Natasha Fisher has already racked up over a hundred thousand views on YouTube for her videos of covers and mashups by artists like Drake, Rihanna, and The Weeknd, but now the northwestern Ontario singer is gaining attention for the release of her original song Lie to Me, from her debut album Her.
Fisher travelled home to Thunder Bay to premiere the song at that city's festivities for National Aboriginal Day in June, describing the experience as "amazing", especially because she was able to share the stage with her mentor and relative Classic Roots.
"We used to travel when we were both starting our careers to northern Communities to put on shows, so he's really helped me to be the best person I can be".
The 21-year-old says she has many musical influences, but was inspired by something more personal on her latest release - her Indigenous roots.
In her official bio, Fisher explained that "her artistic style is shaped by her cultural and spiritual First Nations heritage as well as the painful isolation experienced in Ontario's North".
Since moving to Toronto, she said she has become even more immersed in her culture, even while being miles away from her community.
Wants to inspire other young Indigenous artists
Ojibway heritage "influences my music, it influences me to be better person and to inspire youth...there's a lot of people hurting right now in northern communities and I just want to be able to inspire them to follow their dreams", Fisher told CBC.
However, integrating aspects of her Indigenous culture hasn't necessarily been easy.
Fisher said she has been criticized and questioned for the use of altered traditional sounds and traditional dancers in the music video for the single, when the song "has nothing to do with Aboriginal people".
But "the song features Aboriginal artists like myself and Nimkii, who is also a very talented hoop dancer, and I felt like that itself was so powerful. I just wanted to add in visuals and bring the culture to life through music in a mainstream way. I just want people who haven't experienced that to just see the beauty in it", said Fisher.
The video for Lie to Me was shot by Spun Creative in Thunder Bay, and includes scenes from Mount McKay and the surrounding traditional territory.
Fisher's album is expected to be released in October.