Rancher, wife, mother, Christian, musician, song-writer. . . add Saskatchewan Country Music Association (SCMA) award nominee to the list of titles for Gina Stewart of Rockglen.
Stewart joined the SCMA two years ago and is very honoured to have been among the nominees at this year’s award show in Prince Albert. Stewart’s album “Rancher’s Daughter”, which she released in July of 2010, was nominated for the Roots Album of the Year.
She talks about her nomination, “I was very honoured. Nomination is done by peers in the SCMA; fellow artists, or music industry peoples. Part of the Nomination process is sending out a ‘Consideration for Nomination’ to the SCMA which they then distribute to their members. Then you WAIT!”
Stewart attended the 2010 SCMA awards show and performed in the Adult Showcase, but this was the first time she would hear her name at the awards show.
Stewart talked about the thrill of hearing her name and album announced, “Then my 20 seconds of glory was when my category was up. ‘AND the Nominees for SCMA ROOTS ALBUM OF THEY YEAR ARRRRRRRRRRRRE. . . I was the second artist named and they played a clip of ‘Rancher’s Daughter’ which is the title track of my album. My heart was definitely racing and I just felt a sense of great thankfulness to be recognized for my music.”
The award went to fellow SCMA member Jay Semko, for his album, “Force of Horses.” Stewart said, “Yes, my heart sank for a moment! Only a brief moment though! I again, was just very thankful to be there. As Jay Semko walked up; I thought, ‘This man looks like he’s paid his dues and has been around for awhile!’ I have my goals set for next year!”
Stewart also enjoyed the chance to rub shoulders with other music industry people “I have to say what an honour it was to be sitting among some of the great musicians and artists in the Canadian and Saskatchewan country Music Industry.”
Stewart and her parents sat with Blake Berglund, Glenna Switzer and their families at the South West Chapter table. Swift Current resident, Glenna Switzer, who founded the South West chapter of the SCMA won the Keyboard Player of the Year.
Stewart said, “She has been a great supporter of musicians and artists in Saskatchewan; has a tremendous talent on the keyboards; and has been in the business many many years. So I was very proud to see her win this award.”
Stewart said, “We were sat right beside Donny Parenteau, who received many nominations that night. Donny has toured professionally with stars of country music; he traveled for 10 years with Neil McCoy as his fiddler. When his daughter was born; he slowed down, moved back to Saskatchewan and now tours schools motivating young people to work and follow their dreams. I sat with goose bumps and tears as he accepted his award of Recognition; just feeling a sense of privilege being there to listen to his words of wisdom and encouragement to all the Nominees.”
While in Prince Albert for the awards, Stewart also attended Youth and Adult showcases as well as a Songwriters Café, with artists such as, Stephen Maguire. Macquire has written for Sara Evans, Rod Stuart and many successful country artists. “This is where I hope to be next year in the 2013 SCMA, sharing some of my new work.” said Stewart
Stewart talked about her album “Rancher’s Daughter”. “It has been featured quite a few times on Country 100.7 ‘Sask. Country Music Spot light – recently it’s been getting quite a bit of airplay on Swift Current 570. Jim Strohm on all the Golden West Radio Stations has featured it a few times. I’m hearing good things. I had one of the songs off the album critiqued by Canadian Country icon, Steve Wilkinson of ‘The Wilkinsons’ . He gave me some tips and feedback; and thought I had some good work. That was uplifting. When your friends and relatives like it; that is pretty much their job! But when Music Industry, Radio and Experienced Song writers say it is good work; that means something more. And then to be nominated for this ‘Roots Album of the Year’ gives a lot of validation to my work,” she said.
Stewart recalls the first time she unexpectedly heard one of her songs played on the radio. “My husband and I were on our way to Glasgow, MT and we heard ‘Sold Out Crowd’ – first time I heard my song just come on the radio waves without expecting it! Was a thrill ! Every songwriters dream.”
Stewart has been busy performing and promoting her album. “I’ve been on the SCMA South West tour since January 2012. Many Sask musicians have joined us from all over the province, including Samara Yung, this years Sask. Female Vocalist of the Year. Glenna Switzer, Steve Gibson Band, Conrad Bigknife, Will Ardell and many new artists I have had opportunity to share the stage with this year. Selling my CDs and putting on shows in rural Southern Sask has been a lot of fun. I still need to a hometown concert – hopefully this fall,” she said.
“I continue to play with the boys from Badland Country Band. Playing live music, whether solo or with the band is a great passion of mine. I prefer a more intimate crowd, where the people you are performing for have come to listen to the music and the words of the song – not often what you get in a bar or cabaret crowd!! But it all goes with the territory,” said Stewart.
A Gospel album is in Stewart’s sights. “I’ve written some gospel/worship songs and I would like to collaborate with my sister, Carolyn MacDonald to put out a Gospel Album in the future – she is a very talented song writer. She’s led a lot of Cowboy Church worship and we have a great time singing together.”
“I’m really relying of faith and trust that the direction of my music career is guided by the big guy! Where ever He leads I’ll Go – as the song says. He’s been my counsellor since the beginning of this first album. From writing the words in my songs, to choosing the record producer, to things falling into place along the way, I truly rely on my faith. I am really excited about some of my new songs; I have not finished enough for my next recording project; but that is what I am working on. I’ve got my Nashville Savings Fund started!” said Stewart.
Stewart talked about her family, “Change on the home front; our oldest daughter Brooke is graduating and heading to Vermillion to college in the fall. That will be a big change. Thankfully our youngest daughter Emily is home; to help on the ranch; which she loves to do and is the ‘Rancher’s Daughter’ I sing about in my song.”
“I am thankful for now to be able to be at home 100% working side by side with my husband Lyle on our cattle ranch. That allows me to stop and write a song when the inspiration comes along. Willie Nelson always said there is more to being a songwriter than coming up with the lyrics – it’s capturing them, getting them wrote down; the melody line kept alive and not losing what you heard in your head.” she said.
Stewart talked about the difficulty of building a music career as a busy ranch wife and mother, living in rural Saskatchewan, “My life is not solely dedicated to music. I can not do it full time, as many artists who are single and without family commitments are able to. I am not located I the hub of music city either; so it is at time challenging to get out there.”
But home is where the heart is for Stewart, “Right now my priorities are my family and being a mother, wife and ranch woman. However; this gift of song and music that is in me; I feel it is my job to share – so I am doing the best I can with what I got - as far as time, money and talent!”
“For years I did not think I was good enough to even try to make music a career. Self doubt and a lack of confidence plagued me. After I began singing in church; I was set free from that doubt and fear. I’ve been singing a long time; since I was a young girl. I admire those young people who have the talent and the confidence to perform so young; I was definitely not born with that confidence. . . I have learned not to compare what I lack in terms of vocal ability, and appreciate what I do have. I have a great sincerity and sing from my heart; and believe that music has great power to heal and lift up; to make life’s hard times happy and sooth the soul. I aspire to write songs that will do just that,” concluded Stewart.
You download “Rancher’s Daughter” on CDBABY.COM or purchase a copy at The New Rave Mini Mall in Rockglen, Top 40 in Assiniboia or at any of Stewart’s live shows.
The latest performance of the SW Tour was in Maple Creek on May 5.