Baker Lake rapper Shauna Seeteenak will release her first full-length album at the end of the month.
The album, titled Therapy Sessions, is being released through the Nunavut-based label Hitmakerz.
Seeteenak told Kivalliq News that the record is essentially a musical diary of the things she has experienced growing up in Nunavut.
“The album means a lot to me because when I was younger it was hard for me to express how I felt inside. I was never taught to express myself healthily. It just felt like a therapy session every time I sing a song,” she said. “I’m really empathetic, so the way I’ve seen a lot of people has affected me and made me emotional. So writing songs really helped me.”
Seeteenak has been a mainstay within Nunavut’s hip-hop scene ever since she first performed at Iqaluit’s Alianait Festival in 2010.
Since then, the 29-year-old rapper has experienced plenty of life changes. Eight years ago she moved to Iqaluit to be with her partner. Then two years ago she decided to get sober, something that she’s not shy about sharing with others on the new album.
Her second single, See the Light, which was released along with a music video last month, touches on that journey.
Watch See the Light here (language warning):
“I wrote that three or four years ago. I was using alcohol and drugs. I just wanted to share my experience with that because I know other people struggle with it too,” she said. “I’ve been alcohol-free for two years now. It’s been a really tough journey, but it’s doable. I feel like I wake up with purpose every day. I just want people to know that whatever you challenge yourself to (do), you can pull through it.”
Seeteenak said she sent a demo to Hitmakerz producer Thor Simonsen after being featured on a track for the label’s Ajungi compilation album in 2019.
“I was just ready for an album to be released. I wanted to go further with my music. I sent him my demo and he loved it, and it ended up with him helping me write applications for funding the album,” she said.
In the end, Seeteenak received funding from the GN’s Department of Culture and Heritage as well as a small business grant through the Department of Economic Development and Transportation.
Seeteenak said 65 per cent of the album’s lyrics are in English and the rest is in Inuktitut. Having grown up without learning Inuktitut, she said she likes to go back and forth, singing in both languages.
“That’s how I practice my Inuktitut. I find it hard, especially because there’s different dialects all over Nunavut,” she said.
While some new tracks appear on the 13-song album, Seeteenak also re-recorded older material for the release.
“I had to re-sing all the songs and Thor created all the instrumentals behind them,” she explained.
The oldest song on the album, Qiviktailigit, which means “don’t give up” in Baker Lake’s Inuktitut dialect, was written in 2009, according to Seeteenak.
“It’s a really popular song. I’ve really remade it so many times,” she said. “I’m really happy that it’s solidified now.”
The project also includes Better With You, a love song to her partner, which was released as the album’s first single on Valentine’s Day this year.
With the album set to be released on Aug. 27, Seeteenak said she’s excited for the world to hear it.
“I can’t wait to share my music with people who can relate and to educate people on who we are, how we live and how strong we are,” she said.