back to music. Growing vegetables and writing songs are two creative gestures: I am not a landscaper, but designing the plans of a farm, drawing the rows, imagining a crop system, that's creative. Farming gave me confidence in my abilities to create something, even though that wasn't the goal when I started my farm. It was during the winter, in my free time, that I rediscovered the taste for writing songs. I understood that I loved creation.”

“For me, there is a link between growing vegetables and writing songs,” said the singer-songwriter and market gardener. “I often bring up the idea of ​​a transaction; with vegetables, it is obvious: I grow them, people buy them from me. With music, it happens on another level, but it's a bit the same gesture: me trying to offer something to others. It is, in my opinion, the same nourishing approach, which gives me the same satisfaction.”

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