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Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Pop Traditional




"Nunavut's Kelly Fraser releases first CD, 'Isuma'"

Nunavut's Kelly Fraser releases first CD, 'Isuma'

Fraser says she believes in music in Inuktitut and wants to ensure the language thrives.

Nunavut singer/songwriter Kelly Fraser and her band have released their first CD, Isuma or Think in English.

In the last two years, Fraser has been slowly building her singing career by performing in northern festivals and releasing her own Inuktitut versions of popular songs, such at Rihanna's Diamonds, on YouTube.

On her first album, seven of the songs are original works written by Fraser and her Sanikiluaq bandmates.

The other three are covers, including a song from Larry Audlaluk of Grise Fiord and the late Charlie Adams of Nunavik.

"Charlie Adams, for us Inuit, he is a legend,” Fraser says. “He is our Elvis. He's a legend here and I've always liked his music. I met him once when I was six years old and I remember I was so proud.”

Fraser says the title song, Isuma, is her favourite.

She says it's the first song she wrote with the band when she was 15.

All of the songs are in Inuktitut, with some English lyrics.

Fraser says she believes in music in Inuktitut and wants to ensure the language thrives.

The CD is on sale at various locations, including Google Play and Arctic Ventures Marketplace in Iqaluit.

It will soon be available on iTunes. - CBC

"Kelly Fraser Interview PART 1 - Isuma TV"

Interview with Kelly Fraser in July at the Rockin Walrus Arts Festival in Igloolik (Nunavut). - ISUMA TV

"Kelly Fraser on Digital Drum"

Ever since her Inuktitut version of Rihanna’s Diamonds went viral in 2013 (156,000 views and counting), Nunavut’s Kelly Fraser has been making noise on the Aboriginal music scene. And at only 22, she’s just getting started.

From her debut album Isuma to her catchy YouTube covers of artists like Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Eminem and Pink, it’s clear that Kelly has a bright future ahead of her. In our latest feature, she talks about musical influences, following your dreams and more. - Digital Drum

"'Chasing their dreams:' Nunavut Hitmakerz hold music workshops for youths"

Songwriting and music production tour travels to Clyde River, Pond Inlet and Qikiqtarjuaq

Nunavut Hitmakerz, a songwriting and music production tour, wrapped up its summer dates with a community talent show in Qikiqtarjuaq on Monday.

The group, led by Iqaluit music producer Thor Simonsen and Sanikiluaq singer Kelly Fraser, travelled to Clyde River, Pond Inlet and Qikiqtarjuaq this August.

Nunavut Hitmakerz in Qikiqtarjuaq
'We’re really blown away from the support that everyone has shown us,' says Thor Simonsen. (Jordan Konek/CBC)

In each community they held three-day workshops with young people on songwriting and music production to unlock the youth's musical potential.

"It's been pretty overwhelming," says Simonsen.

"We're really blown away from the support that everyone has shown us, and the participants have been amazing. We've seen some incredible talent."

"Inuit are naturals at making songs so it's been really easy," adds Fraser.

Fraser says the community involvement has been a highlight of the project showcased in the talent show held in each hamlet on the last day of the workshops.

'They have a voice and tools available'

Simonsen says the incentive behind the project was to give young people in Nunavut the tools and know-how to pursue their goals in music.

"We want to see people chasing their dreams," says Simonsen.

Thor Simonsen and Kelly Fraser
Thor Simonsen and Kelly Fraser from Nunavut Hitmakerz are leaving behind some basic music recording and production tools in each community they visit. (Jordan Konek/CBC)

"They have a voice and tools available to them to make a better lives for themselves."

"It bring a lot more possibilities of positive instead of just being all negative," says Markosie Nauyavik, one of the participants in the workshops at Qikiqtarjuaq.

"For many years we've been pushed down, we've been hurt a lot. Just to see another positive example like this will make a lot of difference."

Simonsen says youth living in remote northern communities are hungry for any form of diversion, but the lack of distractions in these small hamlets can be an asset for budding artists.

"The fact that there's a lot of time and not a lot to do is a blessing in disguise," he says.

"You have a lot of time to focus on what you love."

To help young people achieve their musical goals, the Nunavut Hitmakerz team is leaving behind some basic music recording and production tools in each community they visit including a laptop and microphone.

"We know how hard it is for artists to get the tools to do what they love," says Fraser.

The group has also set up a Facebook group so that the workshop participants can continue to share their creations with the mentors and get feedback on their future projects. - CBC


2016 – Sedna

In 2017, Kelly will release her sophomore album, “Sedna”. With this second album, Sedna, Kelly hopes to
improve the production value of her work, reach a broader audience, and further spread her message of
hope, joy, cultural pride, peace and love.

"I want to make an album that blends traditional and modern music in both Inuktitut and English." said
Kelly. "I want to strengthen Inuit pride and sing about my own experiences of growing up in the Arctic. I
want to inspire young people everywhere that, no matter who you are, you can succeed!"

Unlike her first album, which was mostly folk music, her new album is influenced by contemporary pop,
EDM, and hip-hop. Kelly sings and raps in both English and Inuktitut, seamlessly blending the two
languages with her powerful, insightful, and politically-relevant lyrics. Her goal is to make the music
speak to both Inuit and Qallunaat (“southerners”).

The album is set for release April 25, 2017. 

2014 – Isuma

In 2014, Kelly Fraser and the Easy Four Band released their first album, “Isuma”. The album was only released in Nunavut and online. While it received much northern radio play and was generally well- received, it did not garner much national attention, accolades, or awards.

By northern standards, the album was a huge success, selling more than 1,200 copies! Everywhere Kelly Fraser and her band went to perform, CDs quickly sold out. One of the songs was even used for the Government of Nunavut’s Tobacco Has No Place Here health campaign, as well as many other places. 


Feeling a bit camera shy


Juno-nominated Inuk pop singer Kelly Fraser Originally was raised in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut. She first became a known artist across Canada's Arctic in 2012 after she released an Inuktitut-language rendition of Rihanna’s song, Diamonds (280,000+ views on YouTube). 

She followed up with other popular videos, and was soon asked to travel across Canada to perform. She travelled to communities across Nunavut and Nunavik, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver, and many more. Her audiences were Inuit, native, and non-native alike.

Kelly learned to play guitar at age 11, and at 15, she joined her first band, and they began writing original songs, performing both in English and Inuktitut. She quickly began developing a very strong following on.

Like many other Inuit, Kelly has been through many personal struggles, ranging from substance abuse, the loss of her father and others to suicide, to name only a few. Kelly uses her pain as inspiration to make art that can positively impact other native youths.

"Making music, singing, performing, and teaching others is what I love," she said. "It makes me happy and helps my own self-esteem, too. I want to do everything I can for a better Nunavut."

Through her work, Kelly seeks to spread her messages of joy, healing, and cultural pride through a blend of traditional Inuit music and modern production. 

In 2018, Kelly was nominated for a Juno Award for Best Indigenous Album for her sophomore album, Sedna. She is currently working on her next album.

Apart from music, Kelly also works as a motivational speaker, cultural teacher, and advocate for Inuit rights.

Band Members