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Thursday, November 30, 2023
HomeTrue North TalesNorthern Artist: Leela Gilday

Northern Artist: Leela Gilday

For this true north tale, I sat down with another great Northern artist, this time the Juno Award-winning Leela Gilday. We talk about her most recent Juno nominations, as well as what projects she’s currently working on. But first I asked Leela what inspires her

One of the big things about being a Dene person is the world views that you’re connected to the land. So I feel very inspired and connected to Denendeh, to the land and the water, and all of the things that go into basically supporting who we are as humans. And a lot of my songs are inspired by that connection. And this year has been really, you know, of course, challenging for many musicians, my whole industry collapsed, and I stopped touring. But one of the great gifts was to be able to stay home this whole year. And after, you know, spending 25 years on the road this is the longest time I’ve spent at home, and being able to watch the seasons change and going out on the land every day and just being able to connect with that part of myself. That’s very, very inspirational to me.

This year, Leela was nominated for two Juno Awards, the first being indigenous artists of the year.

And this is the first time I’ve been nominated in the contemporary roots album category. So having that kind of recognition, you know, both within my indigenous music community and in the more mainstream music community, it just tells me the body of work that I have on that record, which I’ve really believed to be my most important work to date, is really connecting with people in very significant ways. And that’s all you can hope for, as a musician, I am so honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people that are in those categories. And I reached out to most of them, several of them are my friends, and then also to the musicians that didn’t get nominated nominations can sometimes be hit and miss. So there are several incredible records that were released in this past year that didn’t get nominated, and they’re still equally as powerful and impactful and beautiful.

Leela has a couple of projects she’s working on right now like an upcoming album that will be entirely in Dene K’e, she’s also in the process of writing a show with her brother.

It’s the first time we’ve intentionally come together to write a show. We’ve performed together in the past for many years when we were younger, the Gilday family singers and stuff like that, and I have such a deep respect for my brother and his artistry, but it’s just great. He actually took the time to come up to Yellowknife with his family for six months during this time. They normally live in Edmonton, so it’s been really fantastic to have him around and to work with him. – Leela Gilday, JUNO Award Winning Artist

Listen to the full TNT here!

Check out Leela’s Website here: https://www.leelagilday.com/

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