Updated: Apr 19, 2021
By Scott Roos
Last night, the Saskatchewan Country Music Association held their annual awards night gala via AccessTV and also digital platforms. It was a COVID safe affair that featured online performances submitted by several of the province's top performers within the country music genre. Some of the bigger winners on the night included Shaunavon's The Hunter Brothers, who took home four awards including Luke Hunter's "bass player of the year" honour, Regina's JJ Voss, and, of course, the pride of Weyburn, Tenille Arts.
Voss, who won the "male artist of the year" and "roots album or ep of the year" awards, was grateful for the recognition and took time in both acceptance speeches to mention the team of people surrounding him that helped to make the awards he won possible including a brief namedrop of NSMZ editor, Scott Roos. It's this humble approach to his daily musical endeavors that no doubt helped Voss capture these two awards and will most definitely help him to continue to garner attention in the future.
"Awards aren't the goal for me as an artist but it does feel good to have your peers give you a pat on the back and recognize your work," explained Voss in a brief interview conducted by NSMZ earlier today, "I surrounded myself with some very good people who were able to get these songs out into the world the very week that the entire world shut right down. I've very proud of the job that my team did to promote this record and I'm grateful to everyone who has been behind me and supports what I do as an artist."
While the awards for the more seasoned artists like Voss do indeed serve as a welcome pat on the back and much needed recognition in these otherwise trying times, they also act as a springboard for other lesser known artists via the "emerging artist of the year" recognition. It was a solid slate of nominees in 2021 with newcomers Andrea An, The Dirt Rich Band, Justine Sletten, Karissa Hoffart and Katelyn Lehner all vying for the honour. Ultimately, though, the award went to Prince Albert expat Lehner and we here at NSMZ could not be more proud.
"Winning the emerging artist award is so exciting! I’ve worked really hard over the past six months with the release and the promotion of 'Red'. It feels great to be recognized alongside so many great country artists in our province and to have the support of the SCMA and their members. I’m very excited for my upcoming single release and winning this award is the cherry on top leading into it!" raved Lehner in an exclusive chat with NSMZ.
Whilst many would likely recognize Lehner based on her charting single "Red", she has, over the last little while, worked hard at forging a career in the music industry for herself. She will no doubt use the opportunity of winning this award to propel her to even greater heights.
"I think this award is the starting point for lots of artists. It opens the doors for opportunities because industry people are starting to know your name and pay more attention to what you’re up to," explained Lehner.
With a new single on the horizon, this award is definitely allowing Lehner to "level up". She's had a solid run throughout 2020 and it's going to be interesting seeing where 2021 takes her as the world begins to slowly but surely scratch and tear its way out of the proverbial COVID cocoon. In the meantime, congrats Katelyn. You deserve every ounce of hard fought accolades you have received thus far.
For the full list of last night's winners check out the link HERE
*JJ Voss photo by Scott Roos
*Katelyn Lehner photos by Deanna Roos