Celeigh Cardinal, nêhiyawak among Edmonton Juno-nominated artists

Celeigh Cardinal and nêhiyawak are among Edmonton's local nominees for the 2020 Juno Awards. 

Both are nominated in the Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year category and heard the news via text from their manager, Alan Greyeyes. 

Cardinal said she was shocked to learn she was nominated. 

"I didn't think it was going to happen," she said Friday in an interview with CBC's Radio Active. 

The Métis singer-songwriter, who is originally from Grande Prairie, earned the nod for her 2019 album, Stories from a Downtown Apartment. 

Of the five nominees for Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year at the upcoming Juno Awards, two are from right here in Edmonton, Nehiyawak and Celeigh Cardinal. 

Edmonton-based Cree band nêhiyawak is recognized for their debut album, nipiy. "Nipiy" is a Cree word for water. 

"It's a good moment to acknowledge all of the work that has happened to get us to this point, by our friends, by our family and by our community," said Marek Tyler, the band's drummer. 

Singer and guitarist Kris Harper and bassist Matthew Cardinal form the rest of the trio. 

Cardinal said she hopes to use the nomination as a tool to help grow her career and make room for the young artists coming up behind her. 

Neither musician would offer a guess as to who will take home the award in March. 

"Any of us winning is a win for all of us," Cardinal said. 

Other nominees with Edmonton connections include Mac DeMarco, John Stetch, Tanika Charles, Nuela Charles and Striker. 

Grande Prairie's Tenille Townes and Spirit River's Aaron Goodvin also earned nominations. 

The Junos run March 15 in Saskatoon and will be broadcast live on CBC.

Edmonton musicians score 2020 Juno Awards nominations

Hard work and determination has paid off for some Edmonton musicians who have been nominated for the 2020 Juno Awards. 

Celeigh Cardinal received her first Juno nod this year, in the category of Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year. 

“I truly didn’t believe I was going to get [the nomination]. There were so many amazing artists that released albums last year,” Cardinal said. 

Just before the nominations were revealed, Cardinal was nervous. 

“So, I listened to my album and I decided that I loved the album and I loved everything I had done with it and I was OK if I didn’t win because the album was everything I wanted it to be.” 

Music has been Cardinal’s full-time job for the past five years, but that wasn’t always the case. 

“I have been in the music industry for 20 years. It’s been a slow, slow process. I was a single mother for a lot of years, so I couldn’t put in as much time and energy.” 

Now that her son is older, she is able to focus on her passion full-time. 

“As an Indigenous woman, I feel like I’ve always had to work twice as hard,” Cardinal said. “Putting in this much time has given me the opportunity to hone my craft and understand who I am and what I want to present. Building an amazing foundation of family, friends, fans from all over Alberta. That’s going to be there forever.” 

The Metis singer-songwriter’s Stories from a Downtown Apartment bares it all to the audience. 

“When I perform, I tell my life story. I tell jokes. We laugh, we cry.  And… it’s [genuinely] me. Having an audience with people who respect who you are is everything to me and that’s all I care about.” 

Other Edmonton nominees include Nuela Charles, nominated for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year and NÊHIYAWAK, nominated for Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year. 

Heavy metal band Striker is heading to the Juno Awards for the second time in the Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year category for the album Play to Win. 

 Striker strikes a pose at the Juno Awards Tim Brown/Striker 

“You’re nominated alongside the names of Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, all these big famous stars. And then, you have us,” guitarist Tim Brown laughed. 

“Everyone who is nominated is getting that nomination because they are the best in their craft,” Brown said. “You instantly get dismissed if you say you’re a guitarist in a rock band. But, if you say you’ve been nominated for a Juno… people [are impressed]. 

Like the rest of the band, Brown works a couple of day jobs, which include consulting for the City of Edmonton. 

“I assume most people see my glorious mullet and assume [I’m not just working a day job],” Brown laughed. “At work, I put on my button-up shirt. I can’t wear high tops. You have to actually wear normal human clothes. Then I got to the metal show and basically just wear scraps of cloth now.” 

The band has even had a few brushes with big-name nominees. 

“We were shopping [for the Junos] at West Edmonton Mall and Alessia Cara was also there, shopping right beside us,” Brown said. “We kind of looked at each other like, ‘Do I know you from somewhere?’ and we kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Oh wait! You’re Juno nominated too.'” 

