Kinnie Starr is a genre-defying, Calgary born and raised, mixed-blood European/Mohawk artist blazing an influential trail. Self-trained, she moves from hip-hop to folk, to spoken word to EDM with eclectic grace. Her music – intuitive, fearless and politically charged – often delves into the complexities of race, family, gender and life.
Starr quickly recognized the lack of female representation in the freestyle rap scene of the mid-nineties and began to spit/sing rhymes to test her courage. An impromptu open-mic performance in a New York City club sparked her career, and her debut album Tidy (1996) soon followed, famously leading to a bidding war in which Kinnie signed to major label Island/Def Jam in 1997.
Her underground classic “Red%X” (2000) innovatively mixes powwow with hip-hop/EDM, while she has had widespread exposure on the Lilith Fair and Scrappy Bitch tours, and on soundtracks for TV series The L Word and the movie Thirteen. In 2011 Kinnie was recognized as a Pioneer in Canadian Hip Hop Culture by the ManifesTO festival.
Known for tackling social injustices, Kinnie released the documentary, Play Your Gender, in 2016, exposing persistent gender gaps within the music industry. She continues boundary pushing to this day.
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Speak Up! is curated by David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation, MB), Indigenous programming consultant.