Canadian trip-hop and soul singer IsKwé has released her self-titled debut album, and not a moment too soon. The GridTO says of the Cree/Dene artist, "Just as she can move easily from whisper to roar, IsKwé bridges acoustic and electronic worlds to perform a dynamic, beat-heavy soul that references jazz, pop, and hip-hop alike." Her long-awaited disc is available on iTunes; she took a few moments to discuss the journey and the result with ICTMN:
Where are you coming from, musically speaking?
I've spent a lot of time working my way through different musical genres since I was a little kid, building away at my appreciation for all things different. I have a strong affinity for artists like Bjork, Erykah Badu, Kinnie Starr, and Portishead — all strong female artists who are constantly trying new sounds. So inspirational!
How long did you work on this album, and who did you work with?
This record took me about eight years to complete, and was recorded in three cities, in two countries. New York, LA and Toronto have each been important stomping grounds for me throughout this project and each plays a special part in its creation!
If you were to play just a few of the album's tracks for a listener who's never heard you, which would they be?
"Another Love Song," because it's the first song I've written and co-produced. It came from my heart this one, and is a very solid reflection of where I plan on taking my music on the next album. "Slack Jaw," because I think its a badass tune (it's the one song I didn't write on the album!). And "One Better," because of the message behind the lyrics. I wrote it for someone special to me.
You've just had your album release party in Toronto — how did it go?
Oh man, it was fantastic! What a feeling, having your first release party ever! And all the people who are dear to my heart joined me, either in person or in spirit.
How is your latest music is being received? Have you gotten any critical notice or comments from fans you've liked?
As far as I can tell, folks are loving it — I think the eight-year anticipation might have helped a bit too! I guess that potentially could have worked against me though. But yes, CBC has listed me as 10 Canadian Musicians you need to know — which is massive — and The Grid TO has also listed me as One to Watch twice now!
What's next for you — will you be hitting the road?
I am! I actually heading to the Banff Centre of the Arts to write and record a follow-up EP right away, then touring in early 2014. It's been a busy road, that's for sure!
To learn more about IsKwé and listen to sample tracks, visit her official site.