Talia Schlanger

Talia Schlanger is a host and radio producer at World Cafe, produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. Schlanger joins the World Cafe team straight from CBC, Canada's public broadcaster, where she hosted a triple-A radio show on Saturday and Sunday mornings. She was the on-camera host for two seasons of the CBC television series CBC Music: Backstage Pass, which saw her interview some of Canada's best and brightest artists. Schlanger also hosted several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor featuring Serena Ryder, CBC Music SongCamp and the CBCMusic.ca Festival Special 2015. Schlanger served as the the interim host of CBC Radio 2's Canada Live and was a regular guest host on CBC Radio One's flagship artist and culture show q. She also filled in on Canadian current-affairs radio shows including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Some of her favorite music interviews include St. Vincent, Tanya Tagaq, John Fogerty, Barenaked Ladies and Grimes.

Schlanger's first project at CBC was as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip which won a Canadian Screen Award in 2014. She was also the digital producer for Hockey Night In Canada Song Quest, CBC Music's search for the next great hockey song.

Born and raised in Toronto, Schlanger is a proud alumna of Ryerson's Radio and Television Arts program. She's also a professional actress, singer and voiceover artist. Schlanger spent most of 2012 performing in the first national tour of Green Day's rock opera, American Idiot, at various theatres throughout the United States. (She thought she would be really cool when she met Billie Joe Armstrong after he watched American Idiot. She was not cool at all.) She has also performed on stage with Mirvish Productions' original Canadian company of We Will Rock You, as well as in the ensemble and understudying lead roles in Scaramouche, Oz (Canon Theatre, 2007/2008), and in Mamma Mia! (Royal Alexandra Theatre, 2003/2004).

There's a danger, when an artist has as compelling a story as Margo Price has, that the personal will overshadow the musical. So let's just get one thing straight first: Margo Price writes really beautiful songs. And boy-oh-boy can she sing.

You can hear a sense of wandering, the wistful shuffle of no fixed address, in Bedouine's music. She was born Azniv Korkezian but chose the artist name Bedouine from the Arabic-speaking Bedouin people, who wander the Middle Eastern desert as nomads.

So many of us have spent Christmas with Elvis' music, but Priscilla Presley actually spent Christmas with Elvis. Priscilla shares heartwarming memories of holidays with the King, from the first time they ever exchanged gifts to their tree-trimming traditions as a married couple living at Graceland, to how that changed when Priscilla gave birth to their daughter, Lisa Marie, and how Priscilla feels when she hears Elvis' music now.

You know when somebody has that special something? The star quality you can't really describe but it's just there? Jidenna has that something.

If the artist deaths we've collectively mourned over the past couple years have taught us anything, it's to celebrate our living heroes. See that tour. Cheer as loud as you can, while you can.

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real make exactly the kind of music you would hope for from a new generation carrying the country-rock torch — music with guitars muscular enough to reach the back of the bar or tender enough to play for fireflies on the front porch. And there are lyrics with plenty of humor, heartache and just plain heart.

Putting together year-end "Best Of" lists is a near-impossible task. There's too much to love. (Waah-waah, right?) Narrowing my favorites down into a list of the 10 albums I thought made the year brighter was just about all the solo pressure I could take. So I called in reinforcements from the rest of the World Cafe staff, whose voices you don't always hear on the show, but whose musical tastes definitely show up in the interview sessions and songs you hear.

Michael McDonald's distinctive voice is woven right into the fabric of popular culture. You don't need to hear his name to know it's him singing in any one of his many different musical incarnations.

In this session, we slip into the world of Emily Haines and The Soft Skeleton. Haines is the lead singer of the electro-tinged rock and roll band Metric, but in her solo work you won't find any wailing guitars or radical synths — the spotlight shines right on her voice and the work of art that is her songwriting.

Hear Emily Haines, solo on the piano, in the player above.

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