Monthly Archives: March 2024

Cree Artist Jessa Sky Releases Single “Anxiety”

In an era where vulnerability in music reigns supreme, Jessa Sky emerges as a beacon of authenticity with her latest release, “Anxiety.” The singer-songwriter’s poignant lyrics and haunting melodies delve into the depths of the human psyche, offering solace to listeners grappling with their inner demons.

In a recent interview, Jessa Sky shared her inspiration behind “Anxiety,” stating, “I wanted to create a song that felt like a lifeline for anyone who has ever felt consumed by their own mind. ‘Anxiety’ is my way of saying, ‘You are not alone.'” Indeed, through her music, Jessa Sky has created a sense of solidarity among listeners, fostering a community of support and understanding.

As “Anxiety” continues to resonate with audiences around the world, Jessa Sky’s star continues to rise. With her soul-stirring vocals and heartfelt songwriting, she has cemented her place as a voice for the voiceless—a beacon of hope in a world that often feels overwhelming.

Def-i & Phillipdrummond Release Music Video “DefPhilthy”

A grand opening to the “Nomad’s Land” album and the soundtrack to the New Mexican sunrise, “DefPhilthy” serves as an introduction to this MC/Producer combo which melds the worlds of MC ‘Def-i’ (ABQ, NM) and producer ‘Phillipdrummond’ (Oakland, CA).

Lyrics: Def-i 🎧

Production: Phillipdrummond

Mix/Master: Broken Complex Studios

🎨 Artwork: Joshua Mike-Bidtah

Label: Broken Complex

Indigenous Hip-Hop Trio Sekawee, Chase Szanz & Efrainyb Release Music Video “Relatives”

In a refreshing blend of cultural storytelling and rhythmic beats, Indigenous Hip Hop Trio Sekawee, Chase Szanz & Efrainyb have unleashed their latest music video, “Relatives,” sparking waves of excitement across the music scene. This dynamic collaboration transcends boundaries, offering a poignant narrative woven into the fabric of contemporary hip-hop.

Joey Stylez Releases “Modern Warriors” Featuring Joel Wood

Joey Stylez is widely acknowledged and has garnered a substantial following within Indigenous communities across Canada and globally. His music portfolio boasts tracks produced by Grammy Award-winning producer James Ho (Malay), showcasing his unwavering dedication to excellence. Additionally, he is the proprietor of Ble$$ed Street Studios, a nurturing environment for Indigenous talents, where he provides mentorship and support to budding musicians, fostering a legacy of creativity and empowerment within his community.

Reflecting on the challenges faced by Indigenous peoples throughout history, Joey Stylez highlights the struggles endured by previous generations, from cultural suppression to the dark legacy of residential schools and the sixties scoop. In the face of adversity, he and others like him, whom he refers to as “Modern Warriors,” serve as beacons of inspiration in a society undergoing profound change.

Biz Nico Music Releases New Track “Memories”

On March 15th, 2024, Biz Nico unveiled his latest single, “Memories,” featuring Skyler Roulette. Biz Nico, originally hailing from the Red Pheasant First Nation but raised in Saskatoon, SK, embarked on his musical journey in 2017 with the recording of his debut album, “Dark Clouds.” Under the mentorship of 2X Grammy Nominee Fresh IE, Nico’s artistic path was shaped, leading him to become an advocate for mental health awareness, particularly focusing on depression and suicide prevention within Indigenous communities.

Having graced stages alongside notable artists like Fresh IE, Manifest, Hunter Brothers, and Tim & The Glory Boys, Biz Nico has consistently used his platform to spread messages of hope and resilience In 2019, Nico released an EP titled “SAVE ME,” featuring personal songs reflecting his battles with depression. Tracks like “Let It Go” and “Save Me” made waves on Canadian radio, both reaching #4 on the Indigenous Music Countdown.

Métis Artist Electric Religious Announces New Album | Previews With “Good Bread” Single + Video

Métis artist Brandon Baker, known as Electric Religious, announces the release of his highly anticipated album The Taste, set for July 26 on the Indigenous-owned label, Red Music Rising. The announcement comes with the release of the lead track “Good Bread” and music video.

Drawing inspiration from Daft Punk, Chaka Khan, and Harry Styles, this new collection boldly blends pop, rock, and funk into what Baker playfully calls “Métis Disco”. “This album embodies the eclectic energy and vibrant sound I’ve always wanted to explore,” says Baker. “The Taste is a celebration of my roots and a push into uncharted musical territory.”

