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Kimmirut's Leo Matthew to release next single on Nunavut Day

Debut album 'The Boy From Nunavut' due out on July 26
Leo Matthew, who was raised in Kimmirut, recording in studio.

Paying homage to his Inuit roots is a predominant theme of Leo Matthew’s music. It’s evident from the titles of his songs and his debut album, ‘The Boy From Nunavut.’

Born and raised in Kimmirut, his first single — I.N.U.K. — was released on National Indigenous Day, June 21, and is "an ode to the friends, family and peers that have been lost and stands as a celebration of Inuit and Indigenous culture and unity.”

Matthew explained how growing up in the territory shaped his music and identity.

“Traditional music was everywhere. I would just sing along and dance along, play in the Christmas games... I’m very fluent in Inuktitut. I grew up speaking it, and there’s some in my music. So [I’m] reflecting that in my music and showing them that hey, I’m that boy from Nunavut, which is going to be in my debut album on July 26 and my single coming out Nunavut Day.”

Matthew credits his father and music teacher in Kimmirut as the biggest influences on his life as a musician, and for giving him his start.

“It all started with my dad who plays the guitar. He’s a great guitarist. All his life he’s played the guitar. During school [in Kimmirut] I was just that kid who loved playing instruments. My music teacher was from South Africa, and he’s also the one that also believed in me. So my dad and my music teacher had this great relationship. They played gigs at my school in Kimmirut. It’s a very small community — only 500 people — but the whole community comes and shows up, and they would make me play along... just kind of getting confidence... and just enjoying the process of music.”

Moving to Quebec City in 2018, Matthew graduated high school in 2021 and has been pursuing his dream of a career in music in big cities — "just continuing small steps by small steps.”

He reveals his wish to be a “beacon of light in that creative space” for other Inuit

“I made ‘The Boy From Nunavut’ after graduating and during the pandemic. I wanted it to be a statement and title, like what is this guy who is he?”

He describes the process of recording the song in Toronto through the Hitmakerz label, and a producer pointing out that it’s a great title and he should stick with it.

“Everything just flowed naturally. I like to take my time with things, observe things and so ‘The Boy From Nunavut’ just came from the soul.

“To me personally, it’s about the journey of a small town boy like any other person in any other small town around the world just trying to make it in the big life and in the south. I talk about my views about coming from North to south; having to change with a different speaking mouth, for example going from Inuktitut to French to English; having to deal with the culture change. Going from a 500 [resident] small town village boy to wanting to go to a big city life like Toronto and actually experiencing all the big city lights. It’s about growth and perseverance and a journey.”

Working with Grammy-winning song writers Matt Snell and Robbie Brett, who also work with Dua Lipa, has helped Matthew develop his own particular style, which he says is heavily influenced by Ed Sheeran and accordionist Joannie Ikkidluak.

Matthew is planning to come home to visit soon, and is applying to music festivals.

In the meantime, Nunavummiut can listen to his music and find out more on

“To me, this is a story about a boy from Nunavut... Indigenous culture is booming now. It is like they say, ‘Our time.’”

Kira Wronska Dorward

About the Author: Kira Wronska Dorward

I attended Trinity College as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto, graduating in 2012 as a Specialist in History. In 2014 I successfully attained a Master of Arts in Modern History from UofT..
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