While exploring Turtle Island, I meet people who forever change me. How they live gives me the courage to think outside the box and find the passion within to make this world better. I really want you to meet some of these superheroes: Modern Warriors who are blazing new paths and facing the challenges of today's Indigenous reality.

"Iskwe is an artist who constantly redefines her imprint on the world through her music. As a woman who wears her heart, dreams and spirit on her sleeve, she challenges us to embrace our own authenticity. It's artists like Iskwé who are giving a voice to the new spirit that is emerging in Indigenous country."

Iskwé

With this performer, what you see is what you get. Always an evolution, but always rooted in real.

Name: Iskwé

Current Beat: Downtempo Electronic Artist, Musician and Performer

Heritage: Cree/Dené/Irish

Current location: Canada (I bounce back and forth between Winnipeg & Toronto)

Describe yourself in 1 word or sentence: Unicorn

Iskwe 3

Favorite quote or teaching: "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." ~ O.W. Holmes

An example of pain morphing into beauty: The feet of a ballerina…

How do you balance Iskwé the singer with Iskwé the person?: I spend a LOT of my down time at home and with my pup. I live near the water, so I’m always close to nature, which really helps me step away from work related thought. I’m also a big fan of small hangs with friends – so things like sharing meals, chats, wine, etc… it’s really nice to be able to turn my phone off and just have in-person visits. I’ve become a bit of a stickler for that over the past couple years, ha!

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How do you stay healthy on the road?: Ugh. This is SUCH a hard thing to do. I’m forever trying new ways, especially when in countries or regions that aren’t familiar. One thing I’m adamant about is sleep. As a vocalist, my instrument is really easy to damage if I don’t take care of my body – and lack of sleep is the #1 culprit. Alcohol also dries out your vocal chords, so even though I do enjoy a nice bottle of wine, I make sure not to drink when touring if I have lots of back-to-back performances. Finally, I opt for a lot of water, herbal tea, and generally healthy food selections whenever possible!

You often wear very creative make up when you perform. Tell us about this:
In addition to being a musician, I’m also a painter (for hobbyist purposes only)… So for me, painting my face is another extension of my creative side – just with a much more bendy canvas! Occasionally, I use makeup as an expression of a specific thought or meaning. For example, I painted one half of my face with my interpretation of over-the-top appropriation of Inuit-style facial tattoos. The other half of my face was over-the-top glam makeup with big lashes, super smokey eyes, and red lips. Then, I beaded the word “Iskwé” (meaning “woman” in Cree), and covered my mouth with the beadwork. This was my way of standing up against imposed limitations on my culture and gender. This act was my way of saying that these “limitations” aren’t limitations at all. They are my strengths.
Other times, I paint my face simply because it feels nice. So it can go either way!

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1 piece of advice for Indigenous youth who want to sing/perform: Allow yourself the freedom to come alive in a new way each time you sing. ‘Voice’ comes from such a deep place in our bodies and spirits that we can often feel shy when we perform. In studying other artists I admire, I’ve found that that the best performers are the ones who are comfortable being “weird”; whether that means making funny facial expressions when they sing or using their bodies to help express themselves. When a singer/performer unleashes that part of themselves, and the quirks have room to breathe, they become so much more interesting to watch and listen to!

‘The Good Life’ means…: Feeling happy 85% of the time! Because let’s be real…I’m a moody artist. If I were happy 100% of the time, I’d go broke because I’d have nothing to write about!

iskwe

 

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