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Stars on the rise: Saskatchewan Country Music Awards showcase rising artists

The 32nd Saskatchewan Country Music Awards (SCMA) is set to showcase some of the province’s top musicians as the show goes virtual for the second straight year Saturday.

Tenille Arts, Hunter Brothers and Samara Yung are some of the more notable artists and are up for several awards, but the talent pool runs deep in Saskatchewan with many up-and-comers worth keeping an eye on.

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Jordyn Pollard of Lloydminster was named Emerging Artist of the Year a year ago and is up for three awards this year: Female Artist of the Year, Album or EP of the Year and Fans’ Choice Entertainer of the Year.

She said to be viewed in the same light among the province’s top country music artists is something that means a lot to her.

“It’s definitely something I never thought would happen. I am so honoured that people think of me in the same regard as they think of them. It’s definitely humbling,” Pollard said.

Pollard released her first EP Good on Me in 2019 featuring four songs including her latest hit Back to Us.

She describes her style as quirky with a splash of sass.

“A lot of the songs really resonate with me and kind of what I feel in regards to romantic relationships, and just life in general,” Pollard said.

“I’m a super fun person and I want that to be portrayed through my music. I hope that people get that from listening to it.”

With this being her second straight year nominated and both awards shows done virtually, Pollard is looking forward to the day when things are back to normal.

“I did miss having the actual experience [last year] and haven’t had my real winning moment on stage yet,” Pollard said.

“It was a little different not getting that for my first award, but hopefully that will come once COVID’s over.”

Pollard plans on watching the awards in the comfort of her home alongside her parents and with her grandparents on FaceTime.

“Hopefully my grandparents, both of them, can figure out how to use [FaceTime],” she laughed.

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“But yeah, we’ll just be sitting here probably having a coffee, watching the show and enjoying it by dancing and singing along like we did last year.”

Pollard is currently working on new music which she plans on releasing sometime in the near future. Her music can be found on her website and Facebook page.

A bright future for country music in Saskatchewan

The Emerging Artist of the Year award is always one to watch closely, as it highlights some of the best up-and-coming talent in the province.

Among the nominees are Justine Sletten and Andrea An, who both have unique styles but share a similar passion for their craft.

Sletten hails from the small village of Hazlet and said being recognized for her hard work is extremely rewarding.

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“I’m so honoured to be nominated with the people that I am with and even those in other categories,” Sletten said. “Being listed as an SCMA nominee is super awesome. I was really excited to see my name up there.”

An was born and raised in Saskatoon and shares the same excitement around the nomination.

“It is my first award that I’ve ever been nominated for and I honestly wasn’t even expecting it,” An said. “I’m just really grateful to even be recognized among such talented and hardworking artists within this category.”

An recently released her first song into the Canadian country music scene called Wanting you which she co-wrote with Jesse Weiman and Doug Sylvester and is currently in the process of recording an album expected to drop sometime this year.

“I told them I wanted to make something that was kind of chill, but upbeat at the same time,” An said.

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“The song is about being in a long-distance relationship and the feeling that you get after, not seeing your significant other for so long.”

An’s music is a mix of pop-country and R & B. Her music can be found on her website and Facebook Page.

Sletten released her first EP in 2017 called Groundbreaking, her latest single Eighteen hit the airwaves in July 2020.

She compares her sound to international country star Kelsea Ballerini and a few others, but said she is still discovering her own style.

“I really look up to like people like Shania Twain, Tenille Arts and all of those types of artists,” Sletten said. “I’m definitely still working towards finding my sound. But as for right now, that’s kind of where I’m at.”

For more of Sletten’s music, you can visit her website and Facebook Page.

The remaining nominees for the Emerging Artist of the Year award are The Dirt Rich Band, Karissa Hoffart and Katelyn Lehner.

The SCMAs can be streamed on Access Now and YouTube at 8 p.m.

Click to play video: Country-pop artist Justine Sletten

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