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Friday, August 19, 2011

An Interview with Singer/Songwriter Susan Aglukark

(Susan Aglukark-

An Interview with Singer/Songwriter Susan Aglukark
By: Christine McFarlane

This is different for every individual who makes a living out of interviewing people, but for me when it comes to interviewing an individual whom you have always considered a role model and is as big in the Canadian music scene as Susan Aglukark is, it can be both exhilarating and anxiety provoking.

In anticipation of my phone interview on August 18, 2011, I was up at the ridiculous hour of 5am to prepare myself, even though my interview wasn’t until 11am. I found myself asking, “Am I going to sound okay?” Will my questions sound well rounded out or will I come across as a star struck fan and lose my calm?

I was quickly put at ease though as soon as I dialed the number and heard Aglukark on the other end of the phone. She was very down to earth, calming and easy to speak with. Here is an excerpt of my interview, but first, a little description of who Susan Aglukark is:

Susan Aglukark is one of Canada’s most unique artists and a leading voice in Canadian music. She blends the Inuktitut and English languages with contemporary pop music arrangements to tell the stories of her people, the Inuit of Arctic Canada. The emotional depth and honesty of her lyrics; her pure, clear voice and themes of hope, spirit and encouragement captivate and inspire listeners from all walks of life.

C.M-Please tell me about your new album-White Sahara and when it will be released?

S.A.- “My new album White Sahara will be released on September 27 and it is a compilation of favorites and hits and will include two new songs. It has been a project that I have been wanting to do for awhile, and a lot of the songs in this compilation are story songs, songs my people have been carrying.”

C.M-How long has your new cd been in the works?

S.A-. “It has been about one and a half years in the making amongst the other work I have been doing.

CM- Between your last work “Blood Red Earth” until now-what have you been up to?

S.A- I was appointed a Distinguished Scholar residency at the University of Alberta where I was a mentor to aboriginal artists on campus and helped build a joint native studies, recreation, sport and community health degree program, and have also been working with the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation where the mission is “ to work at all levels to assist Arctic children and youth to attain standards of living, education, opportunities and health and well-being equal to those of other Canadians."

C.M- Your music is very inspirational, where do you find the inspiration that you convey in your music

S.A- I find that many things inspire me, the life we live whether that is in the city, or in small communities. I am inspired by the history of the Iquliat people and the life we live and giving a voice to those experiences.

C.M.- How will you be promoting your new cd-White Sahara?

S.A- “Well I just hired  a new assistant, and in the next while we will be doing a lot of press across the country. There will be press releases to the media, fundraising because without fundraising it is difficult to get out and do concerts.

C.M- What can fans expect from you in the next while? Are you doing any speaking engagements, concerts etc?

S.A- I will be doing a concert on September 10 for International Suicide Prevention week, and there are speaking engagements in October in Alberta and locally in Toronto for federal funding and a Christmas tour.”

C.M- How do you stay true to your roots despite being as popular as you are in Canadian music?

S.A- “I never set out to pursue popularity, its something that I just attained, and though I am a successful artist, I am human too. Music and writing comes from personal experience, I know what it is like to struggle, to want something you don’t have, and life is about struggle and getting through it.

For more information on Susan Aglukark, you can check out her website at where she also maintains a blog that she explains as “though its not always steady, and its sometimes sporadic, I want it to give a context of who I am and let people know that I’m like everyone else.”

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