Critically acclaimed Atikamekw singer-songwriter Laura Niquay, from Trois-Rivières, QC, has earned the 2021 SOCAN Foundation TD Indigenous Songwriter Award. Niquay is being honoured for her songs “Moteskano” and “Nikto Kicko,” works that offer a view into her energized folk-grunge universe.
Created in 2018, The SOCAN Foundation TD Indigenous Songwriter Award was created to recognize and celebrate the artistic merit demonstrated by Indigenous songwriters of any genre. Niquay will receive a cash prize of $10,000, in addition to opportunities and efforts toward her career development. In addition, the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) and Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ) are offering a one-year complimentary membership to their organization for the Grand Prize winner.
Special distinction awards of $1,000 are also being made to Anyma, LJ Tyson, Shane Ghostkeeper, Kristi Sinclair and Jayli Wolf, to recognize their works.
“The Indigenous Songwriter Award recognizes artistic excellence in songwriting achieved by an indigenous music creator in Canada, and we’re proud to collaborate with TD to celebrate Laura Niquay,” said Charlie Wall-Andrews, Executive Director of SOCAN Foundation. “The award is a significant part of our ongoing, mutual efforts with TD to foster, celebrate, and create opportunities for Indigenous music creators.”
Hundreds of applications from artists across Canada, covering a wide variety of musical genres, were submitted for consideration, and winners were selected by a jury and advisory council of prominent Indigenous artists and industry leaders. including those of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit heritage. This special Award is made possible with the support of TD Bank Group.
“Congratulations to Laura Niquay for being the recipient of the TD Indigenous Songwriter Award,” said Uma Venkataramaiah, Senior Manager, Philanthropy (Canada), Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group. “We’re so proud to continue collaborating with the SOCAN Foundation, and honouring the musical and cultural contributions of artists from the Indigenous community. Through the TD Ready Commitment, we seek to highlight emerging artists as they navigate their careers.”
Since childhood, Laura Niquay was nourished by her family’s classical guitar sounds in the small community of Wemotaci in Trois-Rivières, QC. The time soon came when Laura, too, picked up a guitar to compose her own songs. She stands out by singing in her native language, Atikamekw, with an incomparable voice.
Critically acclaimed, her latest album was finely crafted over several years with sidekick Simon Walls, as well as production by the team at Musique Nomade. The result is a multi-layered, luminous, and complex opus. With collaborations from Shauit, Anachnid (2019 SOCAN Foundation TD Indigenous Songwriter Award Winner), RedTails Spirit Singers, Gotta Lago, Eadsé, Kanen, and Soleil Launière, the diversity of Indigenous voices shines through.
“I draw my strength from my roots and the teachings of my mother and other elders,” says Niquay. “With my music, I want to encourage the Atikamekw and other members of Indigenous communities to be proud of who they are, and to walk in the path of their ancestors. For me, the promotion of the Atikamekw language is very important for the transmission of language to the younger generations, but also for the awareness of the non-native public. I’m honoured to be recognized with this Award. Thank you to SOCAN Foundation and TD, and congratulations to all the artists being recognized for their amazing works.”
On July 7 (today), at 6:00 p.m. ET, all SOCAN Foundation TD Indigenous Songwriter Award recipients will be honoured on a special edition of The Kim Wheeler Show on SiriusXM’s The Indigiverse, Channel 165. Listeners will learn more about all the recipients from across Canada, hear their music, and there will be several special guests. The show will also re-air on July 8 at 4:00 p.m. ET, July 9 at 12 noon ET, July 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET, or anytime on your SiriusXM App.