Singer-songwriter iskwē | ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ (short for waseskwan iskwew, meaning “blue sky woman”) is more than just an artist, she is a teller of stories that have impacted our past and will inform our future. iskwē’s music allows her creativity to soar as she explores a range of ambient sound effects and beats.
Her spine-tingling vocals anchor the myriad of sounds, blurring the lines between sources and styles, as well as between the actual, ideal, real, and imagined. Transporting listeners into a world of electronic rhythms and Indigenous sounds as she draws upon her Cree Métis roots, iskwē’s genre-bending catalog includes three full-length albums that span a spectrum of emotions and is powered by resilience. Her debut 2017 album The Fight Within speaks to self-love in the face of hate and 2019’s acākosīk calls out the systematic abuses against Canada’s Indigenous peoples and features the JUNO award-winning song “Little Star.” Meanwhile, the collaborative 2022 project Mother Love with Tom Wilson is a reflection on the nature of love and culture as the pair’s individual contributions blend together seamlessly.
Known for her impactful stage presence as she incorporates dance and multimedia to present a completely engulfing and cathartic experience, iskwē has performed hundreds of shows around the world at iconic locations including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park’s SummerStage, Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, and London’s Border Crossing Origins Festival in addition to performing for the King and Queen of Sweden. Continuing to mesmerize listeners with her truly incomparable sound, iskwē has received media support from the likes of NPR, Billboard, VICE, and Entertainment Tonight Canada along with CBC who have named her “one of the most powerful performers in the country.” iskwē is gearing up to share the next chapter of her career where she offers a look into the gut-wrenching roller coaster that has been her recent life. Stay tuned for new music from iskwē coming this year.
If you could go open a show for any artist, who would it be?
I would absolutely LOVE to open for Florence & the Machine. I saw her ‘High As Hope’ album tour twice, and it was magical. So vibrant, full of love and big energy, it was incredible! I also really appreciate her message of kindness and taking care of each other – in a time when the world feels extra dark, I love to surround myself with light!
What is one message you would give to your fans?
To release ourselves from the weight of what others think about us. The internet gives so much room for random opinions over every little thing, it’s exhausting, so I am constantly encouraging myself to let go and turn it off – life feels much better when you let go of what others think!
What is your favorite song to perform?
Oooh…I have a few. My first one would be a tune called ‘Night Danger’ off my previous record, acākosīk. Its a super fun, moody tune that really rocks when we play it live! My latest favourite is my most recent release, ‘Waiting For The Laughter’, which will be on my upcoming record, nīna – due for release April 12, 2024. It’s a song about learning to love myself again, in spite of the messaging geared towards women (more specifically) and our ageing process. I really get to let go and dance in this one, which feels good in my soul.
Are you creative in other disciplines?
I was actually a dancer before I ever went into music! I danced ballet and contemporary for about 1 million years, and still try to incorporate it into my art, be it in video or stage, any chance I can!
Where was your current project recorded?/Was anyone else involved in writing, recording, or producing the songs?
This record was written and recorded in the incredible Panoram Studios in Mexico City, alongside my dear friend and genius producer, Damian Taylor. We spent almost two months in Mexico City (I actually lived there for about a year) working on this project, and I am so so thrilled with how it turned out! The full record will be available April 12, 2024, with several singles from this album already available.
Stream + share “Waiting For The Laughter” now: https://music.iskwe.com/wftl
If you could be a superhero, what would your superpower be and your superhero name?
Oh, that’s easy – it would be the ability to speak ANY language I ever encounter, human or not. As for my name? Hmm…I’d probably go with Savant
You are a new addition to a crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Definitely Electric Blue – because it’s vibrant, lush, and eye catching.
If you could ask your future self-one question, what would it be?
Were you ever to get rid of that shoulder pain?
As a kid, were you ever frightened of a monster under the bed or in the cupboard?
Not a monster under the bed or anything, but, I was DEFINITELY convinced that there was a shark in the deep end of the pool that I swam at multiple times a week…so anytime I was doing backstroke, I’d panic and go reeeeeally fast.
Are you a valuable asset on a Pub Quiz team?
Hard no. haha. I have the WORST memory for bits of information and sources. Ask anyone I know. Literally anyone will confirm this.