Kelly Fraser collaborated with her friend Martha Kyak in 2013 to translate Rihannas Diamond into their Inuit language Inuktitut. The song went viral posting hundreds of thousands of views.
Six years later, and while she had been working on her third musical album, Kelly Fraser has died at the age of 26.
A statement Monday by Fraser’s family released in a tweet from the CBC said the following:
"It is with deepest regret that we share the news that Kelly Fraser died by suicide on the 24th of December in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Kelly suffered from PTSD for many years as a result of childhood traumas, racism, and persistent cyber-bullying. She was actively seeking help and spoke openly about her personal challenges online and through her journey. Kelly was an incredibly kind person who gave so much of herself to help others. She was fiercely open with her fans in the hopes that sharing her struggles might help them know they were not alone. Kelly fought so hard to be well. We know that she would want us all to continue to do our very best to take care of ourselves.”
Please respect our privacy at this time as no further details about the circumstances of her death will be provided. Kelly has left behind many family throughout the North, and her special family Avia Pipaluk and Patricia Bell in Ottawa. We are still in complete shock and our hearts bleed for our sister. Let us celebrate Kelly's generosity, honesty, passion, and love of life," said the statement.
Fraser, a singer and songwriter from Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, and who was living in Winnipeg at the time of her death, was known for her accomplishments as a Juno-nominated musical artist and her advocacy for indigenous youth including increasing awareness of residential schools.
In addition to receiving a Juno nomination for her sophomore album Sedna in 2017, she had also released her first album Isuma in 2014 and had received a 2019 Indspire Award, an award that recognizes achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people who demonstrate remarkable achievements in their communities and Canada.
Before her death, she had been working on her third album which was titled Decolonize. She had been raising money with a Kickstarter fundraiser for her album.
She recently tweeted, “I am Kelly Fraser, an Inuk pop singer from Sanikiluaq, Nunavut and I am posting a daily reminder to please donate to my Kickstarter for my next album #Decolonize, I believe it’s important to share the story of Indigenous people through music with pop/EDM/rock in English/Inuktitut.”
In the few days since her passing, Fraser’s video titled Diamonds In Inuktitut Taimantitut directly translated from Rihanna’s song Diamonds, received several hundred thousand more views including an approximate 200,000 views in less than 48 hours.
Diamonds In Inuktitut Taimantitut - By Kelly Fraser
In addition to the family statement on December 30 from the immediate family of Kelly Amaujaq Fraser to include her Mother Theresa Angoo, and siblings Mellow, Maxine, Jessie, Rachel, Christopher and Oliver, they also released information for anyone who might need help in a time of struggle to include helplines and suicide counseling.
From the family statement:
If you are struggling, please feel free to call the Kamatsiaqtut Help Line: (867) 979-3333 or (800) 265-3333 Available 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. It is anonymous and confidential.
Contact your local clinic to arrange appointments.
Kids Help Phone (E/F) (24/7/365)
Phone counseling: 1-800-668-6868
Text TALK to 686868 Live chat (currently 24/7)
(Press the "chat" button at the bottom of the screen)
The family has also created a gofundme to support the family. Throat singer Tanya Tagaq has shared it on Twitter in support of Fraser.
Memorials will be held in memory of Kelly Amaujaq Fraser in both Winnipeg and Iqaluit, the family says there will be details to follow.