It was 2021. I was sitting at my desk, tapping to the beat of water droplets in my headphones. I was in the process of creating my second album Clean Water. Taking a quick break to scroll social media, I happened across Water First’s Instagram account. I couldn’t have imagined at the time how these two seemingly separate events would intersect to change my life.
I’m a Red River Métis artist and musician, now based in eastern Ontario. My first album, released in early 2021, was largely experimental, a way of finding my sound and creative process. I was surprised by its success on streaming platforms, and I wanted to find a way to give back with my second album – to my fans, my mentors, my community, and all the people who supported my journey – and create something that had a social impact. That’s when I thought of Water First.
Water First’s approach to education and the value the organization places on the knowledge and leadership of Indigenous youth really resonated with me. A few years ago, I even founded my own organization with the same values: Safe Water Studios. To date, we have hosted over a dozen workshops for Indigenous youth that have focused on the intersection of art and clean water solutions. I have an understanding of the water crisis and feel that the approach Water First takes in partnering with communities and focusing on education is such a key component to moving forward. I admired that Water First prioritizes long-term thinking through education and recognizes the importance of Indigenous youth leading the way in these efforts. Supporting them just felt right.
With my second album nearly complete, I reached out to Water First on social media. I liked a few of their posts and was pleasantly surprised to see they supported me back! Feeling bold, I decided that for the Clean Water album, I would donate the proceeds of the stream sales on Spotify toward Water First’s efforts. Just a few weeks later, after a short conversation about fundraising, the release date was upon me. I was thrilled to see the support from Water First for the album. Their support led to engagement with more and more people. Even now, years later, I have people who reach out to share their support for the album. It means a lot to me.
I continued to follow Water First on social media and really enjoyed the balance of meaningful work and excellent creative content. In late 2022, when I saw an opening for a communications internship, I jumped at the chance to bring my skills to the team.
Here I am, only a few years after I first connected with Water First, working with the people who create the content and facilitate the great work the organization does alongside community partners.
I never thought those first few notes of introduction would turn into a full-on crescendo in such a short time.
Doing meaningful work is important in all aspects of my life – from making music to serving on the Peterborough and Wapiti District Métis council. In my first few weeks of working with the Water First team, I could see the passion for what they do, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!
I consider myself a storyteller as much as I am an artist. I hope to bring my experience and artistry to Water First, along with my life experience as a Red River Métis artist. I also have a background in producing visual media, so I’m excited to start creating!
My work with Water First keeps me busy. In my spare time, I’m usually working on a creative project or planning our next workshop with Safe Water Studios. Or hiking when it’s not below zero! I’m branching out into media other than music, including visual work and writing – two areas I’ve really been able to develop at Water First.
My best advice to young artists is to take a chance! I never imagined I’d be a part of the Water First team a couple of years ago. It’s amazing the places life will take you when you dance to the beat of your own drum. Marsii!
If you’d like to support the Clean Water album, you can find it here: