Prince Albert will be well represented when the Saskatchewan Country Music Association (SCMA) Awards are handed out virtually on Saturday, but no one will be more excited to be there than Taya Lebel.
The 19-year-old Lebel, who attended Ecole St. Mary High School, is one of seven musicians nominated for the SCMA Emerging Artist of the Year award. Lebel was thankful, but shocked, to hear about the nomination.
“I was so excited when I found out,” Lebel said. “I was in shock for sure. I didn’t expect it at all because it is so early in my music career. I’m just really thankful for the nominations and the people who voted. It is just crazy.”
Other musicians nominated for the Emerging Artist award include fellow Prince Albert performer Jake Vaadeland, plus Adam Johnson, Berk Jodoin, Darryl Anderson, Karissa Hoffart and Teagan Littlechief.
Lebel said she’s is excited to go up against another local talent in Vaadeland for the Emerging Artist award.
“He’s really good,” she said.
Lebel is no stranger to the music stage, having performed at a variety of local events, including Search for the Stars, and the Prince Albert Winter Festival’s Youth Extraveganza, but has yet to release a single or an album. She was surprised to earn a nomination, given that many of the other nominees are more established than she is.
“Most of the people who are nominated for these awards, they have music out and they are much older than I am,” she said. “It is just crazy for this to happen so early.”
Lebel started taking voice lessons beginning when she was eight because she liked singing. Her instructor, Pam Cochet, encouraged her to perform on stage at a young age, and she’s kept at it ever since.
“Actually one of my first big performances was was with SCMA for the Tribute to County North Show at the Rawlinson,” she said. “I was probably 9 or 10 around that time.”
Lebel said that the competition is always tough at something like the SCMA Awards. There were a few nerves ahead of Saturday’s ceremony, but plenty of excitement too.
“I am pretty nervous, but I’m excited just to be nominated,” she said. “It’s an honour. Whatever happens I will still be really proud of myself.”
Lebel wanted the best for her fellow nominees.
“Good luck to all of the other nominees for all of the awards,” she said.