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Musician from James Bay Coast uses lockdown to produce 'best music to date'

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The pandemic has been especially difficult for musicians, so a singer/songwriter from the northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat built his own recording studio to continue making music while his community was in lockdown.

Now, Adrian Sutherland just released a new single and is gearing up to release a full album this fall.

While it can be challenging to be a musician in the far north — let alone during a pandemic — Sutherland said the period of stress and isolation gave him the chance to reflect. And he said it's led to some of his best music to date.

"I've been able to turn to my music, especially to my culture and family. I think that's been my saving light all throughout the year," he said.

His latest single, Right Here, recorded in his do-it-yourself studio talks about a bad dream involving losing a loved one.

"People that you care about and love, and vice versa, that care about you and want to see you get through some tough times," Sutherland said.

He co-wrote and produced the song with a musician in Toronto who has worked with him on several songs.

For Tim Vesely, great music can emerge regardless of distance and life circumstances -- and he said that's what drew him to Sutherland.

"It's all about coming from the heart and that's what I get from Adrian and his writing," Vesely said. "The voice always blows me away... You don't expect this angelic, beautiful voice coming out of this big, strong guy, hunting dad from Attawapiskat."

That heart and powerful vocals have been getting national and international recognition -- with two of his music videos being showcased in London, England. His earlier single, Politician Man, received several awards and his song Respect the Gift was featured on Hockey Night in Canada.

"Still living here and launching my music career from here and all the challenges that has ... It does feel good to get that recognition," Sutherland said.

A father of four and grandfather to four more, Sutherland hopes his upcoming album will sway listeners with themes of family and rebirth -- and his blend of rock, blues, country, and folk.

The yet-to-be-named album is set for a mid-September release. Top Stories

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