Photo by Megan Wilson
In a world where the sum of our lives is defined through another’s gaze, genuinely unchained artists like Winnipeg-bred Hamilton-based Iskwé (pronounced iss-kway) are a rare breed. Named one of the ‘Top 10 Artists to Watch’ by CBC Music, Iskwé’s (‘woman’ in Cree) unmistakable sound weaves her Irish and Cree/Dené/Métis roots with poignant politically charged lyrics, dark soulful R&B rhythms, electronic flourishes, and trip hop breakbeats.
Bridging cross-cultural aesthetics while exploring her own struggle to both fit into and breakaway from modern Western archetypes has been an important part of Iskwé’s artistic vision since the release of her self-titled debut album in late 2013. Her debut single “Nobody Knows,” produced by Juno Award nominees The Darcys and currently featured in the Netflix series Between, captivated audiences by turning a stark spotlight on the more than 1200 missing and murdered Indigenous women here in Canada.
Unafraid to challenge the convictions of her detractors by honouring her heritage, standing steadfast in her viewpoints, Iskwé’s artistry knows no bounds. Blending soulful, breathlessly delivered lyrics coloured by the many shades of human nature with a sonic palette that takes its cue from the shadowy atmospherics of the 1990s Bristol sound, Iskwé’s music revels in her strength of self and that is her true rallying cry. Iskwé’s sophomore album ‘The Fight Within’ is released Fall 2017.