Mariame heading to the Indigenous Music Awards

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These days Mariame Hasni is on a high. In early April, nominations for the 2017 Indigenous Music Awards were announced, and the Cree singer found her name in two of the categories – Best Pop Album and Best New Artist.

“I am greatly honoured,” says Hasni. “I’m 26 years old and I’m still very new to this music business. To be called a Cree artist is amazing and makes me happy. I’ve been singing for quite awhile, but now I am getting recognized.”

CelebratingMariame Press Photo the musical achievements by Indigenous artists, the awards ceremony will be held at the Club Regent Event Centre in Winnipeg May 19.

Ever since releasing her six-song R&B album, Bloom, in May 2015, Hasni’s dream of being a professional singer has become more of a reality. Released on the N’we Jinan label, Bloom caught the attention of people beyond Eeyou Istchee.

The first single, As Long As You Are Here, even topped the Aboriginal Music Countdown in October 2015. It’s a song that showcases Hasni’s impressive emotive voice and powerful presence.

Her musical calling card has allowed Hasni to travel and perform in other parts of Canada. One of the highlights so far was opening for veteran singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie in Banff, Alberta last July.

“She was so nice, so humble,” says Hasni, who actually recorded the conversation they had. “I didn’t want to forget anything told me. She said it’s okay to make music that’s different, and you can make great records doing just that. Her songs are special and she tries to include a message in them.”

There was one piece of advice from Sainte-Marie that Hasni treasures the most. “She told me don’t be a ‘fame whore’. She said there are a lot in Mariame Press Photo 4the music industry, but she could tell that I wasn’t one.”

Being a single mother of two young children, Hasni understands the difficulty of juggling a career and parenthood. Her daughter and son keep her grounded and make it harder for Hasni to lose the thread of daily life. “Every day I work fulltime being a mother – I have no choice.” Then she adds with a laugh, “If it wasn’t for my kids, I would probably be all up in the clouds.”

Any article you read about Hasni always calls her a “Cree Rihanna” and though she realizes it’s an endearing description, it’s one she finding tiresome.

“I love Rihanna – she’s an amazing singer,” Hasni says. “But I would like to be recognized for who I am as a singer. If people keep using it, I will always be compared with her – which is
not good. So I hope people will let it go.”

Looking to the future, Hasni reveals that besides recording some songs in Cree, she would like to make a blues album. “That’s the direction I feel like going in. It seems the blues was around when I was growing up, so it appeals to me. Though I can’t tell you the names of people I like, when I hear the songs I really connect with them.”

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