Adrian Sutherland Debuts Timely 'Politician Man'


Just in time for Canada’s federal election, Midnight Shine singer Adrian Sutherland has debuted a protest song called “Politician Man.”

Co-written by Sutherland, Chris Gormley and Matt Gormley, the track was recorded in Hamilton and produced by Carl Jennings.

“The relationship between Canada and First Nations has been difficult for a long time, and in many ways it still is,” noted Sutherland, in a release. He said “Politician Man” is about this relationship “and the need for all of us – politicians, chiefs, Indigenous people, all Canadians – to start listening to each other, and take steps together.”

He added: “Let’s move past the blaming and do something. We all need to do our part. That’s what reconciliation is, and the message behind ‘Politician Man.’” 

Sutherland was inspired to record “Politician Man” this past summer when his Cree community of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency over contaminated water. In early July, environment minister Catherine McKenna tweeted about Ottawa’s tap water being rated among the best in the world.

In response, Sutherland tweeted: “So I hear Ottawa’s real proud of having the cleanest drinking water in the world! Meanwhile in Attawapiskat the water is contaminated.”

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“Politician Man” comes with a video by Justin Stephenson, who was the director of animation on Gord Downie’s The Secret Path.

“I love the song and believe in the message,” Stephenson said, in a release. “I feel he really speaks to non-Indigenous people in a way that makes you want to step up.

“We wanted to combine his performance with images of Canada, and sought permission from Canadian Geographic to use their Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada … I added song lyrics using a treatment reminiscent of the rich and inviting visual language of old Nashville music posters, with design embellishments that draw inspiration from Cree floral patterns like those found on the beading on moccasins and mitts.”

Watch it below: