Logan Staats Announces Red Music Rising Debut with New Single "Deadman"

The track comes alongside a visual accompaniment partially shot at the site of a former residential school
Logan Staats Announces Red Music Rising Debut with New Single 'Deadman'
Photo: Trung Hoang
Mohawk singer-songwriter Logan Staats makes his return with the new single "Deadman," which signals the storyteller and activist's debut release under the Indigenous-owned label, Red Music Rising.

"I wrote 'Deadman' while in rehab. It's not about a girl; the culture is the love that I'm asking for," he revealed in a press release.

The love Staats pleads for in the song is not romantic but rather a demand for something cherished, stolen by settler colonialism. "The love for myself that was stolen from me — by the government, the crown, the church. When I sing 'Give back my love,' I'm speaking about my culture, my pride and my love for myself."

As a descendent of residential school survivors, Staats delivers the single alongside a video partially shot on the property of the Mohawk Institute — a former residential school in Brantford, ON — and at Land Back Lane, where Six Nations land defenders have been fighting development on unceded Six Nations territory.

In a statement, Staats recalled fighting for land sovereignty alongside the land defenders in Wet'suwet'en territory:

Recently I've been spending a lot of time on the West Coast in Wet'suwet'en territory after answering the call of the Hereditary Chiefs there and standing in solidarity with the land defenders on their sovereign ground. After serving an eviction notice to Coastal Gas Link, a for-profit corporation conducting illegal activities on Wet'suwet'en territory, heavily armed RCMP officers were flown in and conducted a raid on the traditional lands or 'Yin'tah'. During that raid I was punched in the ear, my head was slammed into the frozen pavement by my braids, and I was kneed in my spine and held down while I was handcuffed and bleeding... all after I was only peacefully singing our water song and hugging/protecting a 70-year-old matriarch. I was hauled off to jail along with my sister Layla Black, several other land defenders, elders; along with members of the press. With the support of my community and people rallying across nations, I was free'd and remain steadfast and committed to defending the land from sea to sea all across Turtle Island.

This past summer, Staats performed at Guelph's virtual Hillside Festival alongside headliners Dan Mangan, Tim Baker and the Sadies. In 2018, Staats achieved mainstream success as the first winner of the Canadian music competition show, CTV's The Launch. While competing, he was mentored by country-pop legend Shania Twain.

Check out the video for "Deadman" below.