The Juno Awards will take place on March 15 in Saskatoon, Sask.


Northern exposure: Celeigh Cardinal, nêhiyawak, Nuela Charles, Striker among local Juno nominees

Celeigh Cardinal has a number of decisions to make over the next little while. 

“Like finding a limo, as well as someone for my hair and makeup,” laughs the Metis singer-songwriter, who was recently announced as one of the nominees for Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year at this year’s Juno Awards. “When my manager texted to congratulate me he said he was booking hotel rooms right away. I also immediately started planning and have been ever since.” 

The singer-songwriter, who released her second album, Stories from a Downtown Apartment, in 2019 is still in shock about the nomination. 

“I was coming home from the Folk Alliance conference in New Orleans (in late January), and I remember sitting on the plane thinking ‘it’s okay if I don’t get nominated,’ because I don’t like to get excited about something I can’t invest in. I listened to my album, which I’ve always been self-conscious about, thinking other people’s records were better, then I decided that it was exactly what I wanted it to be. Even if I don’t get a nomination I’d be okay with it. Once I made that decision and felt at peace with it I got the nomination, of course.” 

“In any event, as a category the Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year is such a small one,” she continues, “with so many different types of music from across the country. I figured that I couldn’t possibly be in the running.” 

The Grande Prairie-born Cardinal won’t be alone at the awards, which take place on March 15 at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Other local musicians representing at the Junos include Striker for Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year (Play to Win), and Nuela Charles, who is up for her third Adult Contemporary Album of the Year nomination in a row with her latest EP, Melt. Ex-Edmontonian John Stetch is trying for a Jazz Album of the Year, Solo with Black Sea Suite. Indie-rockers nêhiyawak will also be making the trek over to our neighbouring province as they find themselves on the slate next to Cardinal with their acclaimed Arts & Crafts debut, nipiy. 

“We believe that every stage gives us an opportunity to challenge stereotypes, introduce new perspectives, and make the world a better place,” offers Marek Tyler, drummer for nêhiyawak. “We’re really excited about the opportunity that the Juno stage offers.” 

While Cardinal keeps her expectations down regarding industry acceptance, she also allows that a nomination from the biggest awards show in the country is important for her developing career. 

“Honestly, it’s tough being indie,” she says matter-of-factly. “It’s hard to get your music out there as it is, so a Juno is one of those tools that artists make use of to validate their careers and the sacrifices they make. I can use something like that to negotiate a better rate when I play festivals, for instance. It also helps to get the word out; now that I’m in the list of nominees my music is getting exposed to more and more people, and that can only be a good thing.”

St. Albert Gazette May 1, 2018

Celeigh Cardinal rides crest of fame 

The Edmonton Music Awards nominee plays Crown & Tower on Friday night 

Celeigh (Kay-lee) Cardinal, a singer-songwriter who just a few months ago was scrambling to book live gigs, was just nominated for eight Edmonton Music Awards. 

Her initial reaction was a sense of validation for years of hard work. “It was overwhelming. I didn’t expect that many nominations. It’s like throwing something in the wind. Sometimes you get something. Sometimes you don’t. But I was so excited, I cried,” Cardinal said. 

In estimating her chances, the Métis singer-songwriter said, “I don’t think I’ll get that many. But I’m going. Maybe I’ll get one or two. And it will be nice hanging out with everyone there.” 

A former Morinville resident and popular songstress at St. Albert pubs, she writes songs that pull music fans towards her and they keep listening. 

In fact, Cardinal makes one of her return visits to the Crown & Tower Pub with Douglas Mitchell on Friday, May 4 for a night of Beatles, Elton John, Paul Simon and Tom Petty – all the heavy hitters. 

“When I play a pub gig I don’t usually play my own material, but it depends on the crowd,” said the Edmonton-based musician, who rates the Crown & Tower as one of her favourite pubs. 

“I like the vibes. Everyone who works there is really nice and everyone who hangs out sits around and sings along.” 

Cardinal has both baffled and enticed her audiences. Her 2017 album release, Everything and Nothing at All, a disparate mix of roots, folk, rock, pop and blues, makes her hard to pigeonhole. But the songs are only 50 per cent of the attraction. 

