Snack Sessions Interview : Raine Hamilton

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Manitoba Music’s Snack Sessions video series featuring emerging local artists that streams live via Facebook. Read on and stay tuned for more Snack Sessions. Snack Sessions is made possible by the support of Corus Entertainment, with snacks provided by Tomahawk Chips and Half Pints Brewing Company

By Graeme Houssin

Singer/songwriter Raine Hamilton’s music career has been marked by a number of incredible opportunities on a path she’s worked hard to create. And she isn’t slowing down any time soon.

Over the past year, the chamber-folk-hybrid artist’s life has been a steady rhythm of touring and festivals, occasionally with Quintin Bart on bass and Natanielle Felicitas on cello rounding out her string trio. In the past year, she showcased at Folk Alliance International, played Festival du Voyageur, Vancouver Folk Festival, and Pride Winnipeg, performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra - and, shortly after releasing her first LP Night Sky, won the 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award for Emerging Artist of the Year.

“It was a profound experience to be recognized by my community in that way,” she said. “I had created something from a deep internal place – I had really left my heart out there. It was an honour to have that seen and appreciated.”

Another highlight of the past year was a workshop at the Atlin Arts and Music Festival in northern BC, where – on top of experiencing the midnight sun and seeing a glacier from a bush plane – Hamilton shared the share with a personal idol: Ivan Coyote, a spoken word performer and award-winning author.

“There they were. There I was. We co-created an art experience,” said Hamilton. “That was reality. Also, they signed my copy of their book!”

Hamilton has made it a goal to include American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters in her performances whenever possible - so that everyone, including the Deaf community, can enjoy the experience of live music.

“I had heard from some folks in the Deaf community that they were interested in attending more concerts, but that access was a real issue,” Hamilton said. “I thought ‘Awesome! I can do something about that!’"

She began working with folks in the Deaf community to organize ASL interpreted shows and made a conscious effort to collaborate with Deaf ASL performance artists. It’s an extra step of accessibility rarely seen outside of the major festival circuit.

“Art is important and powerful, and art is for everyone,” said Hamilton. “I want to live in a world where everyone who is drawn to art has access to it.”

In her pursuit of becoming a full-time musician, Hamilton found she needed a shift of perspective. For many years, she tried many “consolation prize lives” – various careers and areas of studies leading away from a career in music – but kept feeling drawn to the life of a professional artist.

“But I thought it was impossible,” Hamilton said. “Actually, I had mourned that dream.”

Yet, after seeing many of her peers learn the ropes, Hamilton felt inspired to study and demystify the music industry and finally pursue her dream. Beyond overcoming her ideas and beliefs about risk, security, and even her own worthiness, she learned that the music industry isn’t all “magic and luck”.

Now, her number one tip for artists wanting to pursue a full-time music profession: “The music business is learnable. Entrepreneurship is learnable. Take everyone you can think of out to lunch, and take notes.

“It was heavy lifting of the soul, but I got there,” said Hamilton, “and now I’m overjoyed that I live with my artist heart and identity right out there! I am an artist! It feels amazing!”

Keep up-to-date with Raine Hamilton on her Manitoba Music profile, and don’t miss the chance to catch her this summer at Fire and Water Music Festival in Lac du Bonnet (August 3 and 4) and Whoop & Hollar Folk Festival in Portage la Prairie (August 24).

Stay tuned for more Snack Sessions...

August 29 Sebastian Gaskin

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