RIP Shane Yellowbird

Canadian country singer & singer-songwriter Shane Yellowbird has passed away at the age of 42 on April 25th. A Cree, in 2007, he was named the Aboriginal Entertainer of the Year at the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards, Chevy Trucks’ Rising Star of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards and his song “Pickup Truck” was one of the year’s ten most played country songs. The Calgary based singer suffered from epilepsy and had occasional seizures.

While his career was shorter than some, he accomplished more than many could hope to. It started when a speech therapist suggested he start singing to help control a stutter. His impressive voice began winning competitions, then landing him gigs on bar stages where his manager Louis O’Reilly first saw him. he released his debut album titled Life Is Calling My Name. The album includes the singles “Beautiful Concept,” “They’re All About You,” “Pickup Truck” and “I Remember the Music.” In November 2006, Yellowbird won three awards at the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards ceremony, including Best New Artist, Single of the Year (“Beautiful Concept”) and Best Video (“Beautiful Concept”).

Yellowbird opened the 2007 Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards, starring with Lorne Cardinal and Gabrielle Miller of Corner Gas. Later that evening, he was named the Aboriginal Entertainer of the Year. He also won awards for Best Country CD (Life Is Calling My Name) and Best Music Video (“Pickup Truck”). Yellowbird later won three trophies at the 2007 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, including Best Male Artist, Best Country Album and Best Album of the Year. He was also nominated for the 2008 Juno Award for Country Recording of the Year. Yellowbird’s second album, It’s About Time was released on November 17, 2009, featuring the single, “Bare Feet on the Blacktop”. In the United States, the video received a nomination from the Native American Music Association. Yellowbird won two Native American Music Awards for Best Country Recording for “Life Is Calling My Name” in 2011 and won Best Country Recording for “It’s About Time” in 2012.

At the time of his death, Yellowbird was in a domestic partnership and the couple announced their engagement hours before his death was announced. He had four children. He suffered from epilepsy and had occasional seizures. Tributes to the 42-year-old, who died Monday night after a battle with epilepsy, have been pouring in from every corner of the entertainment world. Aaron Goodvin, Craig Moritz, Jason Benoit and Aaron Pritchett are just a few who’ve been filling social media feeds with touching and colourful stories of Shane.

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