LJ Tyson’s first foray into country music is already going better than the young artist would have expected.
The singer’s first single and music video was the Prince Albert Cultural Video, commissioned by the city and produced by Aspen Films. Friday, Tyson learned he was up for a Saskatchewan Country Music Association award for video of the year.
“I’m in disbelief,” he said.
“I’m very new to the country music scene, and locals was such a passion project, I just wanted to share it with the world. I’m shocked, to say the least.”
The video was put together as a way to build pride and passion within the local Prince Albert community. As such, it used a local musician, local video production company, local dancers and local landmarks, such as the riverbank, band shell and historic fire hall (current location of the historical museum).
The video was produced as a part of the city’s community cultural plan. A call-out was sent for songs, and later for dancers. After being selected and meeting with the city, Tyson specifically re-wrote the song for the project.
“The entire video was showcasing locals,” said Judy McLeod Campbell, who helped coordinate the city’s role in the video’s production.
“Because we wanted to use all local artists in the video, it’s even more exciting that one of our local musicians can be up for such an exciting award.”
News of the nomination also surprised Evan Jenkins. He’s the man behind the production of the video, which was done with his company Aspen films. He didn’t know the video was even up for consideration.
“I’m proud of how that video turned out,” he said. “There are so many great people in it.”
Being nominated for video of the year helps the project attain one of its secondary goals – putting Prince Albert on the map.
“The purpose was local first, to rebuild some pride and understanding of what we have in our community, from the artist perspective and the downtown cultural perspective,” McLeod Campbell said.
“But (the secondary purpose was) the tourist perspective, showcasing our community in a positive light, with all of the aspects we have.”
The video is up against Pretty Good Guy by blake Berglund, Front Row Seat by Justin LaBrash, Fireproof by Samara Yung and Cold Feet by Tenille Arts.
With a song title of ‘Locals’, it’s even more appropriate given the host city for the 2018 SCMA awards — Prince Albert.
“I just jumped into country music, and for my first nomination for the awards to be here in prince Albert, it’s very special to me,” Tyson said.
“It means a lot that the video was about Prince Albert and that the awards are coming to Prince Albert. It’s perfect.”
Local musicans earn multiple nomination nods
Tyson is far from the only local artist noticed in the list of nominees. Several other artists from the city and the surrounding area are also shortlisted for awards.
One of those artists is also the man in charge of putting on the 2018 awards show, Shayne Morley.
For the past three years, Morley has been the president of the Prince Albert chapter of the SCMA. He’s up for drummer and for country music person of the year.
“I’m overwhelmed, humbled and happy,” he said. “Music has been a part of my life since I was a little boy. I’ve always been helping with the community, helping with other things going on, wheterh they be fundraisers, dances or whatever the case may be.”
During his time as SCMA chapter president, the Prince Albert group has grown from about 12 members to close to 100.
“It’s something I’m truly passionate about.”
Morley is one of a handful of local musicians to receive multiple award nominations. Janaya Trudel is up for fiddle player and has a nomination for roots artist or group of the year musician as a part of her new duo project with her sister. That group is called Jay and Jo. The pair of Trudel sisters is no strangers to the local music scene, performing all over as a part of the Trudel family band. They’ve also appeared at the SCMAs in the past, as the family band won group of the year in 2016.
Debden’s Stephanie Rose also has a pair of nominations, receiving mentions in the categories of female artist of the year and for emerging artist of the year.
The other local resident with a pair of nominations is Mitch Gratias, who is shortlisted for his skills on the bass and on the keyboard.
The number of nominees from the local area comes as no surprise for musicians like Morley.
“There’s a lot of talent in Prince Albert and surrounding areas, my goodness, is there a lot,” he said.
“I don’t know what it is about Prince Albert, but the amount of guitar players, singers and drummers – all instruments – we are very fortunate to have all this talent.”
“We’re a community so rich with talent. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how many talented people there are in this very community,” he said.
‘The nomination ballot shows how many people there are in Prince albert making big waves in the music scene. I definitely want to take the time to congratulate them and highlight their successes.”
The SCMA awards will be held in Prince Albert at the Prince Albert Inn from April 27-29, and will be hosted by Juno-award winning artist Jess Moskaluke. For tickets, visit SCMA.sk.ca and click on the awards tab.
Female artist of the year: Stephanie Rose (Debden)
Emerging artist of the year: Stephanie Rose (Debden) and Shantaia Poulin (Spiritwood)
Roots Artist or Group of the year: Jay and Jo (Trudel sisters from Honeymoon, Sask.)
Bass Player: Mick Gratias (Prince Albert)
Drummer: Dean Kushneryk (Prince Albert), Shayne Morley (Prince Albert)
Keyboard: Mick Gratias (Prince Albert), Mike Langlois (Prince Albert)
Fiddle: Dean Bernier (Prince Albert area), Janaya Trudel (Honeymoon), Kerri English (Shellbrook)
Guitar: Dennis Adams (Prince Albert), Shawn Blackman (Prince Albert), Terry Lasko (from Prairie River, living in Prince Albert)
Radio station of the year – major market: 900 CKBI
Radio Station of the year – secondary market: CJVR Melfort
Country Music Person of the year: Shayne Morley (Prince Albert)
TV or Radio show of the year: Timberline Music Show – Larry Krause (Paddockwood)