The other is a dynamic stage presence and an earthy-sounding voice that slides easily between strength and vulnerability, gentleness and boisterousness. 

All the nine-track’s lyrical underpinnings have a confessional style, and each story song carries deep personal meanings about her experiences in life, love and the world around. 

A song she holds close to her heart is One Man, ironically one of the least popular with crowds. It was written during a low ebb in her life four years ago after a rough breakup. 

“The song made me realize I put all my work into my relationship and it distracted me from the work I wanted to do. I’d picked up some real bad habits, and while I was under the pressure, I reacted to things rather trying to be a whole person,” said the self-confessed workaholic. 

While Everything and Nothing at All hasn’t exactly struck gold, it has picked up national momentum. Cardinal has joined the ranks of some of Canada’s prominent singers as a nominee for the 2018 CBC Indigenous Music Awards for Best Pop Album. 

Despite the numerous laurels, she’s not wasting time. Just this week she was booking four tours simultaneously, including one to the East Coast. 

“From the minute I wake up, I’m on social media. You gotta put yourself out there. It’s a super important aspect of marketing yourself.” 

But as an entertainer that understands obscurity as well as fame, Cardinal is aware how important the nominations from CBC and EMA are. 

“Being on both ends makes this an eye-opening experience, and I want to be more supportive of women on the road to their success.”

CBC News - April 19, 2018

Celeigh Cardinal rakes in 7 nominations for Edmonton Music Awards

CBC News · Posted: Apr 19, 2018 1:32 PM MT | Last Updated: April 19 

It might be faster to list the categories at the 2017 Edmonton Music Awards Celeigh Cardinal wasn't nominated for. The powerhouse singer-songwriter from Edmonton made the list seven times, earning nominations for singer-songwriter of the year, single of the year, album of the year and female artist of the year. 

Cardinal admits she was a little emotional when she got news of the nominations. "I cried. I'm a crier though. It kind of runs in my family," Cardinal said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.  "I was really overwhelmed. When you submit for awards, you never know, and this was my first time submitting for the Edmonton Music Awards. I shared the news with my family and we all kind of enjoyed that moment together." 

'Always been singing' 

Cardinal said she's always had a passion for music and never doubted that it was her calling. She performed often during her early years in Grande Prairie. "I've pretty much always been singing," Cardinal said. "I started actually singing melodies when I was three-months-old and started performing when I was four. "It's the only thing I'm really good at so I pursued it heavily." 

Cardinal, who is of Cree and Metis ancestry, also earned a nod for Indigenous recording of the year. While she joked that she maybe isn't the most reliable role model, Cardinal was serious about the role Indigenous artists have to play in the industry. "Growing up as someone that looks like me, a Native gal, there wasn't a lot of representation in music for me," Cardinal said. "We all know Buffy Sainte-Marie but that's pretty much it, so for me, it's really important for there to be well-known Indigenous artists in Canada for us to look up to." 

Cardinal has been on the road promoting her album, Everything and Nothing At All since it was released last year. She played the summer music circuit across North America and recently staged some showcase performances in Sweden. 

She'll be hitting the road again this summer, bringing with her a set list that blends rock, blues and soul. Cardinal attributes her eclectic tastes for her genre-crossing sound. "I'm not surprised that the music that comes out of me is all over the place. It makes sense," she said. 

"I typically lump everything into singer-songwriter. It's easier than trying to put a genre on it." 

The Edmonton Music Awards red carpet gala will be held June 28 at Winspear Centre.


Edmonton Journal- June 10, 2017

Celeigh Cardinal clicks perfectly with Everything and Nothing at All

The re­lease for Edmonton soul and folksinger Celeigh Car­di­nal’s lat­est al­bum is on Saturday at the Forge on Whyte.

It’s a hard life, so some­times what you need is a dose of rock and roll, rhythm and blues, heart­felt and real, talk­ing about the things that make us all tick and sput­ter.

Celeigh Car­di­nal’s bold­ly­named new al­bum Ev­ery­thing and Noth­ing at All is just this, a time­less summer jam of straigh­ta­head rockers, blues shuf­fles and a couple heart­break­ers on the edge of coun­try, each of which shows off Car­di­nal’s soar­ing and con­fi­dent vo­cal range, which she de­ploys with­out pre­ten­sion over a bunch of great lyrics.

