Singer-songwriter Leela Gilday finds out Saturday night whether she’ll be taking home her second Juno award. Her latest album, the uplifting Heart of the People, is up for aboriginal album of the year at the awards taking place in Hamilton.
Currently based in Yellowknife, this Dene songstress has enjoyed success in Japan, New Zealand, Europe and Greenland.
These days, she is pouring her experience and enthusiasm into music across the Northwest Territories. Gilday sits as a technical advisor to the board of Music NWT, whose mandate is to help grow the music industry in the territory.
Before Leela left for a week of Juno celebrations, though, she took time from her busy schedule to answer ten quick questions for CBC Aboriginal.
1. Who is your favourite Indigenous designer?
For casual: Sarah Erasmus from Yellowknife.
For fancy: Shosho Esquiro.
2. What do you do to stay in shape?
Hahaha well I’m in decent regular person shape, not rockstar shape, but mostly I do yoga and take tabata classes at my gym, I also love cross-country skiing.
3. If you could perform with anyone, who would it be?
4. Favourite stage you’ve played and why?
Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre, performing a one-girl show for 3000 Aboriginal youth back when I was 16 years old. Amazing experience.
5. What was the first song you wrote about?
Love of course. I think that’s pretty much what all songwriters start out with.
6. If you weren’t a singer/songwriter what would you be doing?
Probably a mountain guide.
7. How did your fiancée propose?
In our house, by surprise, on Valentine’s Day, on one knee. I cried.
8. Is there a song you wish you had written?
I wish I wrote the K’naan song Waving Flag. It’s so beautiful, so powerfully uplifting and hopeful. I am glad it got played so widely, I love empowering music.
9. What is the one piece of advice you give to emerging musicians?
Don’t do this unless you love it so much you can’t live without it.
10. Caribou or Arctic Char?
Caribou. I love arctic char, just cooked a big bada** one last night, but caribou is like spinach for native people (in the way that spinach was for Popeye). Love, love, love it!
Check out the world premiere of her music video “Rescue.” Also, catch Leela Gilday on Unreserved as she explains the concept behind her latest music video.
Tune into CBC Radio One after the 5 p.m. news in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nunavut, and after the 4 p.m. news in Yukon and the N.W.T. for these stories and more on Unreserved.