Amanda Rheaume - “The Skin I’m In” (Independent): This is the just-released first single and title track of an album the award-winning Toronto-based singer/songwriter releases on Feb. 15.
It conveys a powerful and important message, one Rheaume explains in a press release. "The song is about learning how to love oneself, unconditionally, no matter what body type, skin colour, gender, sexuality, religion, spirituality, and so on. I came out as gay in 2003 but still struggled for years to feel 100% comfortable in my skin, and in my life. It has only been in the last year that I feel I’ve really come into my own and be able to claim my identity proudly.
"I have also wrestled with my Indigenous identity, coming from a mixed-heritage background, I always felt something was missing. I grew up privileged in Barrhaven, ON, with not a lot of spiritual or cultural depth. My Métis identity and Anishinaabe spirituality has been something I’ve been exploring for many years now and thanks to the support from my Métis and Indigenous community, I finally feel like I belong.
"I’ve also felt in between the stereotypes of certain communities. At times when I was growing up, I felt alone and disconnected, like I did not truly fit in anywhere. This feeling can still creep up but writing this song and sharing my experience is incredibly healing. As an artist, I always truly hope I can help people feel less alone with my message and my story."
Of note is the fact that the song is co-written with Canadian country artist Jason Blaine. The empowering message ("Don't have to change for no-one else') is delivered effectively via Rheaume's warm and expressive vocals, the crisp production of Colin Cripps (Blue Rodeo, Crash Vegas), and fluent musicianship of an ace supporting cast. A well-choreographed video clip also complements it.
After showcasing at Folk Alliance in Montreal on Feb. 15, Rheaume launches her new album with shows in her former hometown of Ottawa (NAC on Feb. 16), and at Toronto's Cadillac Lounge on Feb. 21, followed by shows in Kingston, Peterborough, and Lavigne. Rheaume has another tour of Europe lined up for the spring. Dates here
Publicity: Beth Cavanagh, What's The Story