Kathleen Edwards is phenomenal Canadian singer and songwriter who has received several Juno nominations, and has been short-listed for Polaris Music Prize. SOI is fortunate enough to have Kathleen join the Arctic 2014 expedition to teach music workshops and offer guidance on the world of working as an artist.. We asked Kathleen to share some of her thoughts and feelings about music and the Arctic.
How did you first hear about SOI and what excites you about joining the Arctic expedition?
I heard about SOI through the Ottawa Riverkeeper – Geoff Green and I met through his work with them, and told me about SOI. The North has been a part of my life since I was a canoe tripper during my teenage years. It changed the way I think about our country, and gave me such a new perspective on how integral and important our relationship with the Arctic and the people who live there is. So when he asked me to come on this year’s trip, I didn’t hesitate to say yes!
Have you visit the Arctic before? And what are your thoughts and perspectives on this part of the world?
One of my many adventures took me on a 60 day trip from Yellowknife to the Arctic Ocean when I was 17. I will never forget portaging in the thick lichen and moss and being surrounded by caribou on their migration, blackflies in my ears, and the smell of campfire smoke. I still consider it to be the most important summer of my life.
How do you see your role on expedition?
My hope is to tell people about the world of working as an artist. What it’s like to travel, be surrounded by creative folk, the upsides, the downsides, and fundamentally, to create a space where people can just enjoy music however they like to. To encourage and support any kind of singing, songwriting, music making.
What do you hope students will learn/take away from their time with you?
That sharing your creative side is a hugely brave thing to do. It connects us, it’s a leap of faith, it can leave us feeling vulnerable, but it’s extremely fulfilling. There is no right way, there is no wrong way, and hopefully my experiences in all these years of figuring it out for myself will help students in their own journeys.
What do you hope to take away from the experience?
I’m so excited to attend other workshops and expand my knowledge of Canada’s northern history, to see Greenland and how these communities can teach us about improving Canada’s northern infrastructure. Most importantly, to be part of sharing in this rare opportunity to see a part of this planet so few get to see. To be surrounded by nature, feel the power of it, to feel small, to unplug from my life and be inspired by the beauty of the North.
I am honoured to be part of this trip, and cannot wait to be part of whatever awaits!
Advice for budding musicians?
Practice. A lot. And then keep practicing. Be prepared to work harder than you ever thought imaginable. Pave your own way, believe in yourself, and trust your gut.
The 14th Annual Students on Ice Arctic Expedition is taking place July 9-24, 2014. To learn more and follow the expedition through photos, videos and student journals visit the expedition website and follow journey updates on Facebook and Twitter.