Photo: Kaela Leone

Aysanabee is up for three JUNOS in Halifax on March 24: Songwriter of the Year, Contemporary Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year. That’s on the strength of his 2023 EP Here and Now, and a new single “Come Out” with guest vocals from Raye Zaragoza. The Toronto-based Oji-Cree singer/songwriter is on a cross-country tour with Allison Russell that hits Halifax on March 21. He plays the Broadway Theatre with Russell headlining on March 2. Here are six songs he counts as favourites. /Gregory Beatty

“Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)”
Florence + The Machine, Between Two Lungs (2009)

I have a very vivid memory of listening to this song/album when I worked up north in the wilderness. I remember being in the quiet of the north, the snow falling, and being completely isolated. Often I will attach songs to memories. They become little sound tracks to my life. This one covers me in this sense of calm.

“King Kunta”
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)

This song has so much power in it. I have listened to Kendrick for a long time, he is still one of my favourite performers and this is my favourite album by him. This always reminds me of his performances, seeing a performer standing in their power, that is what I strive to be.

“Miracle Love”
Matt Corby, Rainbow Valley (2018)

I have always been a fan of Matt Corby, who has had a heavy influence on my music. There is so much soul in his voice.

Harry Styles, Fine Line (2019)

I have this memory of driving through the mountains of BC and coming to the town of Golden and deciding I was going to move there. I began selling things and looking at apartments. But then I signed a record deal. If I hadn’t, I might be living in a quiet little mountain town.

“The Melting of The Sun”
St. Vincent, Daddy’s Home (2021)

I was addicted to this song during the pandemic, when the world was seemingly in disarray. It fit the vibe of the time. I was really inspired when I saw her perform this live on SNL — how a performer could create such a moment with little production.

“Still Don’t Know My Name”
Labrinth, Euphoria (2019)

I have always been drawn to cinematic-sounding music. This song encompasses so many of my life’s memories: sad, happy, hope and loss.