As their career ascent accelerates, Indigenous singer-songwriter/producer Sebastian Gaskin has come to appreciate the power of collaboration.

“When I started songwriting and music production back in 2017, it was definitely a solo venture,” says Gaskin. “I guess I had rather a chip on my shoulder then – ‘I can do all this by myself, I don’t need anybody.’ It took me a while to open up to the idea of letting others into that part of me, but these days I actually prefer writing with other people.”

Assisting in this transition was Gaskin’s participation in a SOCAN BreakOutWest Song House camp, the SOCAN Foundation 2022 Indigenous Song Camp, and the 2022 Allan Slaight JUNO Masterclass.

Gaskin’s potential as an eloquent songwriter, with an emotionally expressive voice, was recognized in 2021 with a Western Canadian Music Award for R&B Artist of the Year, and the Kevin Walters Songwriting Award. The growing industry buzz around them culminated in a record deal with Ishkōdé Records last year, something Gaskin considers a dream arrangement.

“The connection was made through my manager,” they say, “but I’d known [label heads] ShoShona [Kish] and Amanda [Rheaume] for a couple of years before that, through the industry. I trust those two women with my life, and that definitely provides a sense of care, through all facets of this business deal.”

Sebastian Gaskin, Medicine, Video, 2024

Select the image to play the YouTube video of the Sebastian Gaskin song “Medicine”

After growing up in Tataskweyak Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba, Gaskin was based in Winnipeg, prior to a recent move to Toronto. There, they’ve been collaborating with such producers and co-writers as Evan Miles (dvsn, renforshort), Milano (Icona Pop), and Hill Kourkoutis (Aysanabee, Digging Roots), on material for a debut full-length album.

Gaskin’s most recent single (and Ishkode debut), “Medicine,” is a co-write with Miles, and it’s received a very warm response. “I actually wrote it back in 2020, then sat on it until I could give it the right amount of energy and support and visibility,” says Gaskin. “Evan then worked on it with me in recent months, and it really worked out. That connection came via Universal Music [Ishkode’s distributors].”

Growing up, Gaskin was exposed to everything from Southern Gospel music to Metallica, before they settled on R&B and soul as their styles of choice. “Toward the end of high school, I began to fall in love with those classic sounds and melodies,” they say. “They really resonated with my spirit, and I became very comfortable singing within this genre.


“I do still listen to a varied range, to this day. I feel that an important part of my own writing is to keep an open mind, and not let myself fall into specific habits. I like to shake things up every now and again.”


Gaskin continues to expand their range as a lyricist, as upcoming tracks will demonstrate. “One of my latest is a song called ‘Brown Man,’ written in 2020 at the time of the George Floyd murder and the MMIWG [Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls] enquiry,” they say. “I’m sitting around my apartment seeing these things on the news cycle, and thinking to myself ‘I’ve only really written songs about my own personal quarrels, my own relationships.’ That felt a bit selfish, so I really felt compelled to write something about these topics that are near and dear to my heart.”


A release date for their keenly-anticipated full-length debut album hasn’t been announced yet, but Gaskin is very pleased about the progress being made. “We have the main track list ready to go,” they say. “The songs are written, and we’re working on final production touches. We have the skeleton and the muscles. We just need the skin and the make-up!”