The 2021 Juno Award nominees were announced Tuesday, and among the handful of Manitoba artists up for Canada’s most prestigious music awards is a Winnipeg jazz guitarist being honoured for her debut as a bandleader.
Jocelyn Gould’s Elegant Traveler album is competing against Andreas Vial, Elmer Ferrer, Junior Santos and Rachel Therrien in the Jazz Album of the Year: Solo category, and the guitarist told 680 CJOB she’s overwhelmed by the nomination.
“I was just shocked, I think, especially as it’s my first album, I wasn’t expecting it. What a huge surprise. I can’t believe it, I’m really in shock and awe over here,” she said.
“I was actually in a meeting … and just couldn’t focus on anything because suddenly all of my devices were going off.”
Gould, who grew up in Winnipeg, is currently teaching at the Humber College of Music in Toronto, but she’s been back home in Manitoba for the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic — an interesting time to be a professional musician.
“At first, I loved having all the extra time to do alone, solitary practicing and have time to really focus, but now I’m just so antsy to be playing with people,” she said.
“Every day I’m kind of pretending I’m playing a gig — trying to imagine what it would be like. I’m pretty eager to get back at it.”
Gould’s Juno-nominated LP, Elegant Traveler was released last spring on U.S.-based Posi-Tone Records, and she said the goal of the record — which features original songs alongside compositions by the likes of Cole Porter and Duke Ellington — was one of upliftment.
“I just wanted it to swing. I wanted it to be as swinging as possible, and I picked musicians to play with based on wanting it to feel good.
“I wanted a feel-good record to lift people’s spirits.”
Joining Gould as Manitobans up for awards are singer-songwriter William Prince — whose Reliever album has received similar acclaim as his Juno-winning 2017 debut — and Begonia, whose Fear LP has also been heavily lauded.
Accomplished Contemporary Christian artist Steve Bell — already a two-time Juno winner — is looking to win again for his album Wouldn’t You Like to Know?.
Canadian icon Neil Young, who spent his formative years in Winnipeg and is often claimed as a Manitoban by people in the province, is also up for a rock Juno for his latest record.
A full list of nominees can be found on the Juno website.