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Work by Edmonton music studio Velveteen nominated for 3 Juno Awards

Click to play video: 'Alberta musician Shawnee Kish talks new EP and her Two Spirit journey' Alberta musician Shawnee Kish talks new EP and her Two Spirit journey
WATCH (June 9, 2021): Indigenous artist Shawnee Kish joins Global News Morning Edmonton to talk about her upcoming release and her journey of self acceptance. – Jun 9, 2021

An Edmonton music production studio is in the running for three Juno Awards this year.

Velveteen has work nominated for Pop Album of the Year with artist JESSIA, Contemporary Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year with Shawneee Kish, and Adult Contemporary Album of the Year with Tafari Anthony.

“It’s pretty exciting,” producer Brandon Unis told Global News on Thursday.

“We like to joke: still no wins, but we’ve got our fingers crossed for this year.”

Collectively, the Velveteen team has 13 Juno nominations and several Edmonton Music Awards.

Read more: Edmonton musicians score 2020 Juno Awards nominations

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Unis cut his teeth in the industry working in Toronto before moving to Edmonton five years ago.

“I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I could not have been more shocked and pleasantly surprised.

“The sheer the number of artists that are here that are all so incredible. I don’t know if it’s because we have such long, cold winters and everyone just hunkers down and learns an instrument or what it is, but the scene is just brimming with tons of talented artists, songwriters, producers. We’re so busy ourselves as producers because there’s so many artists with great songs that need to be created.

“I’m more creatively satiated than I ever was, which I wasn’t expecting.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton’s Celeigh Cardinal, Striker win first-time Juno awards' Edmonton’s Celeigh Cardinal, Striker win first-time Juno awards
Edmonton’s Celeigh Cardinal, Striker win first-time Juno awards – Jun 30, 2020

The Juno nods are incredibly validating, Unis said.

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“It’s voted on by your peers, so to even have a nomination, I can’t really describe how proud we are because it means people that we admire have heard it and voted for it and believed in it as well.

Read more: COVID-19: New report shows viability of Alberta’s music industry as it looks to bounce back

“I feel like a lot of us have imposter syndrome. We still can’t believe that we get to do this every day… and we’re students of it and constantly trying to get better and looking what everyone else is doing and be competitive and do the songs justice.

“I think a win, for myself, would be a good benchmark that we’re doing it at a competitive level, really bringing something to the table and it’s being well received because that’s ultimately what matters: that people hear the songs and they connect with them.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton-area bands nominated for Juno awards' Edmonton-area bands nominated for Juno awards
Edmonton-area bands nominated for Juno awards – Jan 30, 2020

Unis said the more winners in Edmonton can only do good things for the local music scene.

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“The more eyes we can get on Edmonton, the less it can be denied as a musical powerhouse.

“I’m going to be honest, before I lived here, when I thought of musical hubs, Edmonton didn’t even come to mind and now I can’t imagine not making music here.”

The 2022 Juno Awards take place May 14 and 15. The televised portion happens Sunday, May 15 from Toronto.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton singer/songwriter Ruth B nominated for 3 Juno Awards' Edmonton singer/songwriter Ruth B nominated for 3 Juno Awards
Edmonton singer/songwriter Ruth B nominated for 3 Juno Awards – Feb 10, 2017

Several other artists with Edmonton roots are nominated for Juno Awards, including country singer Brett Kissel, folksinger Maria Dunn, Cree Round Dance drummers Young Spirit and Kish.

Read more: Alberta musician Shawnee Kish hopes her two-spirit story inspires youth to reclaim culture, identity

Kish’s nod is for her self-titled album. Her latest record is titled Mr. Tie.

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“She kind of popped up on our radar and we reached out,” Unis said. “We said: ‘We’ve got to work with you. You’re incredible. In a perfect world, you could make any record, what would it be?’

“And what she described was kind of like this retro, soul, R&B, kind of Motown-y, a little bit of UK inspiration like Buffy and Amy Winehouse. So, old school meets new school.”

Read more: ‘I’m an Albertan’: Jazz legend Big Miller left swinging legacy in his adopted home

It was a very significant experience for the Velveteen team, Unis said, and they’re all very invested.

“We’re really closely connected to it because we sat down at a piano and wrote songs from scratch and saw it through the entire way. It’s always really special when you can get that involved.

Edmonton-based artist Shawnee Kish. Instagram: Shawnee Kish

“I vividly remember sitting down at the piano and asking her: ‘What are your goals? What is it you want to do as an artist?’ One of them was to produce a full record that is her exact vision that she could be proud of, and a Juno nomination and hopefully a win,” Unis said.

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Click to play video: 'Singer and Juno nominee Nuela Charles' Singer and Juno nominee Nuela Charles
Singer and Juno nominee Nuela Charles – Feb 15, 2019

Velveteen credits Nuela Charles for bringing more attention to the Edmonton music scene.

Toronto-based artist Tafari Anthony. Tafari Anthony

Anthony, another nominated artist, had mixing and some producing done by the Velveteen team.

“The songs are delivered with all their layers,” Unis explained. “You go through each layer, you find the good and the bad — sonically — and make them work together. Then you take them from individual stems and turn them into a song.”

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The Toronto-based artist blends pop, soul and alternative and is known for his sultry songs.

His Juno nod for Adult Contemporary Album of The Year comes from his latest EP The Way You See Me.

Vancouver-based artist JESSIA. JESSIA Instagram

First-time nominee JESSIA is up for TikTok Juno Fan Choice.

The Vancouver pop singer is also nominated for Single of the Year, Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Pop Album of the Year.

Her debut single I’m not Pretty exploded on TikTok, racking up millions of views in one day.

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