February 25, 2020

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Empowerment through her art

Renée Lamoureux reaches out to others with new album

When Winnipeg-based singer-songwriter Renée Lamoureux released her sophomore solo effort, Dare to Be You, in 2016, she couldn’t have imagined the doors the album would open for her, both personally and professionally.

After more than 15 years of being associated with a duo, Keith & Renée, Lamoureux was still finding her feet as a solo artist, using Dare to Be You as a way to answer the question, ‘Who am I now?’

That record won her a Manitoba Music Award for best female artist in 2016 and was nominated for two Indigenous Music Awards after her single, Two Step, spent some time atop the Indigenous music charts. And it was that momentum that flung her into the creation of her newest album, Empower.

As the title suggests, the 10-song album is full of positive messages about living life to the fullest, embracing love and embracing yourself.

"I called it Empower... at first I wasn’t sure because it’s such a trendy word right now, but it kind of made the most sense for me," Lamoureux says.

Renée Lamoureux is releasing her new album, Empower, at an event on Friday, Jan. 3, at the Park Theatre. (Supplied)</p></p>

Renée Lamoureux is releasing her new album, Empower, at an event on Friday, Jan. 3, at the Park Theatre. (Supplied)

"(Dare to Be You) was kind of the discovery of who I am, so this is part two of that. A lot of the writing is always about where you’re at in your life and but also I was wanting to reach out to community and empower others too, as cheesy as that may sound."

The idea of reaching out has materialized in a few different ways for Lamoureux during the past couple of years. In her non-musical life, she has started taking courses at university for the first time, diving into topics of interest such as women and gender studies, Indigenous studies and psychology, which Lamoureux says helped shaped her writing and ignite a new creative spark.

"It brought in all this new creativity, so the community piece, I think just learning about the world and all that is where it took me," Lamoureux says.

And, thanks to the positive attention from the Indigenous music community, the Métis musician has started digging deeper into her own history and culture. It has already opened numerous professional doors for her, which included a trip to Australia in September to perform at the BigSound Festival and Conference in Brisbane as one of three Indigenous acts from Canada (Ottawa’s Twin Flames and B.C.’s Snotty Nose Rez Kids rounded out the Canadian component) who were sent Down Under as a way to connect with Indigenous musicians there.

"I mean I’ve never really known too much about my history but the Indigenous music community was just so welcoming and that just started a whole bunch of new relationships and even helping with my education and brought in new opportunities that I didn’t know my career would go into. I’ve really been enjoying it because it’s like a whole new discovery for me," Lamoureux says.

"To be honest, all through my music career, even with the Keith and Renée projects, there’s always new avenues that come about and I think you have to continue to be open and think outside the box, and this is what I’m exploring right now and I’m really loving it because it’s also a piece of me, a piece of my history."

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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