'Music is medicine': Shawnee Kish on her new EP, identifying as two-spirit

Shawnee Kish is set to perform on Aug.6 at the Together Again concert series.

Edmonton-based singer and songwriter Shawnee Kish is performing live on Aug. 6 at Together Again -- after nearly two years of virtual concerts.

At the onset of the pandemic, the performer said her career was put on hold.

“The pandemic changed my entire career path. Everything sort of went into a screeching halt when we went into lockdown,” Kish said.

During moments of darkness and struggle, Kish uses music as a form of therapeutic healing.

“Music is powerful and music is medicine. Music can heal and provide a sense of safety and comfort," she said.

The product of that time at home is a new album. Kish describes the new EP as different from anything she has previously released.

“Through this EP, I am expressing my truth and my story. My voice has developed into this soul voice -- I am so happy and at peace and loving where this place in my career is.”

Kish is two-spirit -- a term used to describe Indigenous people with masculine and feminine spirits.  

“That is something I transitioned into through my coming out process. It started when I was younger and when I reclaimed my heritage as an Indigenous person,” she said. “I’ve learned that being two spirit is celebrated through our ancestors and celebrated through our time, and it gives me peace, confidence, and comfort to know that.”

·         Edmonton Olympian and musician married by Rachel Notley

The singer uses music as a form of expression and encourages others to be authentic and true to themselves. She hopes to use her platform to show others they belong and to embrace their unique identities.

“My EP is different than anything I’ve released in the past. I feel like I’ve really grown in these past few years. I’ve gone through a lot sort of through my career and also personal life,” Kish said.

She dedicated the album, which will be released June 25, to Indigenous people celebrating Pride Month.

The Together Again concert series takes place at the Edmonton Exhibition Lands. Tickets can be purchased online.