Hi, my name is Adrian Starblanket, I am 26 years old from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and a First Nation from Ahatahkakoop Band. I grew up in the Foster Care System for the first 18 years of my life, I've been through 15-20 homes, some I can't remember but were brought to my attention. I've lost my first remembered Foster Mom in 1995 and met my biological sister in 1995 in foster care and lost my biological father in 1996. My sister and I were nearly adopted in 1998 by a family from England But unfortunate circumstances happened and we were separated from that home. In 2011 finding out, everything that happened was based on false rumors. Was moved into a hard religion home from 1999-2001 before getting separated from my biological sister for 13+ years, reuniting on Facebook in 2011. A year later in 2002 our biological mother passed away, We were just beginning to meet her through visits in the 90's.
That same year I was introduced to a company called SYICCN (Saskatchewan Youth in Care and Custody Network.) where I've helped create and publish my first Children's Book I 2004, before I started high school at Wesmor Community High School and in 2005 was unexpectedly was selected to attend Secretary Generals study on Violence against Children conference where I gave my first public performance at 17 years old in Toronto. Behind the scenes of everything going was depression and constant bullying, homophobia from some teachers and transforming into my own self by neglect from previous foster parents. In 2006 it was my breakthrough year from Graduating from high school and Foster Care, having no idea where life is about to take me, but knew I was by myself.
2007 was the year I began my unexpected journey, which I called: “Across Canada”, after leaving foster care and graduating, I took a bus from hometown to Edmonton where I discovered more of myself in being Gay at 19 with freedom in a new city and province with new friends. Which lasted shortly as I arrived back into my hometown in just to catch a greyhound to Vancouver where I discovered Covenant House Shelter only lasting 2 weeks then went back to Saskatchewan to catch a bus to Portage La-Prairie, Manitoba and literally walked from there to Winnipeg found half used plane ticket from 2005 still available and flew to Toronto in 2008 residing in Covenant House for 6 months, growing into my passion with music, getting use to shelters and meeting people. Getting onto welfare and saving one check, I took a train in the winter back to Saskatchewan where I stayed from Prince Albert to Saskatoon to Ahatahkakoop reuniting with biological family on my mother's side since foster care in 1990's. Still very lost, being too afraid to come out to family, understanding pieces of past while trying to live in the present. I was broken. So again, I saved a little bit of money from various jobs from McDonald's to Giant Tiger and took a 9pm us to Vancouver, arriving there the next day with that stay not knowing I was going to take my first ferry (which reminded me of Titanic) to Tofino, British Columbia on Vancouver Island where I began to inspire more about my career into Music.
On August 15th 2009 one of my friends who was working on a soundtrack called The Colt Girls was looking for Music, as she requested a song. I've never done any music of my own in my whole life and it was up to me to create one if I wanted to be on the soundtrack. I knew I had it within me, as by then I've been practicing singing out loud in public since my mom passed in 2002, if not years before. So with that said, I picked up the acoustic guitar in the shelter, locked myself in a room and strummed, hummed and written my 1st song: “Splashin' Skies” on August 17th 2009. Being placed on my first soundtrack with my first song, Inspired that night more songs which one very vividly came to me that night in a dream called: “Some Change”, I excited awoke at 3:am on August 18th 2009 writing and creating my 1st Folk-Inspired album: “Imperfect” set to released on October 21st 2010.
Being a homeless youth of 4 years by then I was connected to a free recording studio for Homeless Youth to create my 1st album where I was connected to “Yvette Narlock” from 90's indie-rock band “Mollies Revenge” where we publicly collaborated with 2 more songs: “Some Change” and “Beauty inBetween” on my 1st album. Blessed to have a photographer for photo-shoot and support from staff and fellow musician’s, I worked night and day until October 21st 2010 on the album in between being connected to create my first Short-Film: “Simple Man” and being placed on 3rd soundtrack by then.
Thinking, I was done with music by then more songs came to mind as I was reflecting on the Trans-Canadian Highway I traveled for 3 years which put me back into the studio to create my 2nd studio album which has a 70's rock feel inspired by: Amy Jo Johnson (Pink Power Ranger, Susie Q or Flashpoint)
In between writing, composing, recording and playing guitar on the album, I was inspired to begin thinking of more education regarding University, so I applied for University of Saskatchewan and continued with creating 2nd album as well as collaborating on another Short-Film with Vancouver Foundation Youth Philanthropy Council.
