On June 18th, I released my song “If God Had a Boat” to the world. It was amazing to see people come together online and offline to offer feedback, kindness, love and support. As creators, we spend so much time focused on our craft, often behind closed doors, that once we step forward to present our art to the world, sitting in what is unknown can be overwhelming. It takes a lot of courage. I am so grateful to anyone that has spent the time to listen – it makes all the difference.
Spotify Canada asked me to turn their light onto other musicians that inspire me by becoming an official curator of their Indigenous playlist for the month of July. To celebrate the courage and the emotions and what it has taken for these artists not only to create but to step out and offer their art, their stories and their truths. I’m honoured to have been asked to take part in such an experience of community. Therefore, to begin this Indigenous Arts Week, I want to highlight some of the musicians that are included in that playlist.
Aysanabee is a multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer songwriter currently based in Toronto. He was featured in the Indigenous Music Awards Emerging Artists Series(IMAs) and was in the running for the IMA’s music video competition for his song “The Dawn”.
Born Evan Pang, he is Oji-Cree, Sucker Clan of the Sandy Lake First Nation. Moving off reserve at the age of 3, Aysanabee grew up in several northern towns across Manitoba and Ontario until settling in Kaministiquia outside of Thunder Bay with his mother and siblings where he taught himself to play guitar and write songs.
His sound ranges from introspective folk and lofi R&B to soul anthems with the driving drums, which can be heard in his debut singles, Ocean Breath and Howling. He has played in several bands over the years, but over the pandemic, started his solo career under his family name, Aysanabee.
Aysanabee has spent the last 6 years working in journalism for several news outlets, leading him to develop his skills in storytelling, but also dividing his life into two parts.
He is currently working on a full-length project that combines both aspects of his life to deliver
the story of his family, his struggle with identity and reconnecting with his roots: a story that is
echoed across Canada.
Her sound is similar to her journey – eclectic, hard to define and always changing. Born and raised in the small town of Shelburne her deep love for music comes mainly from her parents’ influence. Mom met Dad whilst each in their own traveling band. Dad, the guitarist in a late ’60s band called Kingpin, and Mom had just left her local band called Ruby, headed for the road with an all-girls band called Why Not. Ruby’s got roots. – (Retrieved from https://www.onestowatch.com/artist/ruby-waters)
Nimkish is a rising Indigiqueer pop artist based out of Vancouver, B.C. Her first album, Heartbreak On The Coast, was released on August 30th, 2019. The debut album charted #1 on the CiTR Discorder Charts the week of its release, and has since received national radio play on CBC Reclaimed. Nimkish writes from a personal place and of the many trials of life and heartbreak. Her raw lyricism is seamlessly intertwined with catchy pop melodies, and is backed by a smooth blend of Pop, R&B, and Electronic Music. – (Retrieved from https://nac-cna.ca/en/bio/nimkish)
Ozalik-Sondaky was the musical project of my father Gaëtan Siouï. Sondaky was the name my father gave to the group – his own Huron name. He was the lead songwriter, composer and performer. This music was a part of the production that my father made alongside my mother, my community – a production that I also featured in from the time I was eight years old. It was inspired by the vision of my grandfather and explored the sacred interdependence of the circle of life.
Raised in a doomsday cult. Forged in the wild. She lost everything and everyone for renouncing her childhood faith. That is when she discovered herself; began to heal through music; And started the work of reclaiming her Indigenous heritage. – (Retrieved from Jayli Wolf Spotify profile).
Get to know Canada’s next promising star: Boslen. This 21-year-old rapper was born and raised in the suburbs of Vancouver, BC. He came from the small town of Chilliwack and is now on the rise as one of the most talented artists from the West Coast. Initially, the young artist had a different dream. He wanted to be a professional rugby player. He had a full scholarship at the University of Victoria and a position on Team Canada Rugby, but while playing, he tore two ACLs, which immediately ended his goals of an athletic career. After that moment, Boslen knew he needed to change the direction of his life. That is when he started making music.
Joseph Sarenhes is a versatile creator. On top of playing piano, guitar and drums, he’s also a singer, a rapper, a composer and a video creator. A singular talent and surprisingly gifted. He cites Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Chris Brown and many others as his biggest inspirations. Joseph’s identity has very strong cultural roots. Of Guinean, Indigenous (Huron-Wendat Nation) and Quebecois origin, he instinctively creates a mixture that is both homogeneous and refreshing between tradition and current trend, innovating… Joseph hopes that his music will be a unifying medium that inspires and leaves a positive impact on the world. This kid really got something special among special people.