Leela Gilday is a Dene–Canadian singer and songwriter born and raised in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. From a very young age, Leela was immersed in music, and by the age of 8 had already begun her singing career. Today she is one of the North’s better known performing artists.
Ms. Gilday has released four solo albums to date. Since her early start in music, she has been honored with many awards, beginning in 2002 as Best Female Artist, Best Folk Album and Best Songwriter at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards for her first release Spirit World, Solid Wood. She was also named in Maclean’s Magazine Top 50 Under 30 in that same year. In 2003 she was nominated at the Juno Awards for “Best Music of Aboriginal Canada”, and in 2007 won for Aboriginal Recording Of The Year with the release of her second album Sedzé. Up Here Magazine named Leela as Northerner of the Year in 2007. Her third release Calling All Warriors debuted in 2010.
In 2010 Ms. Gilday was chosen to represent in CBC Radio’s Great Canadian Song Quest 2010 her home territory of Northwest Territories by writing a song dedicated to a specific road, which was the theme for that year. A web-based poll conducted over the summer allowed fans to nominate and vote for their favorite road in each province and/or territory. The Deh Cho, or Mackenzie, a river, was the thoroughfare chosen by fans for NWT, and Gilday’s song Safe Passage first aired on CBC Radio 2 Drive with Rich Terfry on October 22, 2010 to commemorate it.