Ojibwe Rapper Itz Lil Lee Releases Bimaadiziwin

“Bimaadiziwin” is more than just an album; it’s a journey through the life and experiences of Itz Lil Lee, whose real name is Leonard Niganawakwe. Born and raised in the Ojibwe community, Niganawakwe’s music reflects his deep connection to his heritage while embracing the contemporary rhythms of hip-hop.

The album opens with a burst of energy in the track “Growth,” where Itz Lil Lee reflects on personal development and the importance of staying true to oneself amidst life’s challenges. Each song is a blend of traditional storytelling and modern rap, creating a unique soundscape that captivates listeners from diverse backgrounds.

One of the standout tracks of “Bimaadiziwin” is undoubtedly “Living Life,” where Itz Lil Lee delves into themes of cultural pride and resilience. Through poignant lyrics and infectious beats, the song celebrates the strength of the Ojibwe people and their enduring spirit in the face of adversity.

In “Living Life,” Itz Lil Lee paints a vivid picture of reclaiming cultural identity and embracing one’s roots with pride. The track serves as a reminder of the importance of honoring heritage while forging ahead in pursuit of one’s dreams. Itz Lil Lee’s flow is both powerful and uplifting, instilling a sense of empowerment in listeners as they groove to the rhythm.

Unapologetically Indigenous: Snotty Nose Rez Kids’ ‘Red Future’ Shakes Up the Hip-Hop Landscape

In a world where authenticity often takes a backseat to commercial appeal, Snotty Nose Rez Kids emerge as a breath of fresh air, unapologetically embracing their Indigenous roots and speaking truth to power through their music. Their latest release, “Red Future,” solidifies their position as one of the most exciting and socially conscious acts in contemporary hip-hop.

But it’s not all heavy subject matter. “Red Future” also showcases Snotty Nose Rez Kids’ versatility and playful spirit. Tracks like “Real Deadly” and “Boujee Natives” deliver catchy hooks and witty wordplay that are sure to get listeners moving while still carrying a potent message of self-empowerment and cultural pride.

With their latest release, Snotty Nose Rez Kids prove once again that they are not just musicians, but activists and storytellers, using their platform to shed light on the issues facing Indigenous communities and inspire change. “Red Future” is more than just an album; it’s a movement and one that is impossible to ignore

Indigenous Identity Through Music: A Q&A With Oji-Cree Artist Aysanabee

Aysanabee is a versatile musician, producer, and singer-songwriter residing in Toronto. Hailing from the Oji-Cree background, specifically belonging to the Sucker Clan of the Sandy Lake First Nation, located in the remote fly-in community nestled in the far reaches of Northwestern Ontario.

I think my background will inherently impact every song I write, we are products of our lived experiences, so I think everything I have faced, good and bad, will have an impact on my perspective of the world whether I admit it or not. What is Indigenous music? I have asked myself that for a while, especially after putting out my debut record, Watin, which focuses on the story of my grandfather. I went from that album to putting out an album about heartbreak. Both are Indigenous, because I am Indigenous, and they are experiences of Indigenous people who lived and walked on this land.

We Were Here is a track from my debut record that captures this moment of connection I feel many others can relate to. It touches on the inspiration of the album which was to share my grandfather’s story and my family history, which for many is always at the top of mind. Both in America and Canada, the government’s tried to erase our history, to assimilate us, and to make us a part of their idea of society and we are still feeling the impacts of it. For those who grew up far from their communities, like myself, there is a feeling of disconnection, sometimes imposter syndrome, which I am realizing was the goal of these residential schools, to make us feel like we aren’t ourselves, and if we are, we don’t belong in important spaces. We Were Here, for me, is about moving forward, of growth and rebirth in the shadow of so much that was lost.

I haven’t included any traditional music elements in my music. I have thought about it, and for me, it would require more time and care. I would never want to approach it in a way that would be disrespectful or not honor the traditions in a good way.

