"Buffy Sainte-Marie is an icon and inspiration. This book is necessary—an authorized insight into the making of a legend." —Terese Marie Mailhot, author of Heart Berries
A powerful, intimate look at the life of a beloved folk icon and activist.
Folk hero. Songwriter icon. Living legend. Buffy Sainte-Marie is all of these things and more. In this, Sainte-Marie’s first and only authorized biography, music critic Andrea Warner draws from more than sixty hours of exclusive interviews to offer a powerful, intimate look at the life of the beloved artist and everything that she has accomplished in her seventy-seven years (and counting).
Since her groundbreaking debut, 1964’s It’s My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter has been a trailblazer and a tireless advocate for Indigenous rights and freedoms, an innovative artist, and a disruptor of the status quo. Establishing herself among the ranks of folk greats such as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, she has released more than twenty albums, survived being blacklisted by two U.S. presidents, and received countless accolades, including the only Academy Award ever to be won by a First Nations artist. But this biography does more than celebrate Sainte-Marie’s unparalleled talent as a songwriter and entertainer; packed with insight and knowledge, it offers an unflinchingly honest, heartbreakingly real portrait of the woman herself, including the challenges she experienced on the periphery of showbiz, her healing from the trauma of childhood and intimate partner violence, her commitment to activism, and her leadership in the protest movement.
Andrea Warner is the author of Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography (Greystone Books, 2018) and We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the '90s and Changed Canadian Music (Eternal Cavalier Press, 2015). A freelance writer, Andrea is also an associate producer at CBC Music, a theatre critic at the Georgia Straight, a radio columnist, and the co-host of the weekly podcast Pop This!. Her pronouns are she/her/hers, and she is a settler who was born and raised in Vancouver on the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Pop culture, art, and feminism make her happy. On Twitter: @_AndreaWarner
"Sainte-Marie’s voice shines through—funny, sharply incisive, never bitter... a heartfelt portrait."
— Publishers Weekly
"Merriment and perseverance together – the image Warner’s writing casts is one of an insightful leader, whose commitment to joy in learning has only grown over the years. This is at the heart of the biography – one which arguably is decades overdue."
— Globe and Mail
"At the core of Warner's portrait of Sainte-Marie lies a courageous, creative, funny woman who was decades ahead of her time."
Warner['s]... biography of this soaring icon powerfully reveals Sainte-Marie’s cultural advocacy while shining a much-needed light on her essential humanity, life experiences, and prodigious musical talent.
"This well-rounded and thorough authorized biography is perfectly timed – not just welcome but vita...Warner understands how intrinsically art and activism coexist for Sainte-Marie. There wouldn’t be one without the other. "
— Quill & Quire
"I admired Buffy’s forthrightness, and her boldness and courage. "
"Buffy Sainte-Marie is an icon and inspiration. This book is necessary—an authorized insight into the making of a legend."
— Terese Marie Mailhot, author of Heart Berries
"A crucial and compelling book that further cements Buffy Sainte-Marie's place in music history."
— Jessica Hopper, author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic
"Buffy Sainte-Marie is a beacon: she shows us how unwavering vision and fierce independence go hand-in-hand with the work of creating solidarity, community, justice, and beauty. This book is the captivating story of that achievement."
— Naomi Klein, author of No is Not Enough and This Changes Everything
“Buffy Sainte-Marie’s career is enormously more impressive and significant than has been acknowledged or understood. This book draws decades of incredible, world-changing accomplishments together to make an irrefutable case for her place among the rock ‘n’ roll and songwriting greats. ”
— Tanya Tagaq, Inuk songwriter and throat singer; winner of the 2014 Polaris Prize for Animism as well as multiple Juno Awards.
"A wonderful read! Buffy Sainte-Marie's creative soul has led her, as surely as a compass, in her art, political engagement, and a life of moral purpose."
— Dar Williams, author of What I Found in A Thousand Towns
“Long overdue, Andrea Warner’s expansive, authorized biography reveals the astonishing range and breadth of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s work as a musician and writer, activist, educator, and spiritual leader. She is a true star, and this book goes a long way toward showing us how and why.”
— Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick and After Kathy Acker: A Biography
“This book serves as proof that one person can make a world of difference. Buffy Sainte-Marie is a wonder—and the writing here reflects her truth, gentle forcefulness, intellect, and thoughtfulness.”
— Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie
"Warner has composed an extraordinary portrait of one of our most extraordinary artists, a book that feels suffused with Buffy Sainte-Marie's personality and spirit."
— Sean Michaels, author of Us Conductors
"In this heartfelt and revealing book, Buffy Sainte-Marie helps us to realize that out of loss and denial can come enormous gifts and beauty."
— Adrienne Clarkson, 26th Governor General of Canada (1999-2005)