Adrian Sutherland – Attawapiskat First Nation ON (lead vocals, guitars, keys)
Stan Louttit – Moose Cree First Nation ON (bass, vocals)
Zach Tomatuk – Moose Cree First Nation ON (guitar, vocals)
Charnelle Menow – Norway House Cree Nation MB (drums, vocals)
They came together by chance. They stayed together for a shot. When Adrian Sutherland from the isolated Cree community of Attawapiskat was offered opening spot for Trooper in Timmins in 2011, he reeled in three other musicians from the James Bay to form Midnight Shine. His intention was to make the most of a one-off performance. Eight years, three albums, seven Indigenous Music Countdown Top 10 radio singles, and 300+ media stories later… you could say he has.
Turning heads with a sound that seamlessly mixes roots, classic and modern rock with touches of Mushkegowuk Cree, Midnight Shine has been lighting up the music world all the way from Canada’s Far North. Crafting a musical soundscape giving a glimpse into their remote landscape, they continue to push musical boundaries and boldly take new strides, while staying true to who they are and where they come from.
Adrian Sutherland and Midnight Shine would like to recognize Canada Council for the Arts, Air Creebec, FACTOR, and Ontario Arts Council.
Midnight Shine’s third album High Road was released in 2018 with two producers on board: John-Angus MacDonald (The Trews) recorded seven songs at Jukasa Studios in Ohsweken, Ontario, and Tim Vesely (Rheostatics) recorded two tracks at The Woodshed in Toronto (Blue Rodeo’s studio).
Something new for Midnight Shine is adding touches of cultural embellishment to their music, with hand-drumming, occasional Cree lyrics, and a little creatively-placed pow wow. Lead single on High Road is an exceptional cover of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold, bringing a
timely new sound to a timeless classic.
The Heart of Gold music video received 3k views on its first day of release, 30k the first two weeks, and media coverage from coast to coast. It’s been called “joyful, beautiful, important, and truly Canadian” by music lovers around the world, and is getting spins on radio stations across North America, Germany, and Australia. The video has so far received over 207k views on YouTube, and counting.
Debut video I Need Angels draws attention to the suicide crisis in Indigenous communities. “There are a lot of people struggling in Canada’s far North. Being isolated can be tough, and I know a lot of people who suffer from depression,” says Midnight Shine’s frontman Adrian Sutherland. “I Need Angels is about that inner struggle to keep positive and not give up, and to hang on to hope and faith despite the darkness.” Shot in Attawapiskat, the stunningly cinematic video has been labelled “passionate and powerful” and is resonating widely, with more than 81k views on YouTube.
In addition to making contemporary music, Adrian is a traditional knowledge keeper of the Mushkegowuk Cree of the James Bay. He speaks his language, participates in seasonal harvests, takes part in and often leads ceremonies, and is a genuine example of someone who lives authentically. He is a father of four, grandfather of three, hard-working husband, respected leader, and tireless advocate, proud of who he is and where he comes from. Adrian is a real-life inspiration to Canadians everywhere, and a positive role model who brings hope to people in places where hope can be hard to find.
Midnight Shine’s presence at 2016 CMW sparked a massive media buzz netting Toronto Star’s front page, CBC’s The National, CTV’s Canada AM, Canadian Press, Daily Vice, National Post, Metro Canada, Hamilton Spectator, Winnipeg Free Press, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun, and more. Media from Victoria to Charlottetown picked up their story, quite possibly making Midnight Shine the first ever indie band to garner nationwide media attention before even setting foot on tour…
Four tracks (Velocity, Sister Love, In the Midst, Northern Man) reached the top of the Indigenous Music Countdown (IMC), which airs on SiriusXM and radio stations across Canada. Debut single Since You Been Gone climbed to #2, Heart of Gold (Cover) hit #3, while Over You peaked at #9.
A self-taught hockey player, Adrian was thrilled to play his favourite game alongside other hockey-playing musicians and former NHL greats in the JUNO Cup in Ottawa (2017), Vancouver (2018) and London (2019).