A young Inuit singer-songwriter’s messages of cultural pride, hope and healing are making waves in the music industry.
At just 24-years-old, Kelly Fraser has been nominated for a Juno Award for her second album, Sedna.
She first heard the news last month from a friend.
“I burst out crying and thought of my mother right away and then all those people that told me I couldn’t do it,” Fraser says. “I thought of them and I was like, here I am doing it.”
From Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, Fraser says music was always a part of her life. Her mom had a Saturday morning radio show that played ‘70s and ‘80s era music like Tina Turner and Joan Jett. When she was 11 years old, Fraser learned to play the guitar. When she turned 15, she formed a band that wrote its own songs.
She says she was always a fan of American singers and rappers but felt the music didn’t represent who she was – a teen girl from the Arctic.
“I wanted to hear about someone that went through what I went through,” she says.
Fraser says her songs have a lot of meaning, depicting the struggles of suicide, social issues and the painful history of her people.
“I work with amazing people around me and I overcome the negative things people say with the support of people around me,” she says. “I didn’t always have that support. I had to really prove myself that I’m a serious artist with a message to tell to people all over the world and people are respecting that.”
Fraser hopes to build on the Juno nomination, to showcase her music and inspire a new generation.
The Juno Awards will take place in Vancouver on March 25th.