Miranda Currie is continuing the trend of a now-buzzing Northwest Territories music scene as she will be performing at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre on May 15 to promote the release of her new kids album.
Currie, a Mushkegowuk (Swampy Cree) resident of Yellowknife who bounced back following a significant brain-related injury in 2011, has put together her second children’s album, Tickling the Taiga, which she says will be a fun exploration into different genres of music and different Indigenous languages.
“Because it is from a northern Indigenous lens,” Currie said. “It includes (the) Wiilideh language, which is the language of the Yellowknives Dene First Nations.”
The album also includes a bit of Currie’s own Cree language and a song that will contain many Indigenous voices.
“’Mashi Cho’, which is “thank you so much” in English,” Currie said. “(The song) has thank you in all different Indigenous languages across Canada.”
The creation of the album occurred during December of 2020 where, despite the pandemic’s arrival three months down the line, recording and work would not be as delayed as some may think.
“People who are familiar with studios might realize that you have sound booths and isolation booths,” Currie said. “So it wasn’t actually, surprisingly, that hard to keep everybody isolated during that process.”
Following completion of her album, Currie would have to two years until May 2022 before she could release her music for folks and fans to take in.
As far as actually writing and performing the music itself, Currie has to go through the critical view of kids who are all too happy to share their opinion.
“They just tell you,” she laughed. “It’s like; ‘Did you like that song?’ ‘Nah? It’s kind of boring.’”
“They’ll tell you right away,” she continued. “Or just from the reactions. Like if they’re not paying attention, you’re like; ‘Oh, yeah, I gotta rework this song.’ So I really like that. That really honest opinion.”
Financial challenges for creatives
Development aside, Currie addressed issues on the difficulties of not being able to perform live as releasing the album through digital media (or on its own) isn’t something that would be able to support her creative endeavours. Nor the endeavours of other musicians.
“The way the music system is set up, even though you spend a lot of money on recordings, you don’t really make money on recordings by selling an album,” she said. “Basically, you have to put that on different playback places for free, like Spotify and whatever.”
“(But) musicians don’t really get money for that,” she continued. “So, for every play that you have on Spotify, the artists gets 0.008 cents. So one-eight hundredth of a cent per play. So basically, you’re not making any money unless you’re performing.”
For some perspective, if a song achieved one million streams on Spotify, the artist would receive $8,000 overall according to numbers provided by Currie.
Changing the narrative
All in all, Currie wants kids to have an engaging experience listening to her new album. However, she is also (in a more broadly cast net) looking to help in changing the narrative of how Indigenous people’s are viewed.
“I can use my skills, and abilities, and talents, and connections with kids, (as well as) being a goofball to write positive music for a new generation of kids that will come to appreciate and take pride in Indigenous culture and Indigenous peoples of Canada,” Currie said. “That’s what I can do.”
Currie understands the loftiness of such a goal, but also says “you got to start somewhere.”
“We’re trying to change the Indigenous narrative of Canada, we want everyone in Canada to hear these tunes and feel good about Indigenous culture in Canada,” she said.