About Twin Flames

Since Twin Flames began making music together in 2014, they’ve released four full-length albums and amassed an impressive collection of 44 music awards and nominations. Among them, four Canadian Folk Music Awards, three Native American Music Awards, and the 2022 Capital Music Award (Group of the Year).

Twin Flames were also selected as artist-in-residence for the 2019 Folk Alliance International conference and partnered with UNESCO to write ‘Human,’ the official song to celebrate the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages and a track that reached #1 on Indigenous music countdown.

Twin Flames have toured extensively; playing over 2,500 shows in Canada, Greenland, the United States, Australia, France, and the Cayman Islands, while also spending substantial amounts of time in Canada’s Northern and Arctic communities.

Originally from the Arctic, Jaaji (Inuk from Nunavik and Mohawk from Kahnawake) was raised by his grandparents in traditional Inuit ways. He later served as a police officer for twelve years in Quaqtaq, QC, and Kuujjuaq in the Nunavik region of Quebec and worked as a behavioural tech at the Quaqtaq high school before moving south fifteen years ago. Chelsey June (Settler with Algonquin, Métis, and Cree heritage), by contrast, grew up in Ottawa and Gatineau with her mother, who originated from Maniwaki, QC, and left a steady job in the civil service to pursue music exclusively.

Both had an early aptitude and passion for music. Chelsey June recalls sitting on a plush carpet listening to vinyl records on her parent’s old school stereo and later, literally shocking a room into silence when singing a boisterous happy birthday to her grandmother as a child.  Jaaji, by comparison, speaks of his desperate long-time desire to play music, his first halting steps as a guitarist and singer, abandoning music for a time, but ultimately deciding to honour his late cousin’s memory (a guitar player himself) by seriously committing to music in 2014.

Having reached a point where the love of music and song writing prompted them to eschew their straight jobs and embrace an uncertain future as creators, after crossing paths on the set of APTN's Talents Autochtones Musicaux in 2014, each recognized the other as a kindred spirit and soon found themselves touring extensively in Northern Canada.

In addition to their substantial chops as songwriters, singers, and instrumentalists, Chelsey June and Jaaji share a sense of adventure and a love of travel, which made their near-constant touring during the first year and a half of the band’s existence more a pleasure than a hardship. Although it was still an eye-opener, Jaaji says, laughing at the recollection of duct-taping a lamppost and a broken hockey stick in a venue without mic stands.

“I think, rather than hard touring, we see adventure,” Chelsey June says, “and we don’t tour like a normal band. It’s Vancouver one day, Nunavut the next, or down to the desert in California – all over the map. But it makes us feel alive, and we both feel extremely privileged that we get to go to places that many people will never see in their lifetimes and the beauty and the resilience that exist in the tiniest places.”

Chelsey June and Jaaji have shared the stage with many session musicians, but the band, at its core, is made up of Chelsey and Jaaji.

 

Photo by Amelia LaVoie

Jaaji pronounced (Yaa Yee)

Jaaji is the lead male voice and songwriter for the multi-award-winning, chart-topping Indigenous folk duo Twin Flames. Jaaji is also a public figure, published author, model, and actor. He has contributed to many community wellness campaigns and continues to dedicate his time to raising awareness about Canada’s past from an Indigenous perspective. Jaaji is a proud father and mentor. He Hosted the Capital Music Awards in 2023 with Chelsey June. 

“Jaaji” is an Inuit name derived from the English “George.” Jaaji grew up in a humble fly-in community called Quaqtaq in Northern Nunavik, QC. His grandparents raised him in the traditional ways of the Inuit. Much of his songwriting reflects this upbringing by depicting life on the land. Jaaji spent his childhood summers with his biological father in Kahnawake, a reserve of the traditionally Iroquoian-speaking Mohawk nation on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. He was raised in two different worlds and cultures. He advocates for language revitalization and preservation, passionate about including the Inuttitut language in his songs. 

In 2014, Jaaji decided to commit to music full-time. With his first album Nunaga, he won Indigenous Language Album of the Year at the 2015 Indigenous Music Awards. 

Before his music career, Jaaji served as a police officer for 12 years in Quaqtaq, QC and Kuujjuaq in the Nunavik region of Quebec. After he retired from policing, he served as a behavioural tech at the local high school in Quaqtaq. He also took on the role of a cultural teacher, implementing projects that offered Inuit youth opportunities for land-based learning. He further worked for Makivik as the head of the Inuit Dog Slaughter compensation files. Jaaji lives a life of sobriety and shares his recovery story openly.

Photo by Amelia LaVoie

Chelsey June 

Chelsey June is the lead female voice and songwriter for multi-award-winning, chart-topping Indigenous folk duo Twin Flames. Chelsey is a public figure, published author, poet, model, MC and actress. She co-hosted the Canadian Folk Music Award alongside Benoit Bourque in 2022 and 2023. She also hosted the Capital Music Awards with Jaaji in 2023. She is involved in many community outreach programs and charitable organizations. She is fluent in both English and French. Chelsey is a proud mother. 

Chelsey June was raised in Ottawa and Gatineau by her mother. Chelsey’s mother originates from the small town of Maniwaki, QC. 

From a young age, Chelsey discovered her true passion for music, and it became a pillar of comfort and a sense of belonging in her life. 

Her soul-stirring vocals and songwriting prowess unveil a tapestry of emotions that captivates all who listen. In 2013, she unveiled her debut album, "Seize the Day," followed by her first EP, "Finding Me," in 2014. 

Chelsey is passionate about promoting mental well-being, fostering healthy relationships, and embracing a sober lifestyle.

 

Statement from Chelsey June:

"My name is Chelsey June. I do not claim to be a Status Indigenous person; I only state my lineage, and no community claims me. I was raised with so much pride in my cultural identity and Indigenous heritage. My ancestral connections include Anishinaabe (Commandant-Brascoupé), Métis (Hodgson), and Cree (James Bay region). I am the sum of all my relations.

For many people like me, the journey to belonging is complex.

I have always gone about my journey with the utmost respect and honesty. I have never set out to lie, deceive or benefit from claims of Indigenous Status. My process of identifying exact lineage has been lengthy because I have different communities represented in my family lines, which have been verified by oral history and master genealogists. I have never race-shifted, only changed definitions based on the ever-changing laws of who can claim Indigeneity.

Over the years, I have asked for guidance to determine where and to what group I can belong. 

I appreciate everyone's love and respect as I navigate the systems put in place to identify Indigenous peoples here in Canada. It's important to note from my earliest memories my family raised me with a deep love and respect for my Indigenous heritage. I have always acknowledged that I also have settler ancestry from both my maternal and paternal sides. It, too, is a part of my identity.

I firmly believe that our ancestors do not expire; I choose to remember and honour them. I will continue to share my songs and voice with my amazing husband by my side and hope that one day, love, understanding and kindness will prevail in this world.