Named one of the ‘Top 10 Artists to Watch’ by CBC Music, IsKwé (which means ‘woman’ in her native language) dropped by CBC Music Studios in front of an intimate live audience to promote her latest album release “The Fight Within”.
“This new album, and most of the things I write, are rooted in an emotional place that’s not quite sadness,” explains IsKwé. “I think the strength in whatever I’m feeling is generally where I write from and I really try to embrace it all rather than seeing weakness in those emotions.”
During her live shows, IsKwé pairs her songs with elaborately adorned face paint both as an homage to her ancestral roots and as a platform upon which her message really comes to life. “Painting was one of my first loves. Incorporating it into my live show has not only become a way for me to expand my creative expression but it is also very much an act of reclaiming tradition.”
Inspired by both Dené and Inuit facial tattooing, IsKwé views the face paint as an act of rebellion against cultural appropriation and the limitations that have been imposed upon her as an artist. “Even if it isn’t entirely understood, painting my face prompts people to ask me, ‘Why?’ If I were to be subtle about it, I’d risk the message being lost in translation but when I’m loud and over the top with it, I think people find it harder to look away. That’s important to me because it prompts dialogue and it lets me know that the conversation is still very much alive.”
Unafraid to challenge the convictions of her detractors by honouring her heritage, standing steadfast in her viewpoints, and embracing her sexuality, IsKwé artistry knows no bounds. Blending soulful, breathlessly delivered lyrics that are coloured by the many shades of human nature with a sonic palette that takes its queue from the shadowy atmospherics of the 1990s Bristol sound, IsKwé’s music revels in her strength of self and that is her true rallying cry.