Happy Pride and Indigenous history month!
On this week's episode I had the honour of chatting with bad ass singer/songwriter and the first indigenous winner of the CBC Searchlight Rising Star, Shawnee Kish. Shawnee gives us an update on how her whirlwind year has been since Searchlight and dishes on her edgy and fresh EP releasing soon! She goes into how her music and sound has evolved and what she hopes for in the future. Shawnee, who is 2 spirit, speaks on the importance of her work with the LGBTQ2S+ community and Indigenous Youth, through ‘Kids Help Phone,’ and the ‘We Matter’ campaign. She opens up the conversation about the importance of teaching Canada’s role in Indigenous History and how much more work there is to be done.
SHAWNEE KISH BIO
Shawnee Kish discovered music as medicine at a very early age. Born dreaming about being on stage and starting her journey toward a career in music at the age of 12, music has quickly become a source of self-empowerment for the Two Spirit soulful singer. Fuelling her with purpose and reason, making music has allowed Shawnee’s to stand tall in her personal strength and power. Named the winner of CBC’s 2020 Searchlight talent competition, this fierce, powerhouse artist has been celebrated as one of North America’s Top Gender Bending Artists (MTV), named by Billboard as an Artist You Need To Know and continuously uses her music to empower.
Listening to her chart-topping releases one can easily recognize that, as an artist, Shawnee has been influenced by the strong, confident voices of female performers such as Melissa Etheridge, Etta James, Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse. Her deeply personal and always poignant lyrics are rooted in healing, allowing both herself and her listeners to find purpose and reason in the stories she tells.
An outspoken advocate for her Indigenous and LGBTQ2+ communities, Shawnee is a proud Two Spirit Mohawk who has shared the stage with some of the world’s biggest names — Lady Gaga, Madonna and Alicia Keys to name a few. 2020 saw her step into the world of virtual performances without hesitation, taking part in The Canada House/UK Commerce International Women's Day Virtual Performance, performing at The Songwriter Series with Serena Ryder and participating in the RBC's Emerging Artist program. In addition to virtual performances, Shawnee raised her voice on a Grammy Museum Discussion Panel (Being an Artist During COVID) and joined the National Arts Centre of Canada on a collaborative youth project (ongoing).
2021 will see the Edmonton-based artist release a new EP that addresses her personal struggles of the past twelve months — “The main theme will be lighting up what use to be and getting on with what is now. The songs represent becoming yourself, finding out where you were was not where you wanted to be and fully embracing that in order to let go. Light the Place up, even if it’s unintentional” — and hopefully return to touring.
She will also continue her work with the We Matter Campaign and Kids Help Phone in hopes of empowering youth, providing strength and hope through music.