Kelly Fraser launches Kickstarter campaign to fund her new album, Decolonize

“There’s still so much that needs to be healed in this country”

Inuk singer-songwriter Kelly Fraser has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund her upcoming album, Decolonize. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Fraser)

By Emma Tranter

Inuk singer-songwriter Kelly Fraser has a story to tell.

“I’m ready to go out as an artist and talk about something very deep,” Fraser says.

The 26-year-old Juno-nominated pop artist from Sanikiluaq is working on her third album, which she has already chosen a title for—Decolonize.

“The album will be basically teaching people about colonization and how there’s these stereotypes embedded in people’s brains. There’s still so much that needs to be healed in this country,” Fraser says.

Decolonize will mix traditional throat singing and drumming with rock, hip hop and electro-pop, Fraser says.

Fraser, who won a 2019 Indspire award, sings in Inuktitut and English, often putting her lyrics to dance beats and pop-rock rhythms.

She is also known for her Inuktitut covers of pop songs, like Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and Camila Cabello’s “Havana,” which Fraser posts to her YouTube channel.

In addition to recording and performing, she also teaches Inuktitut songwriting workshops with Nunavut Hitmakerz, an organization that empowers Nunavut youth through promoting career development and opportunities through the arts.

As an artist with a growing national and international following, Fraser says she gets a lot of questions about growing up in Nunavut.

“Every space I’m in, other than at home, I’m always asked, ‘Is it cold? What’s it like up there? What are the people like? What is the food like?’”

“I want an album that explains all that without me having to explain it over and over again in all circles that I’m in.”

Although the album will deal with difficult, personal subjects for Fraser like residential schools and the RCMP’s slaughter of sled dogs in the eastern Arctic in the 1950s to 1970s, she hopes her new album will promote healing and bring people closer together.

“This is a way to remedy the pain. I don’t want to talk as if I’m angry,” she says.

“I want to tell people what to do. How they can help. How every human on this earth has a purpose and one of them is to leave this earth the way we came to it. And not create more damage than good. So I’m hoping to create peace with this album.”

But, as an unsigned, independent artist, Fraser says she needs funding to produce and market her album. To do that, she launched a Kickstarter campaign, with a goal of raising $60,000.

Money raised will support the recording and promotion of Decolonize, she says.

“I will use it to record the album, not just record it but publicize it. It can be very expensive if it’s for over a year.”

Donors will receive different prizes, depending on how much is given to her campaign.

For example, if someone donates $20, they will receive two digital pre-release singles and a private behind-the-scenes Snapchat of the recording process.

Donate $100 and you will receive the pre-release singles, Snapchat, a merchandise package and a pre-release copy of the album.

The album will also feature other artists, including Silla and Rise, PIQSIQ, Mob Bounce, Blackfoot and Mamarudegyal MTHC.

For Fraser, the money will also help her compensate those artists.

“I want to compensate them because a lot of the time as artists we’re always giving each other freely, but I want to pay everybody for their time,” Fraser said.

Fraser will write and record the album in early 2020 and plans to release it in May or June.

“I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve been given by my people. I’m very grateful that a lot of non-Indigenous people are fans of mine. So I give thanks to everybody that listens to my music, in particular my own people who allowed me to break through into the commercial music industry.”

Fraser says she wants Decolonize to help non-Indigenous people understand Canada’s history of colonization in order to move forward as a country.

“I know even just the title can anger people, because they have a fear of what that could mean, but it doesn’t mean that we will oppress non-Indigenous people the way we were oppressed. Decolonizing is a way to have us involved in every way.”

“I want my children to live differently than how I lived, or my mother. Because I’ve faced a lot of barriers to becoming what my dream is to be a successful singer-songwriter.”

Fraser’s Kickstarter campaign can be found here. As of Nov. 21, $2,000 had been raised.

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by iWonder on

    I’m curious if Fraser has ever addressed the issue of her appropriation of Rihanna’s music? This would seem fitting given her strong stance on appropriation in general.

    • Posted by Highly Bemused on

      You mean you’ve never heard traditional Inuit electro-pop played on the…um…electric…uh…sealskin…keyboard?

  2. Posted by jim on

    She should charge for autographs at Northern??lol

  3. Posted by iWonder2 on

    i thought she was part of “Hitmakerz” label…

  4. Posted by What does it mean ? on

    What does ” DECOLONIZE ” mean ?
    What are you trying to accomplish ?
    You complain about ” COLONIZATION ” and then you turn
    and ask for $60,000 ? You leaders & big shots who talk so
    much about the old ways LOL, you haven’t a bloody clue.
    I moved into a small settlement in 1968, after natural cruel
    hardships cost the lives of young siblings. Try that ! !
    So many Southern Inuit are full of it, they think they have
    the right to control all of Nunavut.

  5. Posted by Video on

    Wasn’t there a video circulating on facebook last month?

  6. Posted by amusic on

    Go Kelly go!

  7. Posted by Humm on

    Known Kelly for a few years. Yes, she is part of Hitmakerz. Her songs do touch on topics that are linked to historical and contemporary realities for Inuit –and other Indigenous people.
    Kickstarter for an album–interesting.
    She needs to use cautions–she often purports herself to be the voice of Inuit (especially Nunavut Inuit). She has not been elected by a community of her peers to represent them– that is a self appointed position she’s put herself in. She is anti-cultural appropriation, but yet, is so guilty of it herself.
    There are definite tones of self-righteousness in much that comes out of her mouth.

    • Posted by Hummakerz on

      Kelly is most definitely a voice for Inuit.
      Looking forward to purchasing and playing this new album when it’s out.

      • Posted by Ever rich on

        Hope you’re kicking in a few bucks, only $58,000 to go.

  8. Posted by Go to school on

    Kelly would be better off, and so will be good for Inuit, if she would focus on her education instead. Go to school and get a good education along with your singing, that would give you more insight.

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