Today our Spotlight – Anyma. We get the chance to chat with this talented Indigenous artist about her journey with music. The new release “If God had a Boat” brings up some difficult moments from Anyma’s past and gives us a little more insight on her.
What are some of your first memories of music?
When I was a baby, around three years old, my father did this show that I clearly remember. It was at night, in a big park, and there was a lot of people attending. In the front row would sit and look at my father. I remember being so proud. I knew that he would come pick me up before the end of his show to bring me on stage for the final act. Being on stage with him, behind his keyboard, and I remember I would see what he could see. He made me proud and gave me his passion. His passion was his belief. His belief that through music and art, you can heal our people’s hearts. This is exactly what I am here to do. He showed me the way.
Your father produced Ozalik: tell us about it?
It was a production that gathered many different artists and from different cultures as Wendats, Quebecers, guinea, Innu, Mi’kmaq to name a few. It was to unite in cultures, but also in art. We had dancers, Cirque du soleil Quebec artists such as Sania Quirion, theatre and musicians like Gilles Sioui. My mom was the main choreographer, and I was a dancer, choreographer, and actor on the show. My dad was the director, music composer, and producer of the show. It spoke of taking care of our planet and to respect others in order to be in harmony again.
Who are some of your major musical influences? Who are some artists that people would be surprised influenced you?
My major musical influences are movie soundtracks, Hans Zimmer and Howard Shore. Pop culture like Billie Eilish, Glass Animals, Aurora, Florence and The Machine etc…Nothing but thieves, Pink Floyd, Bring Me The Horizon, Clozee, Coldplay, Enigma, Noga Erez, and Abel Korzeniowsky.
You’re from Wendake, QC on the Huron-Wendat territory, can you tell us a bit about what it was like growing up there?
I was born right next to the river Akiawenrahk’ (Saint-Charles river). A whole other world was right next to my house. You should see the magnificence of the rocky cliffs, the colours and the tall trees, it’s beautiful. So growing up right in nature, mixed with modern cities gave me a touch of balance. Nature was a teacher. At a very young age, when I would get grounded, my father used to bring me to this tree right next to our house. It was huge. He would stand up in front of the tree, look at it then closes his eyes.
He would breathe loudly and then after a while he would turn to me and say: “Apologize to the tree.” Or whatever would come to his mind for the teaching he had to bring up to me. So at a very young age I understood that nature was greater then us, but also the givers and the ones we respect to in all our actions. Also the Pow Wows. To see at a young age the Native dancers with all their colours and their spirits while dancing on the grass gave me chills every time, the healing of it all was so powerful and inspiring to me.
What does your stage name mean/where did you come up with it?
It means several things, for me at first it meant breathe or spirit, the belief that everything has a soul, a person who believes all natural things, such as plants, animals, rocks, and thunder, have spirits and can influence human events. But then I started to research more on it and found out about Carl Jung’s work about “Anima” being the feminine part of a men and “Animus” being the masculine part of women in their subconscious and dreams. The story behind is quite long, and I prefer to speak about it in words.
What was it like trying to break out in Quebec, was it difficult with the French language barriers?
French language for me has always been hard. I love the poetry of it and the beauty of it, but I started school in English until I was 13 years old and all the music I listened to was in English, so it came clearly more natural for me to write in English and it felt right as well. It is hard as a Quebec artist to be considered if you don’t write in French, they do I think 75% French radio songs and I think it is a good thing to preserve it, but definitely a challenge to be heard.
Your new single “If God had a Boat” is a tribute to your father and the grief you encountered with his passing. Walk us through the song’s inception?
It isn’t just about my father.. it is about everything that brings someone into deep sadness. I did not just go through the passing of my father to the spirit world, my grandmother died in the same time as my father, I got pregnant, I left the one I loved, I was going through existential crisis as a teenager, searching for myself, feeling what is wrong in society… All those emotions, all this questioning on life. There was a time, where I was sick of feeling it all. These emotions lead to depression, and I did not want to be on earth anymore.
At the moment I decided to face it, I left for California with a great friend.
I had to leave town. Once with the ocean, far away from home, I was with myself, with all I had to heal. It was really hard. The sadness was immense.
I looked at the sky and I remember singing to my ancestors, freezing in the ocean water, and I would cry. I was asking them this: If I do not make music here, please come and get me. And I was ready to die If my purpose was not to make music and help others heal through it. In this question was my answer of course.. but I only understood this a couple months later when I sent for the first time my songs to find a producer.
The work of healing begun the moment I asked for it
Of course it was through music, and the producer was the one I loved and had left before. So, all the answers were just clear after facing myself.
