SIX NATIONS – Jace Martin with Six Nations Community Youth Outreach (SNCYO) held a free youth seminar for aspiring music artists at the G.R.E.A.T Theatre on Friday as a part of Community Awareness Week events.
The night offered a video with both familiar and successful Six Nations faces such as Derek Miller and Delby Powless and a presentation from speaker Jace Martin for all in attendance.
“Major music festivals are calling me to say, ‘Hey Jace, come perform’ and ‘Do you have any other Aboriginal acts you could suggest?’” said Martin.
Martin has been in the music industry for over 20 years, and now devotes most of his time to that industry – specifically developing the annual Concert for a Cure, which is held at Chiefswood Park and hosts major indigenous headliners such as Crystal Shawanda to raise money for cancer research.
Martin explained that Concert for a Cure has attracted over 15,000 people, and has been running for eight years.
“It’s been always a part of my heart to see Aboriginal people, artists specifically, showcase at major music festivals. When I was growing up, my band got to perform at Kitchener’s Blues Fest and I was just thinking, ‘Why don’t we have this?’” explained Martin. That was how Concert for a Cure began.
Now Martin, along with SNCYO, is responsible for finding Indigenous acts for the Festival of Friends in Ancaster, Canada’s largest free festival.
Rapper Walter Kahpeechoose came in from Saskatchewan for the event. Kahpeechoose explains that after a three hour plane ride alone, he was still happy to be there.
“I was feeling really doubtful,” said Kahpeechoose in regards to being a part of the seminar. “I talked to Jace, I sent him my information, I sent him a video on where I’ve been, where I’ve performed and all that,” he said. He explained that it was a lot of planning and work. “But I actually got the opportunity to come out here, and I just feel so happy,” he said.
Kahpeechoose said he had a personal history of substance abuse, overcame it and found that rapping was a positive outlet for him. He began rapping at 15 and now, five years later, has performed at Voices of the North in Saskatchewan, as well as getting some radio play and invitations to perform at schools.
“I do motivational hip-hop,” Kahpeechoose said. “Like helping people to become more motivated, because usually, there’s teens out there, there’s youth and adults who don’t get motivated anymore,” he said.
He explained that he tries to encourage self-confidence and self-esteem, and help individuals with insecurity. He explained that even though he was artistically aware, the event for him was helpful.
“I see this as an opportunity that’s basically going to help me a lot more because it’s artist development. We’re talking about persona, stage presence and all of that,” he said.
Each individual went home with an “Intro to Music” booklet from SNCYO, and hopefully a lot of motivation toward their art.