Ferron (Métis, born Debbie Foisy) is an acclaimed folk singer-songwriter and poet who is recognized as one of Canada’s most prolific folk musicians and one of the most influential artists to rise out of the women’s music movement. Ferron started playing guitar at age 11 and left her Richmond, BC home at 15, making her professional debut in 1975 almost a decade later.
She subsequently established her own record label and released her self-titled debut album in 1977. An outspoken advocate for social justice issues, her 1980 song “Testimony” became an unofficial anthem for the post-folk women’s music movement, a queer, feminist-led wave, and brought about acclaimed collaborations with then up-and-coming artists Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls, and Tori Amos. Hailed as a “culture hero” by Rolling Stone magazine, in 1995 Ferron was nominated for a JUNO Award, and an OUTmusic Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Gay & Lesbian American Music Awards followed in 1996. Fittingly, her work is heavily featured in the 2002 documentary on women’s music, Radical Harmonies. In 2004 Ferron returned to Canada from the U.S. to the very island, Saturna, B.C., where she wrote some of her earliest songs, to record her Turning Into Beautiful album. Three more albums have followed to date, while Ferron continues to tour, and teach master classes in writing, mentoring aspiring songwriters and musicians. With a career spanning almost 50 years, Ferron strongly believes that music is a revolutionary act that keeps an artist soul alive.
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Speak Up! is curated by David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation, MB), Indigenous programming consultant.