Carsen Gray’s sound effortlessly takes you to a serene place. Signed to Nettwerk Music Group, the B.C.-based artist is set to release her latest EP Each Moment on Jan. 28th, 2022. Her soulful voice crosses the genres of R&B, Pop and Folk—she’s proven that she isn’t limiting herself into any specific box. Her musical talents are tied together with the spirit of her culture and community, her videos often showcasing the beauty of her home, Haida Gwaii. You can hear it all over the singles from her upcoming project—“Someplace,” “Colours Like Yours,” “Each Moment,” and most recently, “Here With Me.”
The award-winning Haida Indigenous singer and songwriter has been performing since she was a young girl, and decided to take her talents further after her performance of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” at Canada’s Wonderland received praise from the crowd. Her talents gained the attention of family friend Bobby Taylor, a Vancouver-based producer noted in the industry as being one of the first to gain exposure for Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. At just 16 she was given the opportunity to travel and perform across China.
“Indigenous people are rising in the arts because art and music has always been so key for Indigenous people. It’s engraved in us.”
Upon returning to Vancouver, Gray took a break to finish her schooling, but picked up the pace on her musical career again after meeting her husband, highly celebrated rapper and singer Joey Stylez. Frequent collaborators and teammates, Gray and Stylez use the built in music studio in their home to collaborate on writing and producing music together.
She has since won an Indigenous Music Award for Best New Artist, presented by Sirus XM, and was signed to Nettwerk Music Group shortly after. While Gray’s music crosses genres, there’s one definite constant: the love and passion she has for her culture and her heritage. “Indigenous people are rising in the arts because art and music has always been so key for Indigenous people. It’s engraved in us. It’s always been our outlet. We’ve experienced many traumas, but the Indigenous rising we’re seeing in music is God given,” says Gray.
Her EP is a love letter to life, and she states that the driving force and inspiration behind the project is gratitude. “I’m in a really good place despite everything that’s going on in the world. [I attest that] to being a big believer in God and gratitude.” Each Moment focuses on the subjects of love, harmony, and being grateful everyday, “I wanted to create something that talks about how important it is to disconnect from our devices and just enjoy being in the moment—being present and being grateful for who and what you have in your life.”
“[During the pandemic] there were times where I found myself spending too much time on my phone. It’s kind of how we cope with what’s going on, and as people we have become so addicted to our devices. We compare ourselves to each other all the time.” Being devoted, focusing on what makes life beautiful, and giving thanks has shown Gray the way to live out her dreams and inspire others to do the same. She emphasises her hope for other Indigenous artists to push their talents: “Be proud of who you are and your heritage. God has given us the platform of music for our healing.”
Carsenwill be performing alongside Snotty Nose Rez Kids at the Vancouver art Gallery on Dec. 4. After the release of her EP, Gray hopes to begin touring and continue creating music to elevate, motivate, and bring serenity to listeners.