Up Where She Belongs: Buffy Sainte-Marie Making First Album in 6 Years
Canadian-born Cree singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie is a living legend, famous for such Indigenous anthems as "Universal Soldier" and "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." But few know that Sainte-Marie led the earliest charge into electronic music at the same time she was being celebrated worldwide as a "folk" artist. She's now preparing to make her first album since the award-winning 2008 relase Running For the Drum. Speaking from her current home in Hawaii, Sainte-Marie gave ICTMN the lowdown on the directon she'll be heading with her new music. This is the second of a three-part series; for the first, which focused on her thoughts about the environment, see Buffy Sainte-Marie on Tar Sands: "You've Got to Take This Seriously".
Do you know when your new album is due to come out? Is there a title?
We haven't decided. I just spent three weeks out on the road in Nashville, Toronto and L.A. auditioning producers, so I have not yet made my choices. I don't know if I'll work with several producers or just one. But I'm sure excited about the music. We're choosing from about 30 different songs. It's going to be fun. It'll be done when it's done!
Your last album, of course, got a Juno as well as an Aboriginal People's Choice Award (and around that time you were inducted into the Canadian Country Music Association Hall of Fame) -- in many ways, it was a departure from your other work in the immediacy of it.
You think so? The songs, as always, were very diverse. I wasn't worried about trying to make them all the same. Some of those songs I had in the can for a long time, and some were things I'd written over the years. I'd take something I'd written in my notebook in 1970 and I'll add a second verse in 1980 and I'll finish it last week. That's always how it is for me – I have a kind of helicopter vision of life itself. I don't think about calendars, deadlines or styles. I just play and sing whatever I dream up. Writing for me is just really, really natural. It's the same as it was when I was a little kid. I hope I'm getting better though!
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