How a dress in a pawn shop led to a Juno nomination for Leonard Sumner
'Every line ... is a part of a true reflection of my life,' musician says of his album Standing in the Light
Singer-songwriter Leonard Sumner drew from a wide range of personal stories and memories to create his Juno-nominated album Standing in the Light.
But the most surprising inspiration might be the moment years ago when he saw a jingle dress hanging in a pawn shop.
"That probably shouldn't be in a pawn shop," Sumner, an Anishinaabe musician from Little Saskatchewan First Nation in Manitoba, recalled thinking.
"It's supposed to be a dress for healing. And there's, what some would say, a sacred story connected to that dress. And to see it there was just disheartening," he told Unreserved.
"I sat with those thoughts. And I was like 'Man, I wonder like if I could somehow include that in a song someday?'"
His thoughts eventually made it into his song The Ceremony, as he describes a woman saving her dress from a Saskatoon pawn shop.
The Ceremony, like the rest of the songs in his album Standing in the Light, draws from memories, moments and ceremonies from Sumner's life.
"Every line, every piece of that, is part of a true reflection of my life," he said.
The album is nominated for the Indigenous Music Album Award at the 2019 Junos.
This is Sumner's second album, and his first Juno nomination. He said he's had his eye on a potential Juno win for years.
"The nomination itself feels like a victory for me," he said.