Edmonton musicians score 2020 Juno Awards nominations

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WATCH ABOVE: Global Edmonton's Morgan Black meets up with several Edmonton-based bands who have been nominated for Juno awards – Jan 30, 2020

Hard work and determination has paid off for some Edmonton musicians who have been nominated for the 2020 Juno Awards.

Celeigh Cardinal received her first Juno nod this year, in the category of Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year.

“I truly didn’t believe I was going to get [the nomination]. There were so many amazing artists that released albums last year,” Cardinal said.

READ MORE: 2020 Juno Awards nominees announced, singer Alessia Cara to host ceremony

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Just before the nominations were revealed, Cardinal was nervous.

“So, I listened to my album and I decided that I loved the album and I loved everything I had done with it and I was OK if I didn’t win because the album was everything I wanted it to be.”

Music has been Cardinal’s full-time job for the past five years, but that wasn’t always the case.

READ MORE: Jann Arden to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame

“I have been in the music industry for 20 years. It’s been a slow, slow process. I was a single mother for a lot of years, so I couldn’t put in as much time and energy.”

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Edmonton musician Celeigh Cardinal nominated for Juno Award – Mar 4, 2020

Now that her son is older, she is able to focus on her passion full-time.

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“As an Indigenous woman, I feel like I’ve always had to work twice as hard,” Cardinal said. “Putting in this much time has given me the opportunity to hone my craft and understand who I am and what I want to present. Building an amazing foundation of family, friends, fans from all over Alberta. That’s going to be there forever.”

The Metis singer-songwriter’s Stories from a Downtown Apartment bares it all to the audience.

“When I perform, I tell my life story. I tell jokes. We laugh, we cry.  And… it’s [genuinely] me. Having an audience with people who respect who you are is everything to me and that’s all I care about.”

Other Edmonton nominees include Nuela Charles, nominated for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year and NÊHIYAWAK, nominated for Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year.

Heavy metal band Striker is heading to the Juno Awards for the second time in the Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year category for the album Play to Win.

Striker strikes a pose at the Juno Awards. Tim Brown/Striker

“You’re nominated alongside the names of Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, all these big famous stars. And then, you have us,” guitarist Tim Brown laughed.

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Vocalist Dan Cleary said being nominated is a very validating experience.

“We’ve been a band for about 10 years now. It really does validate your existence as a musician a little bit, which is really nice.”

“Everyone who is nominated is getting that nomination because they are the best in their craft,” Brown said. “You instantly get dismissed if you say you’re a guitarist in a rock band. But, if you say you’ve been nominated for a Juno… people [are impressed].

READ MORE: Saskatchewan artists nominated for Album Artwork of the Year at 2020 Junos

Like the rest of the band, Brown works a couple of day jobs, which include consulting for the City of Edmonton.

“I assume most people see my glorious mullet and assume [I’m not just working a day job],” Brown laughed. “At work, I put on my button-up shirt. I can’t wear high tops. You have to actually wear normal human clothes. Then I got to the metal show and basically just wear scraps of cloth now.”
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The band has even had a few brushes with big-name nominees.

“We were shopping [for the Junos] at West Edmonton Mall and Alessia Cara was also there, shopping right beside us,” Brown said. “We kind of looked at each other like, ‘Do I know you from somewhere?’ and we kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Oh wait! You’re Juno nominated too.'”

The Juno Awards will take place on March 15 in Saskatoon, Sask.

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