An Aboriginal-run hip-hop record label in Saskatoon hopes to provide a forum for young people to inspire others.
Damien, who is from the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, is one of the artists working with Stay Royal Records.
The father of a 25-year-old said music helped him learn to read and write when he was in high school.
“I did this by reading the lyrics of other songs and once I got better I started going through the thesaurus and the dictionary,” Damien told CTV News.
“As soon as I got better, I started writing nursery rhymes, and then I deepened into the music I was making.”
Damien, whose music focuses on storytelling, said he hopes to inspire others, especially his daughter.
“I hope that one day when she listens to my music, she says ‘yes, this is my dad and I want to be like him.’ And I hope to set a good example by chasing your dreams and chasing what you really want to do and not listening to anyone else telling you otherwise.
Stay Royal Records, an Aboriginal-run hip-hop record label from Saskatoon, aims to provide a platform for young people. (Courtesy of Stay Royal Records)
Stay Royal Records works primarily with young Indigenous and color artists.
Co-creator Raistlin Morning Owl said the label’s goal is to help artists hone their skills and discover who they are.
“Our importance is not just for the aboriginal community, but for young people, providing them with an outlet. It’s something I didn’t have when I was younger, so being able to give that back is something that’s very important to us.
Morning Owl, 24, is the youngest artist signed to the label, but he said the goal was to give back and fund programs for people as young as five.
“I think young people can learn a lot of things and giving them something to do outside of class is huge because you know you take them away from other things that could be negative influences.”
Morning Owl said the label is always on the lookout for new talent and receives submissions from people in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.
Undergrind Skates in Saskatoon is rooted in local hip hop culture as it sold records.
Owner Sheldon Evacheski is a supporter of Stay Royal Records and has said what they are doing will help the local scene thrive.
“The way things are, the climate in our country right now, I think it’s super important to bring this hip hop brand to the fore,” he said.
“Above all, give a voice to young people. Young people are our future, so we need to foster that.
For Damien, he said his two years of working with the label have been memorable.
“It’s really motivating, really inspiring and I hope I can bring what I have to the table and inspire others by doing it.”
Stay Royal Records is hosting a show at Black Cat Tavern on November 6 with artists from the label to help bring the local hip hop community together.