A Northern Pop Star is Born
Originally from Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, Kelly has performed countless concerts across Canada (especially the Arctic), and she is extremely well-known in Nunavut and Nunavik. Her northern concerts attract large crowds, and on social media she has 250,000+ views on YouTube, as well as an impressive 9,500+ followers on various platforms, including SoundCloud.
Like many other Inuit, Kelly has been through many personal struggles, ranging from substance abuse, the loss of her father and others to suicide, to name only a few. Kelly uses her pain as inspiration to make art that can positively impact other native youths. She seeks to spread her messages of joy, healing, and cultural pride through a blend of traditional Inuit music and modern production.
Unlike Kelly’s debut album, Isuma, which was more folksy, her new album is influenced by contemporary pop, EDM, and hip-hop. Kelly sings and raps in both English and Inuktitut, seamlessly blending the two languages with her powerful, insightful, and politically-relevant lyrics. Her goal is to make the music speak to both Inuit and Qallunaat (“southerners”).
Besides her busy schedule as a recording and performing artist, Kelly teaches songwriting, does motivational speaking, and helps organize Nunavut Hitmakerz, a project which aims to give underprivileged youth opportunities to learn creative expression and technical skills. She is also currently completing her degree in Native Studies at NVIT in British Columbia, and hopes to become a lawyer through the new Nunavut-based law program.
Rise to Fame
2012, Kelly Fraser became a well-known artist across Canada's Arctic for her rendition of Rihanna’s song, Diamonds, in her language, Inuktitut – the video currently has 210,000+ views on YouTube.
After her videos went viral, Kelly began travelling all across Canada’s north to perform. She travelled to communities such as Iqaluit, Igloolik, Baker Lake, Kangirsualujjuaq, Kujjuaq, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Umiujaq, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, and many more. Her audiences were Inuit, native, and non-native alike.
In 2014, Kelly Fraser and the Easy Four Band released their first album, “Isuma”. The album was a huge success, selling more than 1,200 copies! Everywhere Kelly Fraser and her band went to perform, CDs quickly sold out. One of the songs was even used for the Government of Nunavut’s Tobacco Has No Place Here health campaign, as well as many other places.
SEDNA – The Next Chapter
With her sophomore album, Sedna, Kelly hopes to reach a broader audience, and spread her message of hope, joy, cultural pride, peace and love.
"I want to make an album that blends traditional and modern music in both Inuktitut and English." said Kelly. "I want to strengthen Inuit pride and sing about my own experiences of growing up in the Arctic. I want to inspire young people everywhere that, no matter who you are, you can succeed!"
Kelly grew up in Whale Cove until the age or three, after which she went to live with my father who was a social worker. She has family ties all over Nunavut, including Igloolik, the Baffin Region, Whale Cove, the Kivalliq Region, and in Sanikiluaq.
Kelly grew up in a strong Inuktitut-speaking environment. She learned to play guitar at age 11, and at 15, she joined her first band. Along with her band mates George Arragutainaq, Charlie Kudluarok, Jamie Kavik and Jasmine Niviaxie, the band began writing their own songs, performing English and Inuktitut cover songs – both in English and Inuktitut.
Kelly graduated high school in Nunavut and continued on to Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa (where she scored a minor hit, and helped to promote her Inuit studies with a rendition PSY’s song, Gangnam Style). In 2015, Kelly began her graduate studies, studying First Nations studies at NVIT in British Columbia.
"I feel I am a strong leader in my community and territory," said Kelly. "I can sing and speak about the issues that Inuit face and how we can rise above the issues. Because of my education and broad experience, I feel responsibility to keep Inuit informed through music. As an example, the first song from Sedna, “Fight for the Rights”, was a song informing Inuit about our ancestor’s views on land ownership and current political events."
No matter what Kelly does in the future, it seems guaranteed that she will be singing.
"Making music, singing, performing, and teaching others is what I love," she said. "It makes me happy and helps my own self-esteem, too. I want to do everything I can for a better Nunavut."