South Peace News
A Juno nominated artist is coming to Peace River’s underground Music Society on Feb. 8.
Celeigh Cardinal, who is originally from the Peace Country, heard Jan. 28 she was nominated for the Juno for Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year.
The Métis singer/songwriter is up against Northern Haze, Digawolf, Nehiyawak, and Riit.
The award will be presented to the winner by APTN at the Juno awards in Saskatoon on Sunday, March 15.
“I am feeling very good but also kind of like I’m a chicken with my head cut off,” Cardinal says. “It kind of just got insanely busy all of a sudden.
“I started getting texts and phone calls and interview requests and it’s been non-stop.”
Although the Juno nod is a new level of recognition, Cardinal is no stranger to awards. Her 2017 album Everything and Nothing at All earned her multiple awards, including Indigenous Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards and eight nominations at the Edmonton Music Awards, where she won Female Artist of the Year and Indigenous Recording of the Year. The album was also nominated for Best Pop Album at the Indigenous Music Awards.
Cardinal released her third album last year after two years of touring and an Indigenous Music Residency with Manitoba Music. Stories from a Downtown is now streaming on all platforms, and her song The Devil is a Blue-Eyed Man reached No. 1 on the Indigenous Music Countdown last August.
Peace Country music fans may have seen her perform before at last year’s Bear Creek Folk Festival or at North Country Fair. When she performed in Grande Prairie in mid-January, her first performance sold out, and the venue had to add a second performance.
Cardinal has also performed across North America and internationally, including Reeperbahn in Germany, and tours in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.
Before her Juno nomination she was in New Orleans for Folk Alliance International and the International Indigenous Music Summit, which is in its second year.
“As a Métis person from northern Alberta, I kind of suffer from that lack of identity and lack of knowledge about where I come from because we are all kind of part of that being put into Metis settlements, Sixties Scoop, all of that kind of separation,” Cardinal says. “So this gathering was so amazing because I had the opportunity to connect with indigenous folks from all over the world, and we all kind of have that shared experience of a lack of identity.
“Even though we have such different cultures, and some of us don’t even know our cultures, there is such a sense of belong there that is so amazing.”
Cardinal herself has been called a role model for Indigenous youth, a role she hasn’t always been comfortable with.
“I think I’ve finally grown into it,” she says. “When I was in my mid-to-late 20s and being called a role model, I was a little bit more resistant to that because I didn’t want to have a responsibility to anybody, but there’s just something that’s happened since I’ve found kind of a new purpose in being pulled into this beautiful indigenous community.
“I’m recognizing things I didn’t recognize before, like the lack of representation of indigenous people in the media, and how that affected me when I was a little girl looking at magazines wishing that I was skinnier, that I had blonde hair, you know, trying to do my makeup so I could fit in. Just never feeling OK about myself.
“Now I want that. I want to be somebody who can go ahead and take my opportunities and experience and create more space for indigenous people wherever I go.”
Cardinal is the first Indigenous radio personality on Alberta’s own CKUA and the first Indigenous member of Edmonton’s Arts Column, “The In Crowd.”
“When I was started working at CKUA I was filling in, and I was offered my own show and I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. I decided to have an all indigenous show. I get the opportunity to highlight music for up and coming or well established indigenous artists from all over the world.
“In a way what I’m doing, and it’s kind of sad it has to be done, is I’m humanizing indigenous people.”
After the Junos, Cardinal will be going on a European tour in May and June. She is also planning on touring in eastern Canada as much as possible. Then she hopes to head to Australia and New Zealand
“I think the idea is just for this to continue for this to grow,” she says. “I want to continue doing the radio stuff because I love having a platform to share other people’s music, too.
“All I’ve ever wanted is to give myself a career out of playing music, and truthfully I have been doing that for the last five years. I’ve been making it work, but it’s just gotten easier in the last couple of years.”
Cardinal was born in Beaverlodge. Her keyboardist is from Peace River, so she says she made an exception to her strategies for tours and gigs to come to Peace River.
“I truly do love coming up to Peace River because it is such an amazing community and everyone is so fun and so supportive. I’m always going to make exceptions for the Peace Country to do things I don’t usually do, and maybe take a little bit less money, because it’s like my home so I’m very happy to be coming back to play for the underground Music Society,” Cardinal says.
“I’m coming up and I’m doing three sets. I never do three sets anymore. That’s just something I don’t do. Coming up and doing three sets, our last set is going to be set of super fun, funky, soulful dance covers.”
She adds she knows what Peace River wants from her.
“Peace River wants to party.”
Tickets for underground are available now at Danberger and Sons, Style Rite Cleaners or GottaHavIt in Peace River, or online through Eventbrite.