Manitoba Music’s Snack Sessions video series features 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
From SoundCloud to the radio waves and stages across the globe, Sebastian Gaskin’s music career took off at a lightning pace since his beginnings less than two years ago.
The R&B singer/songwriter and guitarist’s first single “6am”, released early 2018, was an instant success, rocketing to the number one spot on the national Indigenous Music Countdown – something that came as a surprise to him at the time.
“To be honest, I didn’t really know what it meant at the time,” said Gaskin. “Since then I’ve learned that having a number one on the Indigenous Music Countdown unlocks a few doors.”
It was an accomplishment that placed high expectations on the up-and-coming artist, yet he quickly met them over the next few months. After a few more singles released that year, he was awarded the Indigenous Music Award for the Ka-Kee-Nee Konee Pewonee Okimow Most Outstanding Manitoban after being asked to play a three-song set at a Pow Wow in 2018.
“It was such a great feeling,” Gaskin said. “I actually had no idea I was going to be awarded. I was pretty speechless.”
A flurry of tours, festival appearances, and high-profile opener slots followed. This year alone, Gaskin made appearances at Festival du Voyageur, Canadian Music Week in Toronto, and sākihiwē festival in Winnipeg, performed at APTN’s massive Indigenous Day Live event before legends like Randy Bachman and Buffy Sainte-Marie, and opened for legendary rapper Common at this year's TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival – perhaps the biggest highlight of his year.
“I got to meet [Common] after the show and we just kinda shot the shit and talked about his upcoming album,” said Gaskin. “Needless to say, that was the biggest crowd I’ve played to, ever.”
He signed with award-winning booking agency Paquin Artists Agency and started working with Winnipeg-based artist management company Mighty Cypress Talent (Begonia, The Bros. Landreth, Royal Canoe, Living Hour). And in May, Gaskin officially self-released his debut EP, the self-produced, four-song Contradictions on his independent label imprint LieBoy Concepts.
“The choice to put [Contradictions] out was fuelled by a want to update people on the different sounds I’m messing with these days,” said Gaskin.
The album was followed by a nearly month-long cross-Canada tour, including sets at Prairie Wind Festival in Cypress River and Interstellar Rodeo in Edmonton.
“I loved playing so often,” said Gaskin. “After this tour, I feel like I’ve tightened up my setlist and have discovered a better flow through the songs.”
Next up, Gaskin will be opening for Super Duty Tough Work’s EP release at The Good Will Social Club on September 7, then close out the summer festival season with a set at Harvest Moon Festival in September. On the horizon, he’ll hit the showcase stage at BreakOut West in Whitehorse.
And as for a follow-up to Contradictions in the near future?
“People can expect more collaborations in the future,” Gaskin said. “Perhaps a couple of singles throughout the fall and winter.”
Keep up-to-date with Sebastian Gaskin on his Manitoba Music profile, and don’t miss the chance to catch his upcoming gigs, in-province and out.