If god had a boat, was written during this time, and made me be so honest with myself and through the writings of it I could cry and feel how much pain I had and could let go of it in this song, but also strength came in and courage and love. Like if someone would give me a boat, let me rest inside for a while and take the lead. That is what I want for people when they hear this song. Maybe if they can let themselves in that boat, let go of everything inside that hurts, cry, and let it all out, while I row the boat for them in the song. I want them to promise to stay, no matter what and to be warriors of love.
What are some words of encouragement that helped you deal with the grief/loss of a loved one?
They weren’t words. It was more about spirit and nature. My way of healing was more to be alone in the forest, going to the spa, meditation, movement. Also seeking guidance through healing ceremonies from my nations. I have experienced so much healing and could find my peace with death through the acceptance of it and the harmony of it all. The fact that we live and die, that this is a natural cycle, that nature shows us all around. I could feel my father everywhere and knew he was so peaceful.
Writing this right now makes me feel it again, the love and harmony I have for all my ancestors. We learn through time how to teach each other through legacy, how to be a human that honours this harmony of life and finding your true self, your true purpose in this life frees us and brings so much joy to our hearts, this is my wish for everyone.
Your upcoming EP comes out in the fall/late summer. What can fans expect?
Oh my god… to know me I guess, I am pouring my heart out in this EP. They can expect to move their bodies, to feel like in a movie, to feel courage and strong, to heal and to become better. My heart wants to give to the people who hears me the chance to feel not alone and to be understood. That whatever is going on, they have to pick themselves back up and to be fighting for love over and over and it is possible to create our own reality when we do the right thing. Musically they can expect percussions and an essence of where I am from. Orchestral elements and movie soundtrack kind of vibes, and a very special love song is in there as well.
As an Indigenous woman what are some words of hope that you would give to other Indigenous youth today?
I would say: Hi! You are warriors and you have special powers:
- Superpower number 1: You can become whatever it is you want to become if you believe and if you know you can.
- 2: By listening, caring, and loving yourself and others you will experience Joy. *Secret Hint *joy is one of the keys to success in your human warrior superpower life.
- 3: Any action/decision you take, know that you have to take responsibility for it. Take the time to reflect and to take decisions that comes from the heart.
- 4. It is by finding your purpose that you can help the world become a better place and will honour our ancestors. *Secret hint* when you honour spirit you honour yourself and become a positive leader and helps others find their own truths.
What was it like performing with the circus troop Flip Fabrique?
I did not perform yet with them. It is the beginning of our adventure together, but the meetings we had were truly delightful. They help me to get out of my comfort zone. Like the 3rd day I was with them they made me climb on top of two humans standing up… this is so fun!!
When do you get to do those things except in a circus!!! It’s filled with lessons of overcoming yourself and working together to make art, something meaningful and powerful. It’s about communication, listening to each other’s point of views and letting your own fade away when you have to, to let everyone come through. The whole team is just insane and the artists are so so good. Another thing that inspires me is the way they always play, like kids, and this is something precious to keep as we grow up. Hello to the whole family Flip Fabrique!!
What was your experience with performing online during Covid? Or did you focus more on writing and the EP?
For me, it was more a moment of everything that was left to heal and had to be healed. Like an urge to finally incarnate who I wanted to be. My songs were already written so I focused on the whole recording of the album with Pierrre my producer. I had a lot of physical pain that I had to heal, so I went to Chinese massages and pressure point for the body. I had this thing in my throat that hurt me, but this is a long story. Also, I focused on the plans we had to make to make it all happen, like finding money with grants and placing the mind map together. So it was building my body, healing my anxiety to prepare for this release so that all this energy and pressure can be well manage inside of me either in success or failure.
What is a message of empowerment that you would like to tell indigenous youth that may be struggling now?
To Trust yourself, that there is a place for everyone on this earth and that you deserve that place. That you are a seed. You dig your roots, make them strong, and the moment you pop out of the soil and earth, you will discover what you are. Are you a flower, a tree, a coral? Whatever it is you discover, there is space for you and for your happiness.
What is one thing you wish that people knew about you?
I always have my heart in my hands giving it for others.
Lastly, as our favorite independent and smaller businesses have been hit hard this Covid season, what are some of your local favorite places to hype up and give a shout out to?
La Récolte, Siberia Spa, Spa Nordique, Hotêl Musée Des Premières Nations, la Sagamité, Station Touristique Stoneham… and much more.
We are done with our Spotlight – Anyma. Big thanks for taking the time to chat with us.
Check out If God Had a Boat now
Keep up with Anyma here
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