A lot of things make this al­bum click — we’ve talked about Car­di­nal’s voice, which is lus­cious, full and a lit­tle mis­chievous around the edges — but the play­ing on th­ese straight­for­ward songs is solid, too, with hints of the Trag­i­cally Hip on the acous­tic side. Ev­ery song goes just a lit­tle fur­ther than it could. But the end, a bit of in­die edge in a Gi­ant Sand way with the group vo­cals, for ex­am­ple, on One Man, re­in­forces a theme of mak­ing it through bad re­la­tion­ships found through­out the record.

Would You Be My Dog?, a blues num­ber, is charm­ing and ro­man­tic, not­ing that we’re all each other’s dogs in part­ner­ships, while the slightly raunchy Be My Man has lyrics which work on both su­per­fi­cial and ex­is­ten­tial lev­els: “Are you de­serv­ing of a lover? Did you suf­fer more than an­other? Or will you ever?” Great song, stem to stern. I re­ally like the way she writes, and you can imag­ine her play­ing In­ter­stel­lar or the folk fest with ease.

Would You Be My Dog?, a blues num­ber, is charm­ing and ro­man­tic, not­ing that we’re all each other’s dogs in part­ner­ships, while the slightly raunchy Be My Man has lyrics which work on both su­per­fi­cial and ex­is­ten­tial lev­els: “Are you de­serv­ing of a lover? Did you suf­fer more than an­other? Or will you ever?” Great song, stem to stern. I re­ally like the way she writes, and you can imag­ine her play­ing In­ter­stel­lar or the folk fest with ease.

The sort-of ti­tle track Ev­ery­thing squeezes a reg­gae beat in, mix­ing soul, pop and some­thing else into some­thing beau­ti­fully sad.

Per­fect for bars — Car­di­nal’s re­lease is Saturday at the Forge on Whyte — and fes­ti­val stages, she’s one of the acts at Abo­rig­i­nal Day at Vic­to­ria Park June 21 be­fore head­ing off to Smur­fland at North Coun­try Fair that week­end.

Can’t wait to hear more — do your­self a favour and get on board, which you can do with ease here.


Daily Herald Tribune - May 8, 2017


Cardinal launches debut CD 

By Diana Rinne, Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune

Celeigh Cardinal
Photo courtesy East Meets West Photography

Celeigh Cardinal Photo courtesy East Meets West Photography


It’s been a long road for Grande Prairie’s Celeigh Cardinal. From her early days with local band Bella Bella, the singer/songwriter, now based in Edmonton, has had some twists, turns and detours before arriving at her destination.

Cardinal will launch her debut album Everything and Nothing At All in her hometown next weekend at Better Than Fred’s.

“I’m very excited and very overwhelmed,” she chuckled.

The album has been in the works since Cardinal released a five song EP in 2011. “Life is so crazy and there’s always so much happening,” she said. “I applied for so many grants and never got any so I was always trying to raise the money on my own.”

In 2015, Cardinal’s boyfriend at the time, Dylan Farrell, started a GoFundMe campaign for the album. “It changed everything,” she said.

It was shortly after, however, that Cardinal had to take a break from singing for eight months because she developed nodules on her vocal chords.

The GoFundMe account raised about $5,000 which allowed Cardinal to start the recording process.

“We did all the bed tracks and then wound up just kind of waiting things out a bit, letting life happen. We recorded the vocals in my bedroom of my new apartment and sent them to our producer and he mixed them and we are finally here,” she said.

With such a length of time between the recordings, some of the songs evolved and changed a bit, but Cardinal is more than happy with the end product.

“Everything seems to be really good. It’s turned out really great. I’ve heard the masters and it’s awesome ... I’m so excited!” she said.

Well known for her big voice and soulful performances, Cardinal said the album is very much biographical with an eclectic range that reflects her varied musical influences.

“All of my songs tend to be...they are a commentary on my life, love, all the things that happen and they are stories about me,” she explained. “The fact that it’s me narrating them throughout the entire album is the common thread. But what has happened is all the songs are kind of different. We have a reggae song, we have a song that’s almost like an AC/DC style of rock, there is something that is pretty country.

“It’s hard to describe because the songs are so different, but there is that common thread that is...me tying them all together.”

