Unreserved

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan inspired Kristi Lane Sinclair to pick up a guitar

Fierce and feisty are two words used to describe Haida/Cree musician Kristi Lane Sinclair and her music. But it wasn't always like that. Sinclair recalled being a little girl hiding in her room with a guitar and a dream - a memory that inspired how she approached her new album - The Ability to Judge Distance.
Kristi Lane Sinclair was inspired by grunge and indie rock for her new album, The Ability To Judge Distance. (Courtesy of Kristi Lane Sinclair)

Fierce and feisty are two words used to describe Haida/Cree musician Kristi Lane Sinclair and her music. But it wasn't always like that. Sinclair recalled being a little girl hiding in her room with a guitar and a dream — a memory that inspired how she approached her new album — The Ability to Judge Distance.

"I really wanted to get back to how I started songwriting, which is basically a girl in her bedroom," said Sinclair.
The Ability to Judge Distance is the new album by Haida/Cree musician Kristi Lane Sinclair. (Coax Records)

Sinclair added that the first time she knew she wanted to be a musician was when her mom bought her a Smashing Pumpkins VHS.

"So I played the first song [on the VHS] and was like, 'Now I need a Fender Stratocaster, it has to be a Fender Stratocaster because I need to be Billy Corgan,'" said Sinclair.  

"Most girls would be like, 'I want to marry Billy Corgan,' but I was like, 'I'm going to be Billy Corgan.'"

After realizing she wanted to become a rock star, she asked her mom for a guitar.

But when they went to the local guitar shop in Prince Rupert, B.C. the shop owner tried to convince Sinclair's mom it was a waste of money to buy her a brand new Fender Stratocaster.

They bought it anyway. 

Song following Trump election

Sinclair was writing music in Santa Fe, New Mexico during the 2015 U.S. Presidential Election, and was inspired by the results to write the album's first single, Fire in Santa Fe.

"It was right after the election, and everything was really fresh, and there were a lot of people who were very scared," said Sinclair.

"Cab drivers were [telling me], 'I have to get out of here, I'm brown, I'm scared, marry me.' I was like, 'I will totally consider it, I just have to ask my boyfriend if I can marry someone.'"

The song is about how the election inspired a lot of people to stand up for what they believe in, including the fight that was also taking place at the same time in Standing Rock.

"There were a lot of people who had very strong, radical opinions … it's about the fire that was ignited and then using our traditional fire to fight back," said Sinclair.

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