Leela Gilday looking to share her network with aspiring performer

One lucky young Dene woman will have the opportunity to be mentored by award-winning artist.


(Photo courtesy of Leela Gilday)

“Indigenous music is by Indigenous people,” says Leela Gilday.

“Being a Dene woman in the industry, not having anyone to do what I do. I wanted to support and bring our stories and worldview to a national platform to create a diversity of Dene voices.”

In a Facebook post on Friday, Gilday reached out to nearly 5,000 of her Facebook friends calling for a young and serious Dene teen girl in the Yellowknife, Dettah, Behchokǫ̀ or Edzo area, to offer a one-on-one mentorship opportunity lasting from September 2020 to April 2021.

“Since the pandemic, I have a little bit more time now being at home,” Gilday says, “I’m not touring and all gigs are canceled until 2021.”

This opportunity is open to all emerging female artists “that want to turn their love of music into a career,” she says.

All interested applicants can contact her through Facebook, and are required to send her a recording of a song sung acapella and a short blurb or summary explaining their hopes and dreams.

Confidence can be built and some basic music skills are required, she states in the Facebook post.

Gilday is hoping to share her connections to increase the representation of Dene women in the music industry.

“I’m not offering singing lessons,” she says, “I want to develop and nurture the talent in the Northwest Territories.”

The mentorship will be catered to the individual’s specific needs; the candidate will learn performance techniques, production, and release strategies.

“There’s a lot more that goes into a music career than singing,” she says.

“I’m trying to encourage the women in the community to tell their stories.”

Gilday is excited and looking forward to extending this opportunity in the future.

About the Author

Mariah Caruso
Mariah Caruso is a digital journalist, originally from Toronto, Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Hons. Bachelor of Arts and completed her Journalism post-grad at Sheridan College. She has an insatiable appetite for life, storytelling, connecting to the people, and getting to the heart of the issue. Mariah is excited to begin her journey and career in Yellowknife, NWT, and get involved with the community. If you have a story idea, feel free to send her an email at mariah.caruso@cklbradio.com