After vocalist and saxophone player Emily Steinwall graduated from Humber College two years ago, she hit a jackpot of sorts when she soon landed a tour with Alessia Cara.

Steinwall spent eight months on the road as a backup singer for the Canadian pop star, including performances in big-league stadiums and on late-night TV. “It was a great learning experience,” Steinwall says. But it also made her realize her true calling as a musician.

“It had always been my dream to get a prestigious gig like this one,” the 24-year-old says. “Now I realize that it’s up to me to follow my own intuitive guidance.”

Steinwall has since poured herself into solo work. Last fall, she released her first single titled Here, Right Now. In January, she quit touring in order to focus on her own music. She has since released a three-part live recording called the Peace Theatre Sessions, and last month, she recorded her debut album, Welcome to the Garden, slated for release in a few months.

Her band includes Joey Martel on guitar, Claire Lee on piano and synth, David Maclean on bass, Eric West on drums and Kyla Charter and her twin brother Jackson on vocals.

“It’s been a new and exciting project that’s hard to classify in a genre,” she says. “It’s like psychedelic pop-rock jazz.”

We asked this former participant in our Jazzology program to tell us more about the work she’s done so far, what to expect from her debut album, and how her philosophy on music has evolved over time.