Ray St. Germain is still going strong (Bob Holiday)
Someone said, you better start taking guitar lessons because it looks silly shaking the accordion and singing Elvis.
—Ray St. Germain, musician
Ray St. Germain is undoubtedly a musical icon on the Manitoba and Canadian scene. So it's fitting that on Sunday, August 18 he will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Awards.
"I was overwhelmed," he says, when he learned the news. "I'm so honoured. It's recognition for what I've done over the years - an entire career, not just the Aboriginal work that I do - it's everything."
St. Germain is no stranger to awards, having recently received the Order of Manitoba and the Diamond Jubilee Award.
But he feels there is still an important role for separate Aboriginal awards. "Manito Ahbee is needed, for sure," he says. "It's an international award and they're still growing. The Junos have an Aboriginal category. That's good, too, because all Aboriginal music has to be recognized in some way.
"But there are no colour lines in music, you can either play it or you can't," he adds.
Many people would be surprised to learn that when St. Germain was still coming up in the music business, he had no idea he was Métis. He was also an avid photographer and one day, he developed a photo of his grandfather and noticed that he looked native. "So I asked my dad, and he said, 'Well it's 'cause he is!'"