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Adrian Sutherland’s Debut Single: Politician Man

Attawapiskat ON via Winnipeg MB (10.17.19)—Call it uncanny circumstances that lead to the release of a song from Adrian Sutherland (of Midnight Shine). Uncanny timing, too, considering the song’s name, and the fact there’s a federal election just around the corner. 
Politician Man, the debut single from Adrian Sutherland, is a protest song for Canada. The seeds were planted in July, when his Cree community of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency over contaminated water. At the same moment, insensitive comments from a politician in Ottawa sparked massive public outcry, a spontaneous response from Sutherland himself, and national media coverage. 
Jump ahead to August, when co-writing sessions with musical brothers sparked a song that was important, timely, and totally kickass. One day in September, that song came to life in a recording studio. By the first week of October, a filmmaker was adding his keen artistic eye to the message behind the music. 
The result is Politician Man, released October 17 with accompanying video by Justin Stephenson (director of animation and editor, The Secret Path). Look for it on digital music and social media sites.

Politician Man was written by Adrian Sutherland, Chris Gormley (The Trews, Daylight for Deadeyes), and Matt Gormley (Daylight for Deadeyes). It was produced and engineered by Carl Jennings at Westmoreland Recording in Hamilton, mastered by João Carvalho in Toronto, and released independently on Sutherland’s record label, Midnight Shine Music.    
Politician Man speaks to Canada’s troubled relationship with First Nations. Growing up in an isolated place like Attawapiskat has given Sutherland a unique perspective, while his growing profile as an artist is now giving him a voice. This is his way of taking action, doing something, about the ongoing struggle that Indigenous people face in Canada, while the country takes growing steps toward reconciliation. 
“Sometimes reconciliation sounds like an empty word, and it’s frustrating. You keep trying to get ahead, but there are ongoing challenges, one obstacle after another. I have to wonder what I’m doing still living in Attawapiskat, and if anything is ever going to make a difference,” says Sutherland. 
“The relationship between Canada and First Nations has been difficult for a long time, and in many ways it still is. Politician Man is about this relationship, and the need for all of us – politicians, chiefs, Indigenous people, all Canadians – to start listening to each other, and take steps together. Let’s move past the blaming and do something. We all need to do our part. That’s what reconciliation is, and the message behind Politician Man.”  

When it came time to think about something visual to go with the audio, only one person came to mind. Sutherland’s team approached Justin Stephenson, who saw the vision right away. Stephenson came up with a video treatment that, quite literally, makes Politician Man a song about a country done in a style that pays homage to country songs, while honouring Sutherland’s Cree culture. 
“I love the song and believe in the message. I really wanted to do this. Adrian is a real talent and powerful storyteller. He’s the kind of person that makes you want to do something about this difficult history, and makes me, personally, want to be a better ally. In this song, I feel he really speaks to non-Indigenous people in a way that makes you want to step up. My respect for him grows with each pass of the video I make,” says Stephenson, who had only two weeks from concept to completion. 
“I knew we’d have footage of Adrian in the studio and used this as the starting point. We wanted to combine his performance with images of Canada, and sought permission from Canadian Geographic to use their Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada. It's a beautiful and important map that shows Indigenous territories and communities without provincial boundaries.”
Adrian's family did a translation of the title into Cree syllabics, explains Stephenson: “I was struck by Adrian’s description of the Cree term for ‘Politician Man’ – which he said translates into ‘okimaw-khan’ or ‘voted big boss’. I found this interesting as it takes into account the system of governance imposed by the Indian Act.” 
“I added song lyrics using a treatment reminiscent of the rich and inviting visual language of old Nashville music posters, with design embellishments that draw inspiration from Cree floral patterns like those found on the beading on moccasins and mitts.” 

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society/Canadian Geographic for their Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada.

Air Creebec for helping Adrian Sutherland travel out of Ontario’s remote North.

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**Hi-Res Artist Photos & Politician Man Artwork**
**WAV & MP3 Versions: Politician Man**
**Interviews with Adrian Sutherland**

RoseAnna Schick, RAS Creative 
rascreative@yahoo.ca / 204-783-7600

Liz Hill, Liz Hill Public Relations, LLC 

Heiko Wessels, Greywood Records 

Ralph James, APA Agency 


Lonely Boy by Adrian Sutherland & Midnight Shine

Fourth Music Video Brings Production Firsts

Attawapiskat ON via Winnipeg MB (09.13.19)—The fourth music video from Adrian Sutherland & Midnight Shine features a few firsts: it’s the first music video featuring performance by the full-band, and the first time working with actors.
Shot in Winnipeg over the May long weekend, Lonely Boy is about the loss of a father, says Sutherland: “This song is probably the most personal I’ve written, and wasn’t easy to write. I believe it was a way for me to let go of certain pains, and be able to move forward in a better way. Even though we can’t change the past, it’s still important we move ahead in life.” 

