Emma Steven’s, 16, has been singing and performing for most of her life but only recently became a recording artist with the release of “My Unama’ki”, a song in celebration of her indigenous heritage and her love for her home of Cape Breton Island (Unama’ki).
Recently, to help bring awareness to the UN observance: The International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL2019), Emma recorded Paul McCartney’s poignant, Blackbird, in her native language, Mi’kmaq, a language with less than 10,000 living native speakers. Since its release, Blackbird, and its accompanying music video has garnered considerable international media and has helped bring awareness to efforts to revitalize endangered indigenous languages around the world.
During a recent concert in Lexington Kentucky, the song’s composer Sir Paul McCartney shared this message with his audience:
“There’s an incredible version a Canadian girl’s done… see it on YouTube,” he said onstage, before performing his original song. “It’s in her native language… it’s really cool, check it out.”
In May of 2019 Emma was invited to perform at the Inaugural International Assembly of the Habitat Division of the United Nations in Nairobi, Kenya for more than 1000 leaders and policymakers from around the world.
Emma is presently working on a variety of musical projects including original songs, music videos, and a number of performances including an appearance in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, for National Aboriginal Day, 2019. Emma resides in Eskasoni, First Nation, the largest indigenous community in Eastern Canada.