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Local Musicians Nominated for MCMAs

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Catie St. Germain and JR Charron have been nominated for MCMAs.

Two Niverville musicians have been nominated for the Manitoba Country Music Awards (MCMAs), set to take place on November 6 in Winnipeg. JR Charron has been nominated for four awards, including Fan’s Choice, and Catie St. Germain is nominated for Cover Artist of the Year.

JR Charron

Charron released his EP Impression in October 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to rave reviews. His first single “Song for You” landed in the top ten of the Canadian Indie Country Charts, followed by his second single, “Broke,” which charted in the top fifty.

The return to live performances gave Charron the opportunity to present his work in concert settings, interact with audiences, and really grow as an artist, resulting in the most recent MCMA recognition. His award nominations include Emerging Artist, Roots Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, and Fan’s Choice.

“Coming out of the pandemic has been incredible,” says Charron. “We seemed to have started fairly consistently and have yet to slow down. This has of course had its challenges, as booking shows for fairs, festivals, etc. have had their bills full with contracts that were signed pre- and mid-pandemic, so it made for a fairly scattered summer as far as shows were concerned. Regardless, we pushed on.”

Charron has been busy performing in Western Manitoba, at the Niverville Fair, and recording some new songs to be released in the near future.

“From touring out Brandon way to playing the Niverville Fair, we had an excellent and fulfilling summer,” says Charron. “We have a major song release coming at the end of October. We’ve also managed to pick up some radio play across the province, which I consider a big win!”

Among the challenges of pursuing a recording career during a pandemic, Charron and his wife added another adventure to their lives by welcoming a new baby.

“Over the pandemic, it was incredibly hard to get studio time, between positive tests, a move, and a new baby,” he says. “That’s been a welcome challenge. He’s just over a year now, and things are going great. My wife is the real champ, though. She has to put up with me and the baby.”

Charron is also currently representing Manitoba at the Canadian Country Music Awards in Calgary this week and playing a set at the Manitoba and Saskatchewan Country Music Association Showcase.

The Calgary trip has been crowdfunded by Charron’s fans, friends, and family—and in response, the musician is planning a livestream performance to raise funds for Siloam Mission.

Charron says that the community of Niverville has made him feel incredibly welcome since he moved here from Binscarth in 2018. He is grateful for everyone’s support and is planning to celebrate if he wins in November.

“We love it here, and I don’t see us leaving anytime soon,” says Charron. “There will be big celebrations if I win an MCMA! I’m not sure how we’d celebrate as of yet, and I’m not holding my breath. I’m up against incredible talent who are all equally deserving.”

Catie St. Germain

Catie St. Germain is the granddaughter of Metis singer and Canadian Country Music Hall of Famer Ray St. Germain. She and her husband moved to Niverville in 2017 to raise their three boys.

With her experience travelling and singing across Canada with her family, St. Germain has a vast musical skillset to draw from and has amassed a repertoire of rock, top 40, and country songs spanning more than six decades of music.

She started performing on her own professionally at age 18.

“I’ve been blessed to grow up around many professional musicians for family, and my uncle had me join his band as soon as I came of age,” says St. Germain. “Since then I’ve been offered many opportunities across Canada, was in a Johnny Cash and June Carter tribute band, and now most recently touring North America with the rock tribute band ‘Snake Oil.’”

Recently St. Germain performed at the Niverville Fair, a performance she had been looking forward to for years.

“It was my first year performing at the fair, because originally we were supposed to play when COVID hit,” says St. Germain. “I honestly feel an immense amount of pride to be a part of this community, and to play my new hometown was a dream come true! Everyone welcomed me with open arms before they knew I could sing, so getting to ‘give back’ in a way has been amazing.”

In addition to her appearance at the fair, St. Germain recently sang the national anthem for a Niverville Nighthawks home game. The town’s new Manitoba Junior Hockey League team has asked St. Germain to sing the national anthem in future games as well.

St. Germain is thrilled to be part of a community where there are so many other professional musicians and where music plays such a big role in people’s lives.

“Manitoba has the best musicians across Canada, hands down, and knowing that so many of them close to our small town are making big waves is just the cherry on top,” she says.

In addition to her solo career, St. Germain also performs alongside musician Real Comeault in their duo called Whiskey Saints and as a lead vocalist for the Big City All Star Band with bandleader Carlin Lemon. This puts her amongst Winnipeg’s most sought-after vocal performers and she can frequently be found doing shows at various Smitty’s locations, TransCanada Brewing Company, the casinos of Winnipeg, and many wedding cocktail hours.

St. Germain feels honoured to be nominated for Cover Artist of the Year with the MCMAs, as she just celebrated 15 years in the music scene.

“It just seems like a full circle moment,” she says. “However, I do have originals in the works and plan on being back bigger than ever, hopefully with some new nominations under my belt.”

The Manitoba Country Music Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, development, and enhancement of all aspects of country music in Manitoba. The MCMAs will be held at The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre by Canad Inns in Winnipeg.

For more information

To support our local recording artists and vote for JR Charron and Catie St. Germain as MCMA Fan’s Choice and Cover Artist of the Year, visit: www.manitobacma.com/fanvote.php. Voting closes on September 21.

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