Things have really ramped up for Cardinal in the past year with a stint at the Banff Centre for the Arts as part of the ReClaim program, and a grant from ATB Financial and Alberta Music in October, and most recently a REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award from the Hnatyshyn Foundation.

“Honestly, it’s such an amazing boost,” said the full-time musician who also plays the Bear Creek Folk Festival this summer and will be heading to Sweden for a showcase at the end of August.

“I feel things are really going on the upswing,” she said.

Cardinal hosts a couple of open stages in Edmonton during the week and plays on the weekends with her trio featuring Ben Tassell and Matt Harrison, as well as with The Mad Dog Experience, a tribute to Joe Cocker.

“Basically I spend my entire day sitting in front of the computer emailing people asking them for gigs. Doing all the booking stuff is the most time consuming thing ever,” she said. “But I’m looking at my calendar these days and looking at CD release shows and looking at going to Sweden and playing festivals, and all this work that I’ve put in is finally starting come to fruition.”

Cardinal will launch Everything and Nothing At All, with Ben Tassell, Dana Wylie, Matt Blackie and Ryan Funk joining her on stage, on May 12 and 13 at Better Than Fred’s.

For more check out www.celeighcardinal.com.



Edmonton Metro - June 20, 2017

Metro News

News / Edmonton

'It allowed us to start celebrating it again' Indigenous performers embrace culture for National Aboriginal Day 

Celeigh Cardinal is performing at Edmonton's National Aboriginal Day and hopes to empower Indigenous youth with her performance. 

'It allowed us to start celebrating it again' Indigenous performers embrace culture for National Aboriginal Day


Celeigh Cardinal, a local singer/songwriter who will be performing during National Aboriginal Day.

By:  Metro, Published on Tue Jun 20 2017

As part of National Aboriginal Day, cities across Canada are celebrating Indigenous culture.

But two local performers recognize that has not always been the case.

Celeigh Cardinal, who is Métis, and Jenna Broomfield, who is Inuit, are both performing in Edmonton this week as part of the city's Aboriginal Day celebrations. Both say reconnecting with their Indigenous culture brought a greater appreciation for what their people have gone through.

Cardinal, who is playing the main stage in Victoria Park Wednesday, said her father grew up in a white Christian foster home, so didn't emphasize their Indigenous roots. The singer-songwriter said experiencing racism due to looking Indigenous made her ashamed of her ancestry.

She reconnected with her roots through learning from elders while working at the Friendship Centre in Grande Prairie.

“They absolutely touched my heart with the things they were teaching … I connected to what they were saying. And that experience helped rid me of all the shame I had growing up,” she said.

She said the experience contributed to a stronger sense of self worth, strengthened her spiritual beliefs and provided a greater understanding of her self.

“I feel more empowered about who I am and how people see me. And I want to be a positive role model for youth — I want to be somebody who is seen, so other girls can feel like they can do these things,” she said.


Jenna Broomfield (right) performing with Malaya Bishop as the Sila Singers, a throat singing (katajjaq) duo.


Jenna Broomfield (right) performing with Malaya Bishop as the Sila Singers, a throat singing (katajjaq) duo. 

Broomfield, who performs Inuit throat singing, says the experiences of residential school survivors, such as her grandparents, have impacted multiple generations.

“There are generations of our people who grew up not being proud of being Indigenous. If you’re ashamed of something, you’re not going to showcase it."

Although she grew up with traditional foods and teachings, she didn’t know much about the Inuktitut language or the traditions of storytelling and song.

“There was definitely a piece that was missing, it was something I craved and something I needed,” Broomfield said. “And it’s something that grounds me today.”

She sees the national celebration as an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of Indigenous peoples in Canada’s cultural history.

“As a performer, it’s important to take opportunities like National Aboriginal Day to amplify messages in our community that Canadians may not normally take time to listen to,” she said.

She said while members of her family remembered songs or stories, it was not something “outwardly celebrated”. That has changed, as she has now reintroduced the cultural teachings to her parents’ generation.

“The fact that I was a young person wanting to learn about (our culture) was a big step forward in our family and our community. Because it allowed us to start celebrating it again.”

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that National Aboriginal Day would be called National Indigenous Peoples Day going forward.