Canadian Aboriginal Music Award- winning singer-songwriter Beatrice Deer hails from Nunavik. Half-Inuk and half- Mohawk, Deer left her small hometown of Quaqtaq, Quebec (population: 376) in 2007 for three life-changing reasons:
1) She moved to Montreal to get serious about making music—and it worked. Deer has now released five albums, a body of work in which she developed a unique blend of traditional Inuit throat singing with contemporary indie rock. My All to You, her fifth record, marks a significant milestone in the history of Inuindie music (a genre Deer pioneered), as this is the first time she composed all of the original music and lyrics. Her themes range from classical Inuit folk tales and legends to the importance of finding understanding and the search for meaning within personal growth. She has built a global following and her songs are especially beloved in Arctic Canada, where she performs frequently and where audiences sing along to her songs during concerts. She sings in three languages: Inuktitut, English, and French. Her collaborators include luminaries from the likes of Land of Talk, The Barr Brothers, Stars, Timber Timbre, Bell Orchestre and Suuns.
2) The second reason Deer left the north was to pursue higher education—and to ensure that her two kids had access to more options to schooling as well. Deer’s artistic experience manifests itself in countless ways: she has been everything from a book designer to an actor to a model. A highly regarded seamstress, she also appears on children’s TV shows and is the voice of safety briefings on First Air: The Airline of the North. But above all, her primary medium is music, both as a singer, and now, with My All to You, as a songwriter as well. It’s an album of maturity, of hard-fought wisdom, and of spiritual depth.
3) The final reason Deer came to Montreal was to get therapy. “My All to You is all about owning up,” she explains. “It’s about reconciliation with your self—which is the hardest thing to do. And I mean that on a personal level as well as on a national level.” At this moment in the country’s history, when reconciliation between Canadians and First Peoples has finally become a central issue, Deer has an important message to share: she believes that reconciliation begins with each of us. “You can’t be a change maker if you haven’t gone through it yourself,” she says. “You can’t help if you haven’t gone through healing yourself. It’s a lot easier to forgive other people than it is to forgive yourself. To get to where I am today I had to forgive myself many, many times. I still work on it.”
As a role model for her community and an advocate for healthy living, Deer is often asked to do speaking engagements. Her primary message is that each of us must take control of our own life. “Nobody else can do it for you,” she insists. “You can’t change what happened. You can only change how you deal with it.” The starting point for her latest album was the moment in her own life when she decided to transform her outlook. “I’d struggled for many years, in many ways—until I realized the change had to come from me,” Deer says. “I know that now that I’m not in constant pain anymore. I am finally starting to perceive things in a healthier way. And I want to use what I’ve learned to help others.”
3. My All To You
5. Sapannga Sujunuka
10. You’re With Me