Auroara Leigh is a Canadian Metis (Indigenous) singer-songwriter who recently released her new single/lyric video, “Emergence.”
Leigh explains, “‘Emergence’ is about allowing yourself to be true to your own story of self, more than the projections from others about who you are. ‘Emergence’ is about releasing the story of life or pain that someone else might have taught you or showed you in their behavior and not letting it impact how YOU choose to live.”
With her first two highly personal and genre-defying releases, 2021’s Feel It to Heal It, followed by 2022’s Sacred Rebirth, Auroara spoke her truth and walked the path of her own Sacred Fire Medicine Path for all to see.
For “Emergence,” Auroara Leigh conscripted instrumentalists to help her realize her musical vision, with one particularly important piece: “I felt the need to have a fiddle join the track because my grandfather was a Metis fiddler, and he was well known for it. I hadn’t brought in fiddle in any of my songs yet, and it felt like a way of honoring him, and also my Metis identity.”
The fiddle, played by celebrated violinist Chloe Nakahara, adds haunting tones to “Emergence,” melding perfectly with Leigh’s folk-tinged pop sound.
Guitar Girl Magazine caught up with Auroara Leigh to discover more about “Emergence,” her evolving tone, and her songwriting process.
What inspired your new single, “Emergence?”
The way that it makes me feel: empowered. I needed to reclaim my power from others’ perceptions or ways of doing and seeing things that don’t match me. I believe that we are all like a canvas and when we are exposed to others’ we can take on the paint that they paint with. It is up to us to accept that through our lens, or our psyche. As children, we do not have a say but we do have a chance to repaint (or reparent) ourselves when we are adults. Emergence is about just that! It is about saying: this is who I am, not who you have said I am.
How did you get started in music?
As a young girl, I loved to sing. I never had formal training until I was 28 and it was part of my reparenting, to take care of myself and do something for me. I did a few years of vocal training while I wrote the songs for my first album, ‘Feel It to Heal It.’ I had planned to tell my story in a book and then when I wrote my story through songs it just made it a lot more creative, fun, and deep. Songwriting is a medium that flowed naturally for me, the songs just poured out of me, with the melody immediately felt and known.
Did your sound evolve naturally, or did you deliberately push it in a certain direction?
I think my sound is still evolving. I am sure that what I create in the future will be different than what I have already created. The permission I gave myself to be raw and vulnerable was very much a part of the process for the first album, what it is all about. The next album I do will be a lot more sultry, mature, and with new themes, which shows where I am at in my own process of becoming.
How do you keep your sound fresh, and avoid falling into the trap of imitating either yourself or others?
My songs come from my soul and the creative art of the process, plus the mix of admiring those who work with me and honoring their style. I do not think I could ever get caught in that trap.
How do you keep your sound consistent on stage?
I am new to performing, so that question is hard to answer. The shows I am setting up to do are very much unique, intimate, and in-the-moment experiences. I will adapt based on each theme, venue, and intent of the audience. For the more sharing circle soundscapes I will be drawing people into the music, for festival-style performances, or stage performances I will just be about inspiring and motivating. My purpose with my music is clear to me so that will always remain the truth behind why I do what I do. My purpose is to share hope for healing.
Are there any special recording techniques you use in the studio?
We usually do the base instrumental down with the lyrics and melody that I compose. Then we layer on top of that. I usually allow the song itself to guide the process where it goes. What needs to come next.
What is your definition of tone? And has your tone changed over time?
Tone is the way that sound is articulated. My tone has changed drastically since I began, and I think it will continue to. My tone started out very amateur. I would say I am still an amateur but a more mature amateur. I am hoping to be intermediate by the time I start my next album.
What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, or other media?
In my 20s I kept doing positive lifestyle choices: yoga, meditation, sweat lodges, etc. Once I was done with my degree at University, I decided to go really deep into my past and intensely rewrite my story. Re-story my inner self. My music is sharing that process!
What can you share about your writing process?
Each song is a bundle of energy or medicine. Everything from start to finish is that package of that medicine. When I share the song with others it is like a gift or offering. Each song also helps me express something that is hard to say in other ways. For instance, ‘Everywhere I Go’ is about the attachment dysregulation I had as a youth and young adult. I would get some love and be so hyper-focused on it because of all kinds of reasons. But it shares those relatable stories that so many people talk about these days, like trauma bonds. Spirit is about the mental abuse that my stepdad experienced and passed on to me, that caused the anxiety that I have had in my life. I think that the writing process, then recording, then sharing with others, does layers of healing for me, more than any other way that I have healed so far.
Which artists in your opinion are killing it right now?
Aysanabee!! Allison Russell.
What can your fans look forward to over the next six months? Music videos? Live gigs?
Music videos for sure, and then some intimate sharing spaces with my music. I have some live gigs. I think that I will book community groups that want to have conversations and go deep with the music. I have a music festival in August where Snotty Nose Rez Kids is performing. I am one of the opening acts. I am just going to be really dropping into what it means to be in this industry with other amazing people and experiencing how I share my gifts with the world. I will treat it like I do with my songs, allow it to come through me and witness it with curiosity and wonder. That is when the magic happens!