Iconic songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie will be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in a special ceremony at the SOCAN Awards in Toronto, on April 1, 2019.
If the measure of a songwriter’s success is the accumulation of merits and awards, then Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Oscar, Golden Globe, half-dozen JUNOs, Officer of the Order of Canada, and countless other honours surely grant her a place among the elite. If success is judged by commercial hits, again, Sainte-Marie easily makes the grade, as the composer of “Until It’s Time for You to Go” and “Up Where We Belong,” along with her anti-war anthem, “Universal Soldier,” which was inducted to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003.
However, Sainte-Marie and her songs have always been about so much more than global accolades and commercial success. As an advocate for societal, environmental, and Indigenous issues, she proves the power of songs such as “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone,” “Power In the Blood,” and “Generation” can raise awareness, influence attitudes, and change perceptions.
“I’m honoured to be recognized in the company of so many Canadian songwriters that have inspired me,” says Sainte-Marie. “As a songwriter, I never set out to be courageous or political, I just wanted to tell my stories as authentically as possible, and bring light to the truth.”
“Buffy Sainte-Marie brought a completely new sound to audiences with her use of electronic techniques, adapting the rhythms and melodies of her Indigenous heritage with rock,” says Vanessa Thomas, CSHF Executive Director. “She’s gifted with the ability to pen songs that pulsate with cultural resonance, and can pierce right to the heart of current issues; yet they endure, and transcend both boundaries and time. We’re thrilled to celebrate her induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.”
Below, in an interview with SOCAN from the 2016 JUNO Awards, Sainte-Marie discusses some of her approach to touring, her renewed presence on the scene, and her songwriting process.