Introducing ANYMA, In a week-long celebration of Indigenous peoples, art and truth.

In solidarity with Indigenous communities across the country, many Canadians have called to cancel Canada Day. 

July 1st has been considered the informal “birthday of Canada”, marking the anniversary of Canadian confederation. This longstanding celebration emphasizes the countries colonial history but neglects the history of the first people that lived on this land – First Nations, Métis and Inuit. Now, the recent discovery of unmarked burial sites of the remains of hundreds of children at various residential school locations across Canada has resurfaced existing and ancestral trauma for so many Indigenous people, that Canadians are rejecting this celebration out of respect for those in mourning.   

While there is an opportunity to tear down this colonizer symbol, perhaps there is still reason to hold this symbol in one hand, while reimagining what the first of July should mean for Canadians? 

I think of the Charging Bull on Wall Street in New York City. The bronze statue of a bull that for so many symbolizes the plight of capitalism, of greed and profit , of excess over all else. Of the toxicity of patriarchy. A statue that I’m certain many believe should be removed from where it stands in the public square. Yet in 2017, sculptor Kristen Visbal erected a beautiful symbol of courage, feminism and the purity of adolescence – a four foot bronze girl, arms akimbo, staring the bull in the eyes.

While the statue has since been relocated, for more than a year, the Fearless Girl created such a fierce juxtaposition to the bronze bull that the bull itself seemed to have been stripped of its power. The scene no longer embodied the harsh realities of one of the world’s financial epicentres but now offered a glimpse of hope. For gender equality and as a reminder that new generations can reshape even the most fortified and longstanding institutions. 

However, without the bull, we only have half of this context. 

There is an opportunity to look at where we have come from to better understand where we are going. Canada Day, much like the bronze Charging Bull of Wall Street, in some ways, represents long-overdue change. It represents a part of our history – both of old and of very recent – that cannot be changed but also must not be forgotten. 

There is now an opportunity to stand arms akimbo, to stare back, to allow people to tell their truth, to remember and remind. To hold that context in one hand and instead of toppling statues, change the very ground to which they stand. 

And while this is indeed a time of great mourning for thousands of people across Canada, it is also a time to give, to listen and to support.  As media, it is our responsibility to offer a platform for truth and to amplify voices that are not heard.

For the first week of July, Notable Life has chosen to work closely with an artist of the Wendat Nation to help us curate and highlight incredible Indigenous artists from across Canada. ANYMA is a Wendake, Quebec musician that recently released the first single from her forthcoming album. Together we will explore music, dance, fashion, circus and more for a week-long celebration of Indigenous peoples, art and truth. 

We start by introducing our featured artist – ANYMA. 

D – Selfishly I’m like so excited because I’ve been waiting to feature an artist like you, so despite the circumstances, this feels like right place, right time. So thank you for sharing your gift with the world.

A – Thank you for having me today. I’m with friends, and we were saying how right now everything is aligning in a special way for a lot of people. And I think we’re all meeting together to share our experience. That’s what we do, that’s what you do. You’re here to take what we do, what you do to share it with the world, to help the world. So it’s very nice. So thank you.

D – Thank you. All right. So for those who don’t know, who are you and what do you do?

A- This question is a special question because I feel like who am I such a big, existential question, but I make music and through my human experience and what I go through, my emotions and what I believe in, I want to give my heart to music. So it’s more than just saying that I make music and I’m a songwriter, but also that I want to give a piece of my heart through this; to share my experience through music. And I am very proud of my roots of my Native American roots. And yeah, I think that’s how I would describe myself.

D – Gosh, I love that. What made you want to do what you do?

A – Since I was very young, my dad was a producer and a musician and he would share his passion with me at a very young age. He would bring me to shows and I would look at him and be so proud to see him on stage. So he passed this to me. But there’s also this story where I went to Florida. It was my first time flying. I was going to see my uncle who lived over there and I was supposed to go there after high school to pursue music at that time. So I went on the plane and it was my first time on a plane, and I felt nothing. I was not excited to be on the plane; there was nothing happening. And then I asked myself that question. I was like, why am I not like excited? And why am I not feeling something? It’s weird. So I put on my earphones, and I put on some soundtrack music – Hans Zimmer – and then I got chills and emotions and my heart started to beat. And then I was like… I feel something. It was kind of in my question that moment where I was like, why am I not excited? Because for me it was just normal. And then getting my earphones on I was like, ohmigod, this is where my heart is.

D – It’s like what Shakespeare said, you know, if music is the food of love, play on. There’s something about music that fills you up, there’s nothing like it.

