One day, aspiring singer-songwriter Shawnee Kish was having lunch with friends when her phone kept ringing. As she checked her phone, she saw that the call was coming from an unknown number. Following a few rings, she had thought something was wrong so she picked up her phone when CBC delivered the great news to her. “What if I told you you’re the winner. You won” the CBC representative said. Kish was in disbelief.
She was the winner of the 2020 CBC Searchlight Competition — an annual contest that highlights young talent and gives the winner a jump on developing their music career.
Two years later Kish was nominated for a Juno award in the category of Indigenous artist of the year.
Her self-titled EP is a well-rounded album of pop songs. Her most popular song, Burnin Love, is about being on fire metaphorically when nothing can cool you down.
Kish, born in Welland, Ontario, representing the Mohawk community in the industry. As a Mohawk singer, a member of the Haudenosaunee, Shawnee Kish was one of the first to go big and has shown her appreciation for her culture. As she also represents the LGBTQ community, Shawnee Kish is married to Olympian, Jen Kish.
At a very young age, she had found music to be healing and always dreamed of making music for people. She first took the stage at 12 years old as a Shania Twain impersonator. Shawnee had long looked up to the Canadian artist that has sold over 100 million records.
But growing up, Shawnee had struggled with her life and identity, not knowing her place in the world as well as not finding happiness. When she discovered that her medicine was music, it gave her purpose. This became one of her reasons to create music, to help other people with the things she had struggled with in the past. “As I had a lot of figuring out to do as a child, I always had found music to be very healing like medicine.”
Since she had grown as an artist, she also had to balance figuring out who she is as a person: her sexuality as well as different messages she wants to give the public. In 2020, she wanted to share her stories to young people who are struggling with life through her music.
As of today Kish has been working on a new EP that she will be releasing shortly. “I feel like with this new EP, I’m getting closer to being confident to share who I am” she has said.
Recently in the beginning of 2022, Shawnee signed a deal with Emilia Recording after being an independent artist for most of her career. Due to wanting a unique image as an artist, Shawnee wanted to make sure that the label that she was in was fitting for the image she wanted to put out. This delayed her picking for a label but eventually found Emilia Records fitting.
As she figures out her journey in the music industry Shawnee had said, “This is all about the journey of overcoming and continuing to grow. I believe that we are not always the same person each day, we continue to grow, that’s how it makes us different each day” on an interview with Play MPE.