Unreserved

From Buffy Sainte-Marie to Cher: the divas who have inspired Kimberley Dawn

When Métis musician Kimberley Dawn was growing up, she wanted to be a rock star. When she recorded one of her first songs, she realized she couldn't sing rock music. The effervescent Dawn would have to settle for being a country music star instead.
Country music artist Kimberley Dawn remains positive despite setbacks in her personal life. (Facebook)
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When Métis musician Kimberley Dawn was growing up, she wanted to be a rock star. When she recorded one of her first songs, she realized she couldn't sing rock music. The effervescent Dawn would have to settle for being a country music star instead.

"I recorded a [song] and said 'thang' in the song and my dad's like, 'When did you ever become southern? Where's this 'thang' thing coming from?'" said Dawn.

From that moment on, country music became her vessel.

Unreserved asked her to share some songs that have inspired her throughout her life and career.

Ray St. Germain
I'm Mighty Proud to be Métis

Dawn was adopted and didn't always understand what being Métis meant, but this song informed her and helped her feel pride in her culture.

"It changed my life. It gave me direction. It gave me an understanding of who I was and why I was so cool," she said.

Ray St. Germain

Crystal Shawanda
My Roots Are Showing

When Dawn met Shawanda they connected right away. Both women work alongside their husbands in the music business and Dawn said they had a lot to talk about, from record sales to radio play.

"She knows how to write songs. She's a true musician in being able to write, to do the videos. She's a beautiful human being. And then to watch that woman rock it out on stage, 'cause she does a little bit of country, a little bit of rock 'n' roll and a little bit of blues, and she does it all in stilettos."

Crystal Shawanda - The Whole World's Got the Blues (CrystalShawanda.co)

Buffy Sainte-Marie
Up Where We Belong

Like many Indigenous musicians, Dawn has been and continues to be inspired by Sainte-Marie.  

"She asked me to send her my music, and I never did. I think it was I didn't want her to judge me and say that I sucked. She would never do that but can you imagine having your hero listen to you? I think it was almost too much for me."

Dawn promises next time she sees Sainte-Marie, she will give her an album.

(Photo by Matt Barnes)