For Indigenous songwriter Francis Baptiste 2022 wrought job terminations, arrest warrants, car crashes, and finally an eviction notice.
“It occurred to me while re-writing my bio,” Baptiste said in a text conversation with his (much) better half, “that my life is trending in the wrong direction.”
Amongst the chaos, however, Baptiste released his debut album, Sneqsilx (Family), an album that features songs sung in his native language Nsyilxcən [nah-silk-sen], the endangered language of the Syilx [see-ilks] people. The 10-song album was his effort to preserve and connect with his heritage. The chance to reconnect with his roots helped him through the turbulent times.
Following the release, Baptiste got to play the best gigs of his life, performing for Talking Stick Festival, Vancouver Jazz Fest, Music Waste Festival, and the PNE. Singles from Sneqsilx (Family) were played on CBC Radio, SiriusXM, and college radio stations across the country. The album received press in Exclaim Magazine, the Vancouver Sun, Discorder Magazine, the Times Chonicle, and several music blogs.
With a renewed focus on sobriety in 2023, Baptiste continues to work on the next album, due out late-Spring 2023. The new work continues to feature songs in the endangered language of Nsyilxcen. It also continues to explore themes of addiction and Indigenous identity in the face of estrangement and assimilation.