Jamie Sky Focuses on Honesty When Songwriting
Story by Roxann Shapwaykeesic, Photos by Keegan Richard
At only 22 years old, Indigenous singer/songwriter Jamie Sky, formerly known as Jamie Labrador, is working on her first EP.
Born and raised in Thunder Bay, the emerging artist started performing at karaokes and local events at age 12. “I’ve been singing since I could talk,” says Sky. Her mother noticed her innate musical talent and connected her with Wiidosem Youth Services Inc., a not-for-profit organization that works with youth through music and life skills in Thunder Bay.
“It was a really good experience, especially as somebody who was really unsure and starting out,” says Sky. She has since performed at open mics, open stages, and volunteered her music for different projects. “I performed at the Buskers Festival, Westfort Street Fair, and local private events for organizations and had opportunities to travel to different First Nations communities to perform,“ she says.
Sky’s mother is Mi’kmaq from Acadia First Nation in Nova Scotia, while her dad is from Eagle Lake First Nation in Ontario. She grew up around Ojibway culture where she feels a strong connection. “I just identify a lot with people from my community and from various Indigenous communities. A lot of my music is geared towards healing,” Sky said about her inspirations. “It’s mainly based on my life experiences and things that I’ve had to go through.”
During a stormy night as a high school student, Sky wrote “Thunderstorm” as a way of working through what was happening in her life at the time. “I was feeling a lot of emotions from things that were going on. I opened my Notes app, and I wrote a little bit of a poem to get that frustration out,” says Sky. The song was later produced by Mark Zubek at Zedd Records in Toronto. “Sometimes I’ll just pick up my guitar and I’ll have a song ready because it’s words that I haven’t said yet. It’s feelings that I haven’t really gotten to process yet. That’s where a lot of really good songs come from,” she says.
Sky says music is vulnerable. Producing any art is vulnerable. “I don’t think you should be scared to reach within yourself to find those things that you want to make the art about, because it makes the art so much better,” she says.
“I think music is such a unifying thing,” Sky says about her future in the industry. “Giving my own piece of that to other people, no matter what that looks like, that’s the ultimate goal.”
Jamie Sky’s music can be found on Spotify and YouTube under the name Jamie Labrador.