“One foot in the past, one in the here and now…”
— Northern Man by Midnight Shine
Adrian Sutherland is from the isolated Cree community of Attawapiskat in remote Northern Ontario. He’s a singer/songwriter and frontman for roots-rock band Midnight Shine, making contemporary music that gives a glimpse of life in Canada’s far North, while reflecting universal themes like family, home, love and loss.
In addition to making contemporary music, Adrian is a traditional knowledge and language keeper of his Mushkegowuk Cree people of the James Bay. He teaches his children to hunt, fish and survive on the land, participates in annual harvests, takes part in (and often leads) ceremonies, and is a genuine example of someone who lives authentically. He is a father of four, grandfather of three, and hard-working husband, proud of who he is and where he comes from.
Setting Midnight Shine apart from other bands is the depth of Adrian’s exploration of his First Nations’ identity. He caught the attention of Ralph James (APA Agency in Toronto), one of Canada’s most renowned and respected booking agents. Ralph has since become one of Midnight Shine’s biggest industry champions, helping take their music career to the next level.
Adrian is an entrepreneur, recently opening eatery and catering service The Moose in Attawapiskat, along with his wife Judy. Prior to this, he spent three years as CEO for Economic Development, a position he left in 2017 to make more time for his music career, business pursuits, cultural obligations, and growing family.
A graduate of Northern College in Timmins, Adrian completed Business Management in 2014 with studies in accounting, human resource management, marketing, communications, and community relations. Before going back to college for business, he worked as certified Emergency Medical Technician for ten years, providing emergency response paramedic services all over Northern Ontario. Adrian was nominated for a 2016 Premier’s Award from Colleges Ontario for his commitment to the people of the North.
Adrian cares deeply about First Nations’ issues. He believes in being a positive role model for the next generation, and gets great satisfaction from helping kids discover their talents, whether in music, arts or sports. He was thrilled to play hockey alongside other musicians and NHL greats at the 2017 JUNO Cup in Ottawa, and again in Vancouver in 2018. He’s passionate about facilitating sessions for youth, ensuring young people have access to education, culture, and land-based learning. He recently launched a community music program in Attawapiskat with support from MusiCounts, and was instrumental in bringing ArtsCan Circle to Attawapiskat.
While Adrian’s home has been the subject of much negative media attention, he would like to change those perceptions: "There are good stories to be told from Attawapiskat, and from all over the North. I hope to be one of them."
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