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Saskatoon country musician nominated for national Indigenous music award



Jarrid Lee is headed to Ottawa for the Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards on Tuesday.

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Saskatoon-based country musician Jarrid Poitras, who performs as Jarrid Lee, is among the nominees for this year’s Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards. His 2021 album It’s Time is up for Country Album of the Year.

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Celebrating Indigenous artists from across Canada, the awards are being held in Ottawa on Tuesday.

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Poitras is also nominated for EP of the Year (Male) in the ninth annual Josie Music Awards, held in Nashville in October.

The StarPhoenix caught up with Poitras ahead of the awards show in Ottawa.

Jarrid Poitras aka Jarrid Lee
Jarrid Poitras (stage name Jarrid Lee) has been nominated for his album, It’s Time, at the Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards and the Josie Music Awards. Photo by Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Q: What does the Summer Solstice Award nomination mean to you?

A: For me, it’s the first time getting nominated on a national level. So, my music is getting recognized right across the country. And it means everything to me, especially what the album is about.

Q: What is the album about?

A: It’s basic stories, from leaving my hometown to going down to Nashville for a trip, right to I talk about the survivors of residential school, which would include somebody like myself. I’m a first generation survivor. And just stories of trials, tribulations and all the triumphs we have to go through.

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I think the album speaks volumes when I think about all the children that have been through the residential school system over the last 100 and some years. We each have a responsibility now — even an obligation, really — to share that information, and to learn from our mistakes and to also learn that we’re still here. We’re resilient, we’re strong. And this album, it goes out to anybody who ever went through that system; the survivors and even for the ones that never made it home.

Q: What does the Josie Music Awards nomination mean to you?

A: It’s just good to be recognized for all my hard work. And it’s held at the Grand Ole Opry. I went there last year, and it was too emotional for me, mainly because every country artist that I look up to has played that stage.

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I’m on the right path, I’m living the dream. I want to come back. I want to keep coming back. I want to pursue this music career and go as far as I possibly can with it.

Q: What do you hope listeners take from your music?

A: Just to have a little more heart and a little more compassion for your fellow men. A lot of the older generation kept quiet about what their experiences were in life, but not ours. We get to share our experiences, and we’re actually sharing our parents’ and our grandparents’ experiences.

So, I think what people can take away from this album is a little bit of compassion, some understanding, and maybe take some action. There’s 94 calls to action through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Anybody can look any of those up at any time, and take one of those calls to action and really take it to heart and do something about it — take some sort of action.

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Q: What’s next for your music?

A: I got new music coming out and that’s more uplifting. It’s got a whole bunch of co-writes about life and love, and funny stories — different songs with different artists. I’m very grateful that I’ve crossed paths with so many great people. And now this album is about sharing common experiences with other artists.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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