From the remote, far northern reaches of Nunavut to the glistening towers of metropolitan Montréal, there is a world of difference in environment, culture, and language. However, music is one very powerful way to make a universally identifiable and relatable connection between those worlds. Award-winning, chart-topping Inuk songwriter, throat-singer and educator Angela Amarualik has put her personal experiences of navigating both of these worlds into her touching brand new single, “Stranger Of My Kind”, available now, and her upcoming second album Uvannik ᐅᕙᓐᓂᒃ, released October 22.
Check out “Stranger Of My Kind” on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HTTCylkosg
Incorporating both Inuktitut and English lyrics, Inuit melodies and pop instrumentation and production, “Stranger Of My Kind” is, in and of itself, a beautiful blend of worlds threaded together by Amarualik’s sweet, emotive vocals. Inspired by early 2000’s pop and some of the artists Amarualik listened to while growing up, like Beatrice Deer and Hillary Duff, the song reflects on her experience of leaving her childhood home of Igloolik, Nunavut, moving near the big city of Montréal and missing home.
“It paints the picture of being stuck between two worlds and figuring out where you belong,” notes Amarualik.
If I can go back to those I remember, I would be with them, if I could go back. Leave my worries behind, or is this my life?
ᐃᓅᓯᕋ ᐅᑎᕈᓐᓇᕈᓂ, ᓱᖅᑯᐃᒋᔭᒃᑲ ᐅᐸᒃᓯᒪᓚᐅᑲᒡᓗᒋ ᐅᑎᕈᓐᓇᕈᒪ. ᕿᒪᒡᓗᒋ ᑕᐃᒪ ᐃᓱᒫᓘᑎᒃᑲ ᐅᕝᕙᓗᑭᐊᖅ ᑖᓐᓇ ᐃᓅᓯᕆᕙᕋ?
“Stranger Of My Kind” is one of a number of songs on the 2019 Indigenous Music Award winner’s Uvannik ᐅᕙᓐᓂᒃ that explores leaving home to discover one’s identity, loneliness, uncertainty about the future, and ultimately, hope for what lies ahead. Helmed by international hit-making producer and songwriter Chris Birkett (Sinéad O’Connor, Buffy Sainte-Marie), Amarualik’s sophomore release is poised to build on the success of her 2018 self-titled debut, which saw her reach the top of the Indigenous Music Countdown and brought her a Best Inuit, Indigenous Language, or Francophone Album honour and three other Indigenous Music Awards nominations including Best New Artist.
With production originally delayed by the start of our global pandemic, Amarualik’s new album ended up coming together very collaboratively, largely during an artist retreat and workshop hosted by her label, the Inuit artist focused Hitmakerz, in Ottawa in 2021. Amarualik was one of six artists invited to attend the songwriting and production workshop led by label head Thor Simonsen, along with Joey Nowyuk, Jacob Okatisak, Brenda Montana, Aocelyn, and Shauna Seeteenak. This was where she connected and worked with her producer, Birkett, and collaborated with Ottawa-based artists such as Ash Ravens, whom Amarualik wrote “She” with, a moving tribute to her mother.
In a duet collaboration for “Uvannik” ᐅᕙᓐᓂᒃwith Amarualik,professional throat-singer and fellow Hitmakerz artist, Qattuu, is featured on the track “Sanngijuq”. The song was inspired by a children’s book Qattuu read to her young daughter about confidence and fearlessness. It tells the story of closing one’s eyes and imagining the Northern lights to overcome your fears, being brave, bold, and strong.
Executive Produced by Thor Simonsen was released on October 22, Uvannik ᐅᕙᓐᓂᒃ is also supported by Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Nunavut. The support and mentorship that Amarualik has received throughout her blossoming career has served to make the rising star committed to helping fellow Inuit artists develop. Since releasing and touring behind her 2018 debut, Amarualik has also taught musical workshops to Inuit youth, initially through the mentorship of the acclaimed Inuk artist Kelly Fraser, who tragically died by suicide in 2019.
Listen on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/album/074LTUve1is5EbFC3hIJ4Q?si=d82a8f794a694205&nd=1
Amarualik pays tribute to her late mentor and close friend with two tracks on her new album. First is a cover of Dani and Lizzy’s “Dancing in the Sky”. Amarualik said she felt connected to this song because of Fraser’s deep love for music. “I hope she is dancing in the sky today,” she says. The title track, “Uvannik”, is an original that Amarualik wrote in dedication to Fraser as well.
While growing up in a community with many social problems, Amarualik worked hard to overcome extreme shyness, stay positive, improve her circumstances, and eventually lead by example. Through her own deep love for music and Inuit culture, and the help of Fraser and other mentors like Thor Simonsen and the Hitmakerz team, Amarualik has become a brave, strong, and independent artist with much to share with the world.