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The Basement Songs

The Basement Songs (1997)

Tariq Hussain, frequently billed as Tariq, is a Canadian singer-songwriter based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

He was born in Cowansville, Quebec. His father, a Pakistani immigrant, was very concerned with his children getting a good education and it was only in his mid-teens, after his father had died, that Hussain began playing guitar. At Bishop’s University, he studied theatre arts. He started devoting most of his time to a music career upon moving to Calgary, Alberta in 1995, releasing his first album Splat independently that year.

In 1997, he was signed to EMI Music Canada. His album The Basement Songs was produced by Steven Drake of Odds and won critical acclaim, with music writers citing the maturity of the folk-rock songwriting, as the songs addressed issues of racism and religion. His best-known song, "Chevrolet Way", was a Canadian radio hit in 1997 and garnered him a Juno Award nomination for Best New Artist. His subsequent independent release, While You’re Down There included collaborations with Jules Shear and with Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go’s.

In addition to his solo recordings, he has been a collaborating member of Brasstronaut and a host on CBC Radio 3.

In 2011, Hussain won the Maxine Sevack Award for Creative Nonfiction from the University of British Columbia, as well as receiving his masters in creative writing from the institution. He currently teaches courses in the Faculty of Arts, mainly focusing on creative and lyric writing.