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Raise Her Up: Celeigh Cardinal

3-minute read

Celeigh is a JUNO-Award winning soul-folk singer and songwriter. Whether sweetly strumming an acoustic guitar or leading her band in a rocking rave-up, she commands our attention. 

Celeigh is the first Indigenous radio personality on Alberta’s CKUA Radio Network, and she’s the first Indigenous member of CBC Edmonton’s Radio Arts Column, the In Crowd. Celeigh uses her voice to push for more Indigenous representation in music and the media.

Celeigh has released two albums and received numerous awards for her music. Her most recent album is Stories From A Downtown Apartment, in which Poppy Barley’s own Daelan Wood directed, filmed and edited a music video!

Photo by Emilie Iggiotti

Photo by Emilie Iggiotti

 

How did your relationship with music begin?  

My love of music and singing started at an early age. Very early on I realized it was a way to share love, which was something I always felt I had an overwhelming capacity for as a child. I was 4 when I had my first solo performance on stage–it was in church and music was rejoicing.

Though I’ve left behind the church aspect of it, music and singing is still all about joy, and sharing love.

What was the main source of inspiration for writing and recording your latest album, Stories From A Downtown Apartment?

This album is mostly a collection of songs that I wrote during my first couple of years living downtown Edmonton. It was a really special, yet difficult time; there was grief, heartbreak, but also love, and growth. Growing is never easy, this album documents the growing pains.

How are you using your voice to inspire and lift up other Indigenous artists?

I currently have a radio show on CKUA Radio Network, which is an Alberta-wide radio, but also available online. When I started working at the station back in 2018, I was just a fill-in host. When I was offered my own show, I knew that I wanted my show to be a place to spotlight all Indigenous artists. So Full Circle, which airs Monday from 1-2pm and Friday 8-9pm is just that: an all-Indigenous artist playlist that highlights the versatility, the stories and the humanity of Indigenous people.

Celeigh in Victoriana Boot
Celeigh standing
Photo by Emilie Iggiotti

What are some words of advice you’d give to other aspiring artists in Canada (or your younger self?)

Growing up, I wasn’t part of an Indigenous community. My father was in foster care throughout his childhood, and because of that, I never had much of an Indigenous cultural identity. It was when I was older, and discovered a beautiful and expansive community of Indigenous artists who welcomed me in, and started telling everyone about me.

My advice: Find a community. Find people who don’t compete with you, people who want to lift you up and make you part of a family. AND reach out to the artists you love, they may be more available and more supportive than you would ever know.

What is one thing you’re excited about for 2021?

Professionally, I’m excited to write and record a new album (it has been in the works for a little while now.) 

Personally, I’m excited to continue to make my home (which I was never at for very long up until last year) a zen place. A place that I love being, which inspires me, and gives me comfort. I’m excited to settle down a little. But just a little.

Celeigh Cardinal

Photo by Emilie Iggiotti

 

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