I feel like everyone thinks we are activists for simply being in any space because, historically, we’re not supposed to be. There are a lot of causes I support, and I tend just to share information or donate money. I know that might seem kind of lame, but again, with the same thoughtfulness of the last question you asked, I think being an activist is just as important as being a doctor; you need to know what the problem is to diagnose it and operate on it, you wouldn’t ask a musician to take out your kidney. But I have opinions. For context, I can’t tell you the long and complex history between the Jewish people and the Palestinian people, but I can say the bombing of children is evil. I can’t pretend to know the complexities of the global economy, but I can say someone having 10 billion dollars and another person having to beg for change is gluttony. There are things in which I have stronger opinions on, environmentally, we have the technology to be sustainable, but capitalism and greed don’t allow for it. I will always be on the side that protects the environment for future generations, but I admit I have to take planes and drive cars to gigs as part of my livelihood.

I hope to continue to be a good role model for the youth. Growing up I didn’t see anyone who looked like me in any spaces except maybe old Westerns or improper stereotypes. To be able to show my people that we are strong, we are full of pride, and we deserve to be in important places, so even this imposter syndrome can be one less thing of many that hold us back.

There are many up-and-coming Indigenous artists on the rise, and I actually know plenty of them. I think having a community in these spaces helps for many reasons. Mental health is one. Having people around you or in similar positions who just GET IT helps being able to have conversations about the industry and even just dream about what it could be is, for lack of better words, nice.

As far as collaboration, I got to perform my song We Were Here with Northern Cree at the 2023 JUNOs. This was a performance where we included traditional music, but I had drum leader Steve Wood to guide me through all the proper protocols. There was one moment when we finished the last chorus, and the arena went quiet, I heard an Indigenous woman do a lelele call, Wood spoke in Cree, and the crowd erupted, and I was overcome, it took me some time to realize what I had felt. It was pride.

A Journey Through Fashion and Culture: Q&A With Iñupiaq Artist Britt’Nee Brower

On February 25, 2024 the eighth annual Ivalu Gala benefiting Arctic Education Foundation was held at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Guests from across the state gathered to celebrate what has become one of the most anticipated events of the year. The Gala held an Indigenous Fashion Show curated by Britt’Nee Brower.

I have been involved with fashion shows in Anchorage since 2015, and have been in awe with our local designers, seamstresses and jewelry makers. I started making jewelry in 2017 and fell in love with the creation process of using our native materials to create Indigenous jewelry for everyday wear. Helping our people create a sense of cultural identity and pride while wearing our cultural clothing & jewelry has become so fulfilling to my heart and soul. I have goals to host more International Indigenous Fashion Shows in the near future. I am very fortunate to work with Toast of the Town with their experience of hosting beautiful fashion shows throughout our community.

The Ivalu Gala in benefit of the Arctic Education Foundation hosted a fashion show during 2022’s event and it was a huge success. This year we were able to add additional Inuit designers & models with a goal of having an international Fashion Show, as Monica Weihl shared her vision for growth in 2024’s gala. There were (7) designers total, and approximately (50) models in this year’s Fashion Show. Our international designers were Victoria Kakuktinniq of Victoria’s Arctic Fashion from Canada and Hans Henrik Suersaq Paulsen from Greenland. It was a huge success amongst our designers, models, and attendees! 

It is so important to create local Indigenous Fashion Shows because there is talent that goes unforeseen, especially for those who live in rural communities in Alaska. Social media is their main outlet and it’s amazing to showcase their body of work in person to help create more opportunities, experience for growth, and the ability to network throughout Alaska and the world.  

I have been blessed to be able to barter with family and friends in exchange for a variety of Native materials. When I was little I always wanted to wear really big earrings, however, the only big earrings that were available were beaded. I started working with furs, ivory, baleen, porcupine quills, sealskin, and more to create a vision to stand out and feel like a beautiful Indigenous person. I try to make each pair different and one-of-a-kind. I have since expanded to clothing and look forward to working with other designers to collaborate on bigger visions for our regalia and traditional clothing.

I have a qupak (geometric trim) belt that I created out of calfskin, normally seen on fancy parkas and mukluks. It was nice to be able to wear it to represent my family and stand out with the black and white pattern. This belt was a short-term goal of becoming an all-around seamstress to start creating garments both contemporary and traditional that can be worn throughout gala events, weddings, and more.

I see the Fashion Industry recognizing the talent of our Indigenous people’s hard work in our handmade items. The beauty of harvesting and preparing year-round by our local hunters, gatherers, and seamstresses will be recognized alongside the beauty of having a relationship with Nature and the animals we pay our respects to. The animals we hunt for subsistence foods will be viewed in a new light to share with the world that we are a very resourceful people; we do not waste any parts of the animal and we showcase our spirituality when we pay our respects to them as they give themselves to us.