To my surprise, as I was moved from the shelter to an SRO (Single Room Occupancy) funded by welfare and was wrapping up my 2nd album to release on April 23rd 2011 when I got accepted into University for Fall 2011. With moving back to Saskatchewan after releasing my album, I began the process filming Music Video's for songs in summer 2011 which lead me to begin University in August 2011.
Juggling full-time University more songs kept on coming which inspired 2 demo albums for 2012 “This Fire” which began in summer 2011, completed by April 2012 and “Heart to Yours” which was created during University, created by August 2012 thus in resulting leaving University after losing my Auntie and 2 cousins in one week during finals in 2011. Being freshly reunited with my Auntie as she graciously used her house for home visits with Mom in the 90's. My focus was on music only to express everything I've held inside. Amazingly that week in April 2012, I was to leave my apartment, one of my friends was on her way to pick me up from 1 hr away to have her car break down, so I made my way a high school where we were to attend to watch various presentations, that is where I met my first boss into my first employment as a HIV Youth Ambassador back in my hometown, which lasted 2 weeks just to be recommended to be a Youth Worker in a highly respected company.
I was a Youth Worker during Summer 2012 and enjoying working in a field that I've lived in as a youth but to live the other side was interesting with 20 years experience, to have my voice heard and to be given and amazing opportunity and chance to teach, give and learn. This is where I learned the difference from working from Experience, being in Foster Care for 18 years and teaching what worked and hasn't to working in my passion. Doing what I love doing and teaching a wider range and myself through pure faith.
I was mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually exhausted by the end of 2012 with all that transition and creating 2 demo albums fueled my inner fire.
I was back to where I began in 2006, took my one and only paycheck and took a bus back to Vancouver to create 2 more studio albums. Being reborn christian, accepting myself as Gay/2Spirit, Knowing my Passion and going at it full force, I truly found my Happiness within, Inner Peace etc, etc. which I live daily.
“Learning to Fly” was my 3rd studio album which was in process from transition back to Vancouver, staying with Friends which unfortunately ended suddenly which forced me back into shelters, where I stayed in 2010. and discovering a new shelter where I resided for 11 months and 3 days. But everyday building in Spiritually, learning more about myself and people in general, Learning to Forgive Myself, Past, People and continue everyday though faith feeling, knowing and believing I am on my way. 2013 is not only the year of spiritually awakening but once I've released my 3rd album in January , I went on to perform with talented Rosanne Supernault (Maina, Blackstone) in April 2013 in my first Theater Project o Exploring Residential School History and Present at the Aboriginal Friendship Center. Also being connected to a casting company for Extra's in Movies being caste in Godzilla and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Leading to my 4th and final album creation: “This Fire 2.0” which was released on April 28th 2014. This album is a mixture of past demo's made into studio versions as well as new songs with a retro to modern twist like, Christina Aguilera in “Back to Basics” with Broadway clips inspired by Judy Garland. Originally I wanted to only make this style of album and that was it when I began this journey, but I also knew I had to majorly work on my character, forgive my past , myself and learn to love myself with confidence to have it reflect in my vocals and talent.
The beginning of 2014 was a little rough, as it began with having tonsillitis from over practicing on vocals and stress from learning to love people again without worrying and stress. Till this day, it's a lot easier but like a normal human being I still sometimes fall. Then I released by very bold, brave and proud 4th and final album. Final in being, I was no longer a Youth so that free studio was unavailable and from then on I need to use money to carry on. After healing from tonsillitis from February to March 2014,
I've got laryngitis. Because as a Taurus I tend to stop listening to my own body and jump right back into action as if nothing happened. So again, taking it slow for another month, coming to conclusion that I just worked 24/7 for the past 5 years creating 4 studio albums, and 2 demo albums, my body was naturally shutting down. It was when I found myself beginning to relax, I got a note with a bus ticket at the shelter I was staying at stating, I got my own temporary apartment while awaiting for new SRO (Single Room Occupancy) to open in Vancouver. Which is where I currently reside.
