HomeBlogArtist LifestyleOji-Cree Singer Aysanabee started music professionally at a young age; 'When I...

Oji-Cree Singer Aysanabee started music professionally at a young age; ‘When I was 15, I moved into the city and … we started this reggae band”

Born Evan Pang, an Oji-Cree singer and songwriter, Aysanabee has accomplished much in the short span of his mainstream music career. His debut album, Watin, released in 2022, earned him a Juno Award nomination for Contemporary Artist of the Year.

Moreover, he also became the first indigenous artist whose single Nomad reached the top spot on the Canadian Alternative Rock chart.

Two years on the count, Aysanabee has since begun actively creating music, but the achievements he has gained are pretty appreciable. No wonder his musical talent and hard work over the years assisted him in becoming what he is today.

At age 6, Aysanabee found Dreams by the band Fleetwood Mac interesting. That’s probably when he developed an interest in music. Growing up, artists like Beyonce and Bob Marley heavily influenced him and then he started working on music.

In an exclusive talk with CBC, Aysanabee said after he first listened to Bob Marley’s Could You Be Loved at age 12, he began writing songs. He further stated, “When I was 15, I moved into the city and … we started this reggae band. People are always like, ‘Where did you get that tone? Your voice?”

Well, his roaring, powerful voice and music, which was more inclined toward his roots, has now brought him a great fate.

Key Takeaways

  • Ayasanabee is an indigenous singer and songwriter whose debut album, Watin, was nominated for the Juno Award 2024.
  • His album is a tribute to his ancestors and his roots.
  • He grew up in a trailer in Northern Ontario with a running water and electricity scarcity.
  • Ayasanabee found his passion for music at a young age and followed it.

Aysanabee had a difficult childhood growing up in Northern Ontario without electricity and running water

While grabbing the Juno Awards 2024 for the Songwriter of the Year category, Aysanabee mentioned his upbringing: “I grew up in a trailer in Northern Ontario without electricity and running water, and now I’m here.”

Member of the Sandy Lake First Nation, Aysanabee was all set to have a difficult life since his birth. But his mother knew that growing up as a child of an indigenous community wouldn’t be easy, so to protect him, she gave Aysanabee an Asian named Evan Peng.

He once said, “when I was born my mother gave me the last name Pang. Her last name is Aysanabee, but she thought it would make it easier in life for me if I just had an Asian name.”

Then, his family shifted to an isolated place with severe utility unavailability. His mom used to work outside the home for more extended periods to run the family, and that’s when Aysanabee and his brother found a way to entertain themselves with music.

As Aysanabee said, there was no electricity in his home, but he had a guitar, which awakened his thirst for music. Today, his musical career is at its peak, with his debut album which got nomination for Juno Awards 2024. The album also get shortlisted for a Polaris Prize.

Aysanabee’s debuted album is a tribute to his ancestry and his roots

Aysanabee named his first album, Watin, after his grandfather’s name as it was inspired by his conversation with his grand-dad during a pandemic.

In this regard, he said, “It was important for me to record some of this because not only were there outbreaks happening, but his health wasn’t so good then. But soon, those conversations became deeper, uncovering family stories and setting Pang on a new journey of personal reclamation.”

Soon after, leaving his Asian name behind, he reclaimed his indigenous name, Aysanabee, and started recording his and his grandpa’s chats, shaping them into a lyrical narrative. “I kind of had this urgency to write down something, so at least there’s something there. So much of our history kind of gets lost when our elders move on.”

His album Watin, which includes singles like Nomad, narrated the story of his grandfather. Likewise, Aysanabee named his other single Seeseepano after his great-grandfather, exhibiting the essence of roots in his life which for sure inspired the people of his age to do the same.


Is Aysanabee on Instagram?

Yes, Aysanabee is on Instagram with 18.1k followers.

What is Aysanabee’s birth name?

Aysanabee’s birth name is Evan Pang.

What Aysanabee used to do before pursuing music?

As a teenager, he worked for a mining company and later after graduating with journalism degree, he worked as a digital content creator for CTV News.

Anuja Uprety
Anuja Uprety
Anuja Uprety is a content writer with almost two years of experience in the field. She is a passionate researcher and likes to use the skill to explore Hollywood trend.


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