Production of Lonely Boy took place over three days, with three cameras, at three different locations: The Pyramid Cabaret, Club Regent Event Centre, and an urban park. Featured are Winnipeg actors “DJ” Wilfred Kent-Demeria in his first starring role as the ‘Older Lonely Boy’, and Josh Halbert as the ‘Father’. But it’s four-year-old Waldyn McKay, a last-minute addition on the final shoot day, who just might steal the show (and hearts!) as the ‘Little Lonely Boy’.
Lonely Boy the video is executive produced by Sutherland (Attawapiskat), with RoseAnna Schick (Winnipeg) producing and co-directing, and Cliff Hokanson (Vancouver) directing and cinematographer – marking the fifth music video collaboration between Schick and Hokanson. It was edited by Bethany Fontaine (Winnipeg) who was editor on Midnight Shine’s Heart of Gold video, and coloured by Tony Wytinck (Winnipeg) who has completed all four of the band’s music videos.

Lonely Boy the song was released on Midnight Shine’s third album High Road, and produced by John-Angus MacDonald (The Trews). It was written by Sutherland, and recorded at Jukasa Studios on Six Nations in Ontario. Performing on the track along with the band is Chris Gormley (drums) and Jesse O’Brien (keys).

Adrian Sutherland & Midnight Shine would like to acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts for making the Lonely Boy music video; FACTOR and Canada’s private radio broadcasters for financial support towards marketing and radio initiatives; Air Creebec for helping band members travel out of Ontario’s remote North; and Hudson’s Bay for providing wardrobe for the live video performances. Thank you also to the Indigenous Music Awards, Club Regent Event Centre, and The Pyramid Cabaret.

RoseAnna Schick, RAS Creative

Liz Hill, Liz Hill Public Relations LLC

Heiko Wessels, Greywood Records
Ralph James, APA Agency


Starring the Stunning James Bay Coast


Attawapiskat ON via Winnipeg MB (May 27, 2019) — While Midnight Shine’s third music video Leather Skin was shot in 2018, the idea for it was first inspired back in 2000. It was then that Midnight Shine frontman Adrian Sutherland saw the beach video for Coldplay’s hit song Yellow, and dreamed of one day making one of his own on the James Bay coastline near his Northern Ontario home. And last October, that’s exactly what he did.



Adrian, his wife Judy, a video crew of three, and a boatload of production gear embarked on a 90-minute boat ride from the Cree community of Attawapiskat, heading north along the Attawapiskat River to the open waters of the James Bay. Traveling in an isolated region unknown to most Canadians, they eventually reached the Twin Islands — a place that’s rugged, remote and uninhabited by humans. Even though its traditional territory of Ontario’s Mushkegowuk Cree, geographical maps set the islands within the boundaries of Nunavut. 


Not only was this desolate beach challenging to get to, it was even more difficult to stay at. Once landed, the crew had merely two hours to prep the cameras, get their shots, and get away — or be stranded until the next tide would come around 24 hours later. The boat had to be pried away from the beach continuously, too, with the ever-receding tide and fierce nautical winds constantly threatening to run them aground. 


All of this, because it’s exactly where Sutherland wanted to make his music video. “I often think about going to my favorite place,” he sings in Leather Skin, peering into the camera as he strolls along the gorgeous James Bay shore, while temps hovered near zero Celsius. 


With footage from the Twin Islands intercut with shots on the dusky dusty streets of Attawapiskat, Leather Skin portrays both sides of Adrian’s journey – making music in the contemporary world, juxtaposed with a simple traditional life out on the land. His favorite place. Truly. 


Most serendipitous of all, perhaps, was some unexpected unseasonal weather that ended up tying the music video all together in the most unbelievable way.


 The Leather Skin music video is executive produced by Adrian Sutherland, with RoseAnna Schick producing and co-directing, and Cliff Hokanson directing and cinematography. The video made its worldwide debut on May 23, kicking off the Opening Night program at the Yorkton Film Festival. 



Leather Skin, written by Adrian Sutherland, is a song about resilience. It’s about developing a ‘thick skin’ and not letting others knock you down — a theme many can relate to, including Sutherland himself: “I've been through so much BS in my town, and in my life, but I'll keep getting back up no matter what. I’ve always fought my way through bullying, even as I got older. All of that gave me thick skin," he says. 


Leather Skin was produced by Tim Vesely (Rheostatics) at The Woodshed Studio in Toronto. It’s from Midnight Shine’s third album High Road, released in the spring of 2018. Performing on Leather Skin is Adrian Sutherland, Stanley Louttit, Zachary Tomatuk, Zach Sutton and Tim Vesely. 



Adrian Sutherland and Midnight Shine would like to thank Canada Council for the Arts for their support to make the Leather Skin music video, Air Creebec for helping the band travel out of Ontario’s North, and FACTOR for marketing support. 


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RoseAnna Schick, RAS Creative

rascreative@yahoo.ca / 204-783-7600



Liz Hill, Liz Hill Public Relations LLC

liz@lizhillpr.com / 808-856-6012



Ralph James, APA Agency                                                  

rjames@apa-agency.com / 416-646-7373

(808) 856-6012

Rehoboth Beach, DE, USA

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