Rhonda Lee McIsaac —
Kym Gouchie is a full time singer, songwriter, artist, and educator with a melodic and cool poetic voice who sings with a passion for her First Nations culture and heritage. Her musical influences include folk, country, and an activist voice, which shapes her lyrics and imagery similar to Buffy Sainte-Marie, Lucinda Williams and Shania Twain.
This mother of four adult children and grandmother of six is a member of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation in Prince George, BC.
“I was born into a musical family,” she says; her brothers have all recorded albums and her family has a gospel album to their credit. “I am a self-taught artist and I play by ear,” which has its upsides and downsides requiring a lot of practice and memorization.
Gouchie’s new single, In the Hearts of You & Me, a tribute to the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls along Highway 16, was released May 2016. She says it is a fluid song and it came to her with guitar melody and lyrics. She wrote it in October and a week later performed it in Penticton. With the tears in the eyes of those listening and the positive feedback she knew she wanted to take the song and gift it to the Highway of Tears Initiative. All proceeds from the single will go to the Highway of Tears Initiative.
Gouchie’s connection to the Highway of Tears has always been a part of her consciousness by the fact that Prince George, where she resides, is known as the beginning and the end of the Highway of Tears. This fact has contributed to her activism over the last 10 years, and especially this past year with her connection to Brenda Wilson.
“I’m very excited and grateful that Kym is able to bring this music forward, and to have her [raising funds for] the Highway of Tears Initiative,” said Brenda Wilson, Highway of Tears Coordinator. Wilson’s sister, Ramona, lost her life along the Highway of Tears.
It takes a lot of support to maintain a public position on issues as troubling as the Highway of Tears. Fortunately, Gouchie has solid family support and a growing fan base across Northern BC and into the Okanagan where singles like Sister Rain and For The People are gaining radio play. She also has a dream to be onstage with the 75-year old legend, Buffy Sainte-Marie. “I am actively visioning that Buffy Sainte-Marie will call me up on stage to sing with her,” she exclaimed!
According to her website, Sister Rain reached #1 on the NCIFM National Aboriginal Top 40 Music Countdown and For The People was included on the Truth and Reconciliation Compilation CD. Gouchie is recording a new album, which is to be released in the winter of 2016.