I've been here for around two months and learned a lot more spiritually, with my cousin whom I reunited in 2011 at my aunties funeral had unexpectedly passed, I learned to be more happy. Because now I know it's all in the mindset, that no matter what, death doesn't have to be so sad anymore, They are all in a happier place, creating a awesome place for myself, when it's my time. I've also learned since July 4th 2013, upon meeting this guy at the shelter, how to properly love people and be loved by people. True Love. I believe my life has turned 360 degrees around regarding my own character, learning to live inside out in pure love and trusting with knowing everything is alright, That no matter what happens in life, I am loved. And this is just the beginning...
Interview with Adrian Starblanket
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the Foster Care System for 18 years, around various small towns, cities in Saskatchewan.
What were some of the challenges you faced growing up?
Some of the challenges I faced growing up was: Self-Love, Acceptance, Bullying, Homophobia, Racism, lack of Faith, etc, etc.
What is your happiest childhood memory?
My happiest childhood memory, would be where I was living with my biological sister in a home that was going through the process of adoption. But, then the adoption was spoiled by false rumors and 5 years later my sister and I were separated.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was Young, instantly around 2 years, I knew I was here to be an entertainer, whether it be in singing, acting or anything artistic with clothing, designs etc.
When did you start thinking about attending post-secondary? If you have not tell us about your path of acquiring knowledge that has helped you to this point
I've always thought about post secondary since leaving high school in 2006, but never seriously put it to action until 2011, thinking to define more of what I want to achieve in my life.
What were some of the reasons you decided to further your education?
To be honest, just to say I went to University for Experience...to try it out for once year and take it from there. By then I already had 2 albums and was on 4 soundtracks. The only class I succeed in was Drama in reflecting my acting skills, as then life took over and I found myself back to where I began but with more confidence.
Write a brief timeline of your schooling experience.
I steadily achieved graduating from grade 12 from Wesmor commuity high school with numerous awards one being General Proficiency and went onto one year of University with a Spiritually Award.
Share your experience of finding funding.
Back I 2008, when I decided to head back to the reserve I remember visiting when I was a child, I walked into the office and required what is needed to get into university and whom is accepted? It was awkward being extremely new, from Foster Care to asking the band for assistance, thinking I'd be turned down but also not knowing what I was asking for what I wanted. I was disappointed a little with lack of time management with staff and communication. But eventually it all worked out.
Share a time when you wanted to quit.
When it was during finals in university and my biological auntie whom I just visited 5 months prior unexpectedly passed away and within the same week 2 more cousins passed. That caused a lot of stress in that time and can honestly say, I purposely accepted low marks in some classes and dropped some just to spend time with family.
Share your proudest moment.
My proudest moment was in 2012, when I left University and just resigned from being a Youth Worker self discovering difference between Experience and Passion towards career...Are you going to live your life following what other people see and recommend you are good at, or are you going to life your life with whom you are and knowing what you love?
Where are you currently in respect to your education? Do you think you are finished? Or do you wish to go further?
I have completed one year of university, since leaving 2 years ago, I often think about it but know within myself, I've gotten a lot farther in my career with my character and whom I am with Faith more than what people can show or teach me.
What did you do after you graduated?
After I graduated high school, I aimlessly walked around Canada for 3 years, not knowing how to hitchhike until I arrived in Vancouver. But within, staying true to myself and creating first 2 albums. After I left university I've gotten 2 employment opportunities regardless my experience, But, now live daily in faith and pure love with what I am happy to share knowing what I am here for.
How did you find your current work position?
I've always had it within, I just needed to steadily practice (IE: singing for 12+ years), To build up in major faith for confidence that I can do it, to stop worrying & stressing and just do it. Since arriving to follow passion I Vancouver o Sept 8th 2012, 5 months later a brand new company for actors have opened I the area I was living in, which gave me the opportunity to work I films like: Godzilla and Fifty Shades of Grey.
What has been your most important lesson in transitioning to the work force?
Put GOD First, for it doesn't matter what people say, think or do around you. Always know you are Loved and have the confidence within to do whatever you Love doing I life to create that happiness that people tend to seek.
What advice do you have to offer other Indigenous students?
Never give up on yourself or your dreams, they are the keys telling you something. Know you are Loved always and chase after what you love with everything you got, the you discover life will open a lot of doors in your favor.
What are your goals for the future?
To keep on what I've been doing all along, because I just know, this is what I am created for.