A- And there’s a scientific guy. I don’t remember who, but he said there’s one thing that we can trust in the spiritual world. And music has this way of connecting us all to this other realm where there’s no time. You listen to music and you are just in another dimension in and it all connects us together. We gather around fires in our Native culture, and play the drums together, sing together. It’s a cultural thing.

D- Tell me, what advice would you give to anybody who’s trying to break into this industry?

A – I think it could be so many things, but I’d say to listen to your heart. Let’s say that your calling is to make music, then take your roots deep down with you and be proud of who you are and just listen to your heart and share what you have to say to the world. It’s not about who is better and who sings better, or who’s the best position. It’s about what you have to say and what you have to share to the world. So have confidence in what you are and what you want to do. Accept who you are and have discipline, because in my world, and where I come I had trouble discipling myself. You need to show up, and give the effort. It’s not like *snaps fingers* and it happens. You have to work hard, you know? So, work hard, meet people, be around people that encourage you and give you good advice and support you. But also, be around people who do not always share the same opinions you do, so they can challenge you. Listen to who you arem and give yourself a chance. It’s not magic, butt if you’re going to take the actions and it’s going to happen, then the nniverse is going to hear it, and the universe is going to provide.

D- A lot of people say ‘do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life,’ which is kind of a lie, right? Because, you’re doing what you love, but it’s still hard work, but it’s worth it because you’re living in your calling.

A – I’ve had so many moments where I was so frustrated to go at the piano and so frustrated to sing. I would tell myself ‘you’re not good enough’ and even though I was sad, I had to face myself. And you know, if it’s really what’s burning inside, you’re not going to give up.

I would also say read the War of Art [book]. I don’t remember the author, but it talks about resistance. So when you feel that resistance through your dream and you know it’s what you love, but you feel this voice inside that you’ll never make it, that you’ll never be good enough, just remember it’s normal to have that inside of you. If you don’t, then you’re not in the right place anyway.

D – That’s good. I’ll add that to my booklist. What’s your mission in your career?

A – I think is my number one mission is to be authentic about everything I’m going through. So it’s to give this gift that I have to the people so they can take it, to feel support and not be alone. I think that would be my number one mission, but to say it in one word, to give my heart to my music.

D – That’s so great. You’re open to whatever life will bring you, which is really beautiful.

A – Yes, and I’ve been through failure. We all go through failure and it’s important. So life is testing you and asking, do you want more? How bad do you want it? And what is going to stop you?

D – So on that note, what adversities have you faced so far, how have you been able to conquer them and what do you attribute that to?

A – I went through a depression when my father died, and my grandma also passed away at the same time because she did not take the trauma of her son dying well at all. I also got pregnant at the same time. So there was so many things happening and I was young and also heartbroken in teenage crisis. I had to be strong for my family and for my mom, my grandfather and for my loved ones at the moment. I shut down everything that was happening to be there for these people. And that was really harmful. A couple of years after then it came it came back to haunt me, in my realization that I was not okay. I just wanted to sleep all the time, was tired and didn’t have the taste for anything, and I closed up. So I wanted to sing but I did not trust myself anymore, and I was scared to show the world what I was going through because it was so hard.

When I began to trusting yourself agaib, I did it alone, in nature, and with my friends and family, and I had access to ceremonies. So the sweat lodge, community and other kinds of ceremonies really helped me to dive deep and find the courage to fight. And I went from ‘I don’t want to live anymore,’ to, ‘I am ANYMA, and I am singing for the world.’ That’s who I am. And I trust in this fully. I’m really proud to have gotten here, but it’s a journey and it’s all about giving yourself the time to do it.

D – And also, giving yourself the grace.

A – That’s right. You’re so right. I think we’re turning back to something that we’ve lost in a way, and this time is about going back there and giving my people a voice again and place again. I just think it’s, it’s natural to go back to the roots. There’s no difference between our colour, you know? So this time is about finding that peace again, and giving back voices to our people. There’s going to be a lot of healing, cause there’s a lot of harm that has been going on and I think we need this space to breathe and to cry and to let the dancers dance and to be seen and to live through our art as well. And it’s just fantastic to be here now with this openness that we’re getting back to.

D – Let’s talk about what you’re working on!

A – There’s so much going on right now! Let’s start with the new EAP that’s coming out in the beginning of fall and like there’s another single coming out as well in August. This one is special, one of mine is all about the one I truly love. In my world right now, we’re talking about synchronicity and so Home To You is coming out as my next single. And there’s an animated video.

D – I love that. Is there anything else that you want to just bestow?

A – Take the time to listen to your core beliefs, your priorities and your discipline at the same time. It’s about balancing both worlds together to stay healthy. Enjoy life’s simple pleasures, you know, it’s important.