Young Anishinaabe musician vying for best new artist at Indigenous Music Awards
Ziibiwan, 22, also nominated for best instrumental album
He said he only got serious about making music a year ago, but a 22-year-old Anishinaabe artist could take home two Indigenous Music Awards, which will be handed out this weekend in Winnipeg.
Ziibiwan Rivers, who performs as Ziibiwan, is nominated in the best new artist category and best instrumental category for his album, Time Limits.
"I'm really honoured and grateful but it's ultimately surprising because I'm so new to this music scene," said Rivers, who is from the Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario but currently lives in Toronto.
Describing his music as "minimalistic and spacious," Rivers said he is influenced by artists like Radiohead, Bjork and Buffy Sainte-Marie.
It didn't hurt that his family had a variety of musical tastes. Rivers said he remembers hearing country, bluegrass and hip-hop at get-togethers.
He also takes inspiration from the Anishinaabe language and culture.
"I have an elder from Nipissing who kind of forced me to read syllabics, and it kind of changed my perspective on language and direction," he said.
The Indigenous Music Awards will be presented on May 19 at the the Club Regent Event Centre in Winnipeg, during the Manito Ahbee festival.
This year, winners will be selected by a jury of their peers. Previously, when the awards were called the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards, fans had the power to vote and select the winners.
A full list of this year's nominees can be seen here.