Singer-songwriter Inez is at a bit of a crossroads.
Her demanding music career as one of the top aboriginal artists in Canada, and her job as a busy community health nurse for Sto:lo Nation are increasingly vying for her attention.
“I really don’t know how much longer I can juggle two careers,” she says. “Both are very demanding of my time and concentration. Neither areas deserve any less attention than the other.”
The 27-year-old powerhouse is a role model for youth and passionate about inspiring them as a nurse, recording artist, producer, actress, and motivational speaker.
Her traditional Sto:lo, Ojibway and Métis roots come through, and are woven in alongside her love of hip hop and R&B in her music.
After dropping her solo album Singsoulgirl, she took home best new artist, best pop album and single of the year for the tune Breathe featuring Magic Touch, at the 2009 Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards in Winnipeg. She was also nominated for a Juno and a Western Canadian Music Award.
She’s written and recorded the first few tracks for the next album.
“I’m getting really excited about this project,” she says. “It will explore themes of renewal and new energy.
“A lot has changed since my last album: I’ve had a baby, toured like crazy and I’ve learned a lot about myself and my music.
“I’m really looking forward to presenting the next album to my fans.”
Her proudest career moment was coming home and hosting a performance for her home community after performing and winning at the Aboriginal People’s Choice awards in 2009.
“I felt so much support when I saw everyone arriving at the hall early to make sure they got good seats for the show.”
She was named 2008 National Aboriginal Role Model by the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) in Ottawa for her contributions to the community.
How about her political aspirations. Her father Mark, former Skowkale chief, and her husband Otis Jasper is chief of Soowahlie First Nation.
“I used to have political aspirations,” she admits. “I used to plan to run for chief in my community and work towards positive change.
“I’ll leave that to the professionals, like my husband. I see now that my calling is in a different area.”
People always ask who her role models are or what helped her on the road to success.
“Really, it was so many things but I have to give a lot of credit to my family.
“My family is hardworking and resilient with traditional family values. People in my community provide positive affirmations for me all the time.
“I want to pay it forward through my music.”