Nunavut-based musician and Inuktitut-language TV host Rita Claire Mike-Murphy is being recognized for her work by the Youth Media Alliance.
She recently won the group’s Emerging Talent Award which aims to improve the quality of screen-based media and content for Canadian youth.
Mike-Murphy, who also goes by her musician name Riit, is the host of an Inuktitut and English-language children’s program called Anaana’s Tent. It’s an educational show aimed at preschoolers that teaches Inuit culture and language through puppets, music, and animation.
The show premiered on APTN last year.
“It was an awesome feeling because when I heard this news, we were actually filming season two of Anaana’s Tent,” said Mike-Murphy.
“I was exhausted and tired, having to memorize lines for seven hours a day,” she said. “Hearing that, it helped me re-boost and got me motivated to keep rolling through.”
Mike-Murphy said she never had experience being on TV before starting with the show, and says she learned a lot about her language.
“Everywhere I go, and whenever I see Inuktitut being misspelled in syllabics, I notice them right away,” she said, laughing. “I’ve learned a lot for sure.”
Mike-Murphy said she’s passionate about her work, and hopes to change how southern Canadians view and think about Inuit culture through her music.
First single released
Mike-Murphy said getting into music and television wasn’t something she was planning.
Graduating from school, she said she didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do.
“I knew for sure I didn’t want to start a career behind a computer,” she said. “These opportunities just came to me and I just made sure to take advantage of them.”
Mike-Murphy also recently released her first single called Qaumajuapik, which means “you are shining” in Inuktitut.
Her inspiration? It came after going through what she calls a “pretty rough breakup.”
“This song is a love song,” she said. “I was pretty down in the dumpster.”
She said she later met someone who helped her stand up again.
“[To] the person who gets you out of that dumpster … it means you are shining and I won’t lose you.”
Her full debut electropop album will likely come out in the fall, she said.
Written based on an interview by Lawrence Nayally, produced by Emily Blake
Related stories from around the North:
Norway: Norway sends song with Sami joik to Eurovision Song Contest, The Independent Barents Observer
United States: Indian Agent, the Alaska band reclaiming Indigenous voices, Alaska Dispatch News