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HomeArtsAward-winning Oshawa musician helps students through music

Award-winning Oshawa musician helps students through music

Devon Artemis Chartier is a singer, songwriter and musician from Oshawa who is very active in the community. Chartier organizes and takes part in a lot of events at Oshawa’s Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG).

In 2021, she was named Music Industry Leader of the Year at the Oshawa Music Awards (OMAs), becoming winner of one of the most prestigious awards in the Durham Region.

But for Artemis, the award was unexpected.

While she has participated in a lot of concerts and is constantly posting music videos on her YouTube channel, she has also got a bigger focus.

Artemis is co-founder of the School Alliance of Student Songwriters (SASS), a project that helps students through music.

“It was actually surprising to me that I was chosen as a ‘Music Industry Leader’, because although I love the Canadian music industry, and especially the local scene, SASS was always more about kindness than it was about music. The free program was created to help students feel more appreciated for their individual, creative gifts, and to find other young artists who perceived the world with a similar sensitivity,” she explains.

So far her goals with the project are being achieved.

“It did strive to strengthen literacy, leadership, and student success. We also hoped that SASS would offer students an enriching experience at school, reinforcing self-confidence, empathy, leadership, and mental balance, and nurturing genuine, meaningful friendships to get young artists through life,” Artemis adds.

Although the name School Alliance of Student Songwriters might suggest it is a single school project, it is more than that. Through SASS, Chartier created a network of songwriting clubs at Durham Region schools.

SASS will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2022.

Chartier is working with Dale Russell, ex-lead guitarist with the Canadian rock band The Guess Who, parents, and teachers.The project is part of 20-25 after-school clubs. At one point, there were over 50 club meetings every week with students from grades 6 to 12.

Arthemis’ life really is this project: not even the award was able to take her attention from it. In fact, the award was a way of more people getting to know Artemis and Russell, and the work they do.

Artemis’ association has created ‘many incredible musicians.’ Naya Liviah is a ‘rising star’ and began her journey thanks to SASS.

“I started songwriting when I was 14 because of SASS. I am just so grateful to the SASS community that Artemis and Dale created, because that’s really where I got my start,” Liviah says. She also remembers how supportive the community was, and how looking up to older students led her way.

Dale Russell has also been a great part of SASS and Artemis’ life, according to Liviah. Russell and Chartier have been writing and producing songs together for almost 20 years now.

“She is one of my favourite writing partners, for sure. We have wonderful musical chemistry,” Russell says.

In 2019, Chartier and Russell stepped down from SASS, as they wanted to ‘pass the torch’ to younger generations but worried about the younger generation’s mental health, they decided to come back.

Now, they are both very active on the SASS YouTube channel doing interviews with SASS “graduates”, playing their songs and delivering special messages. They have plans to keep this going even when life goes back to ‘normal.’

During the pandemic, Artemis also released a song called ‘On the Front Lines’, as a homage for all the front-line workers.

Artemis is known as a generous, talented and kind person who has had a huge impact in the community. As she continues her work, generations to come will also be able to enjoy her legacy.