Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Mary J. Blige is in financial trouble once again…
- Posted on Apr 17th 2010 9:00AM by Lonny Knapp
"It was just a group of us and the wildlife. We had to rely on the tools we brought with us to survive," she told Spinner. "In contrast to the scenery that surrounded me, it felt entirely surreal."
Award ceremonies tend to lump artists into little boxes, but when the category is based on heritage rather than musical style, as is the case of the Juno Award for Aboriginal Album of the Year, the connection can be tenuous.
The albums at this year's Juno Awards are a mishmash of folk, hip-hop, rock and traditional music that exemplify the broad musical of styles of Canada's aboriginal artists. As an artist that doesn't rely on traditional influences, Lucie hopes the nomination will introduce her music to larger mainstream audiences.
"How many people are aware that there are aboriginal people making mainstream music? Everybody thinks we are banging on drums and throat singing, but if you go into each and every community, there are artists being innovative," she says.
Idlout hails from Nunavut, Canada's largest territory, and opened for the White Stripes when they played Iqaluit on their 10th anniversary tour. While much is made of her Inuit heritage, her sound is modern rock'n'roll. She writes hard-hitting contemporary tunes and belts out her incisive lyrics in voice that bears comparison to the likes of Etta James and P.J. Harvey.
She dropped her debut, 'E5-770, My Mother's Name,' back in 2004. The title refers to a one-time Canadian government practice of identifying Inuit people by numbers instead of surnames. It's a record that Lucie describes as "political for personal reasons."
"With the first album there were some things that needed to be said. Once I got that out of my system, I just wanted to write songs about things I experience in my life."
Her Juno-nominated sophomore release, 'Swagger,' is a less political effort. She set out to produce "the perfect driving album," and delivered a contemporary rock record that visits the universal themes of love, loneliness and the search for balance in life. You really have to dig deep to find a traditional aboriginal influence.
"I was in Toronto when I wrote the album, and it would be rather bizarre to be writing about life in an aboriginal community while living in the big city," Idlout says.
Nevertheless, Lucie continues to make statements through her music. The album track 'Lovely Irene' tackles the issue of domestic violence, and a stripped-down version of that song featuring a children's choir inspired the mayor of Iqaluit to launch an awareness campaign to combat violence against women.
As an artist that has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe and was labeled "a fierce alternative rocker" in the New Yorker, Lucie is in line to become the next breakout Aboriginal artist. This Juno nomination might help her reach a broader audience, but for the time being she's happy to share the honour with her closest supporters.
"That I got the nomination in and of itself is pretty cool. But if it wasn't for the support from my community, all this would be pretty meaningless," she said.