Toronto’s most inspiring women of 2021: Tanya Tagaq

Our annual showcase of the city’s most inspiring women who have led by example, achieved against all odds and made this city and this year special.

The Artist

As one of the most famous Inuk throat singers in Canada (and across the world), Tanya Tagaq has already made her mark as a member of the Order of Canada, Polaris Music Prize and JUNO Award winner and author of the award-winning Split Tooth. This year, she’s set the tone for the release of her highly-awaited new album with her single and video for Tongues, a song that addresses colonialism through biting lyrics and visual symbolism.

By Chelsea McMullan | Filmmaker

I have no idea where to start in describing how inspiring Tanya Tagaq is as a person, so I’ll just start by saying how metal she is. Tanya is a pure face-melting stage destroyer, an unstoppable force of sonic combustion. I could spend this entire space trying to describe how many ways her fearless performances can strike you like a bolt of lightning to the soul.

But there are so many facets of her that I am just constantly inspired by. She is a multi-hyphenated talent who excels at absolutely everything she does. We can talk about Tanya the unparalleled musical talent, the bold voice speaking truth to power, the painter, the poet and philosopher or how fiercely she loves her family and how relentlessly she fights injustice. I am just astounded by her. Her creative energy blazes like a million-watt spotlight visible from space.

I feel incredibly lucky to have her as a friend because she loves with that same intensity. She wants to know how you’re doing at the very heart of your being and will accept no polite deflection. She teases me endlessly but knows exactly how much I can take. Nobody can be more tender.

The only way I can describe it is that life feels more exciting and joyous whenever she’s around. Tanya makes you feel like you can reach up and graze the cosmos with your fingertips.

See our full list of Toronto’s most inspiring women of 2021 here. 

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