Kelly Derrickson’s music packs power. You might expect that from a singer whose father is Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson. He is a famous tribal leader who has been elected chief of the Westbank First Nation six times, and is also a successful entrepreneur. She credits him as a best friend and soulmate, characterizing him as a fountain of knowledge and, “…everything a man should be”. She goes on to describe both him and herself as coming from a long bloodline of activists, concerned for the rights of Canada’s indigenous peoples and the land that they come from.
She describes her newest album I AM as controversial, one that will no doubt, “…piss a few people off”. But that’s ok, she adds, as “… it wouldn’t be the first time” for that.
The songs of I AM are indeed heavy with emotional content. I AM (Mother Nature) is a celebration of both womanhood and nature in ideal form, when not sullied by the greed, lies and pollution of others. Suicide Song is another example, exploring the lonely despair of young individual native men and women, but ends with, “take my hand…let’s circle around the fire”. Suicide Song was co-written with her father, Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson.
Photographer: Suzanne Le Stage Photography
When asked about her greatest victory as an artist, she answered with a story of a suicidal man who contacted her on Facebook. He cited his experience viewing a video of Idle No More as a turning point, helping him to change his mind about ending his own life. While she has won accolades and awards from a variety of country music and Native American music associations, she takes pride in connecting with people. “What is the point…” she asks, “…if I’m not helping my people?”
While the lyrics and sheer delivery do convey raw emotion, the music itself is a warm, folksy cadence of classically feminine country music. Kelly is a country artist and cites many influences, first and foremost her father. Other influences include Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and Shania Twain. Her music celebrates land and nature, and also portrays the realities of life in broken families and abusive relationships. If good country music connects through cinematic energy and authenticity of experience, devoted fans would agree that her work is authentic.
But don’t take our word for it. See for yourself at www.kellyderrickson.com