Born in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, the acclaimed Inuk singer-songwriter had been living in Winnipeg at the time of her death. She got her start playing the guitar at age 11 and when she was 15, started her own band. In 2013, Fraser released her Inuktitut cover of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” on YouTube, which quickly went viral online, and through which she developed a dedicated following of fans.
Fraser’s debut album, Isuma, was released in 2014, which she followed up with 2017’s Sedna. In 2018, her sophomore album was nominated for Best Indigenous Music Album at the Juno Awards, which honors Canadian music artists.
In 2019, Fraser was given the honor receiving the Indspire Award, which recognizes First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people who demonstrate outstanding achievement. After receiving the award on December 17, instead of sharing the exciting news with a focus on herself, she directed the center of attention toward her friend James Lavallée.
Fraser shared a photo of her and Lavallée on Instagram with the caption, “It was great catching up my good friend @jameslavallee who, like me, won a 2019 Indspire Award as a Metis Youth Recipient for his work as a professional athlete kayaker. James is a great Indigenous man who wants to help other Metis/First Nations/Inuit people connect to their culture through kayaking/canoeing! Super happy to connect again after representing Indigenous people together at the UN in New York this past year! much love my friend!”
Fraser is remembered not only for her music, but her work as an activist for Indigenous Youth.
Fraser Released Her Latest Single ‘Get It’ On December 13
Fraser was still making music leading up to the final days before her death. On Friday the 13th, she dropped the electro-pop “Got It,” which is available on all streaming platforms. She was in the midst of working on her third album entitled “Decolonize.”
Her final Instagram post was published on December 12. She captioned a professional photo of herself with the lyrics of Kelis’s “Milkshake.” The cause of her death has not yet been released.
A GoFundMe Account Was Set Up To Help Fraser’s Three Sisters Make Funeral Arrangements
TJ Lightfoot, a friend of the family, set up Fraser’s GoFundMe to raise money for Fraser’s funeral.
By December 27, the account has already raised more than its goal of $30K. Lightfoot wrote the following message on Fraser’s fundraising page: “We are so saddened by the passing of Kelly Fraser. This is a fundraiser on behalf of Jessie, Max and Rachel, sisters of Kelly Fraser (With their permission). As you might know there are many hidden costs associated with the passing of a loved one. The sisters are gathering in Winnipeg and will need help over the next weeks to come.”
“We anticipate they will need help with food, transportation, basic needs, and other costs associated with a memorial service, etc. We put $5,000 as a starter but please anything you could donate to Kelly’s sisters would be helpful.”