Toronto Arts Foundation Celebrates Newcomer Artists – Meet Saye Sky

Toronto Arts Foundation was.

Toronto Arts Foundation was pleased to partner with TELUS on the
TELUS Newcomer Artist Award, a $10,000 Vision Award of Toronto Arts Foundation. Administered by the Neighbourhood Arts Network, and sponsored by TELUS, this award celebrated a newcomer artist in the City of Toronto, with an outstanding body of work, making a contribution in their community. Through its research, Toronto Arts Foundation identified a great need to support newcomer artists in Toronto, and the TELUS Newcomer Artist award was an exceptional way to shine a spotlight on their artistic achievements.[briefbreak]

This year’s inaugural winner was Saye Sky, a spoken word artist and LGBTQ rights activist.

Toronto Arts Foundation had the chance to sit down with Saye to talk about what it means to be a newcomer artist in Toronto.

Why are you passionate about the work that you do?

I believe in change, freedom, equality and the power of art. Injustice motivates me. Witnessing child labour, violence against women and the LGBTQ community encourages me to write music and rap about all these different issues we humans have, and I think through music and spoken word I can actually make a change. People are so into music, they might not want to read an article about human rights issues but they will listen to 3 minutes of music. Of course you should sound good to have an audience but I believe whatever comes from the heart will settle in other people’s hearts as well.

What is one thing people we would be surprised to know about you?

I’m not afraid of death but I’m afraid of aging, and I wrote my first poem when I was seven years old!

What inspires you about the City of Toronto?

Toronto is a multicultural and diverse city. Seeing all these differences and getting to know a bit of each culture inspires me the most. Watching local artists finding their own way through is also really inspiring. I think everyone has an opportunity to grow and shine if they want to, this is something we don’t have in Iran because of the government… it really warms my heart.

What are your upcoming projects?

Well, I’m right now working on my first album and I want to collaborate with other Toronto artists. It’s very exciting, I know! I also have some great ideas for my first music video… but as you know money is always an issue, especially for young newcomer artists like myself.

What impact will this award have on your artistic practice?

I feel that this award will change my life and I’m not even joking. I know I’m capable of doing a lot and this award will take me so far because I can easily release my first album which so many people have been waiting for. I can bring quality to my work with this award, and it can be my gate to a great artistic future. It can open people’s minds. I can go on tour and perform for people who are seeking freedom. Honestly, I feel that this award will take my career to a whole other level.

A Vision Award Partnership

To learn more about the TELUS Newcomer Artist Award and its 2013 Finalists, please visit the Neighbourhood Arts Network at

Help Toronto Arts Foundation turn up the spotlight on more incredible artists like Saye Sky. Become a Friend of the Foundation today (Canada Helps).

For more information on Saye Sky please visit her Facebook Fan Page (

All photos taken by Angie Aranda.

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