Amy Nelson is coming to Yorkton this Friday, June 28th and will be performing live and for free at Boston Pizza at 6:30 pm.
Nelson is selling her new CD's to raise money for charity for children's music camps, and to promote her new album.
“We are donating one dollar from any album sold (for only $5.99) at Boston Pizza locations throughout Saskatchewan to the Dream Broker Summer Music Camps,” she told Yorkton This Week.
Nelson said supporting the camps just made sense to her.
“Having a background in education, I have seen what an amazing influence music can have on the lives of kids; in the lives of anyone, of any age, really,” she said. These camps are designed for students with financial barriers. They get to attend the camps for free and wouldn’t have an opportunity like this otherwise.”
If anyone knows of a child in the Yorkton area that is currently in grade 4-8 and could benefit from an opportunity like this, they should get in touch with Val at firstname.lastname@example.org
“I make it my personal mission to find room for any child that wants to learn music and is able to do so otherwise,” said Nelson.
Nelson herself was born, raised and continues to be based in Regina, SK.
“I am not there very much these days, because it feels like I am on the road more often than I am home, but I have had the chance to spend the last couple full months at home and that felt so good,” she said. “All of my friends and family are in Saskatchewan. So despite how lucky I am to get to travel back and forth to Australia and to many places in North America, I can’t image ever calling another province home.”
In Nelson’s case music has simply always been part of her life.
“I have been involved in music my whole life,” she said. “I started taking piano lessons when I was only four and have been singing more than talking for as long as I can remember. I wanted to be a singer for Halloween.
“I even used to put on mini concerts in my relatives living rooms – whether they were requested, or not.
“In elementary school, I got really involved in musical theater.
“Then in high school I started to really focus in on the music side of things. Anyone who has seen me dance will tell you that was a good idea.”
So the love of music became a career path.
“I went on to complete a BMusEd degree at the University of Regina, training to be a high school band and choir teacher,” said Nelson. “During that time, I took guitar lessons with a man who is very dear to my heart, named Arnie Davis. While teaching me guitar lessons, which I pursued only to have another instrument to play in the classroom, Arnie kept pushing me, asking me why I wasn’t doing more singing and playing gigs for the public. Eventually, he pushed just enough.
"I took a ‘gig’ busking at Regina’s 2006 Cathedral Village Arts Festival. It was a 30-minute spot, in front of a local music store. I took a friend, Aaron Pritchard to play guitar along with me, because I was too nervous to do it without him. I clearly remember making a big goal in my mind – all I wanted to do was get through 30-minutes without someone pointing and laughing. I finished that 30-minute set. No one pointed. No one laughed. One lady though, did stop and listen for a few songs and leave a business card in my guitar case, asking me to give her a call.
“That lady was Kelly-Jo Burke, a music producer at CBC Radio at the time.
“It was validating and inspiring way beyond what I thought I would experience that day. Three years later, I took that same friend, to play guitar with me, on stage in London England’s Trafalgar Square for the Canada Day celebrations.”
Interestingly, Nelson was not a big country fan as a youth.
“I don’t admit it often, but I didn’t actually grow up listening to country music,” she said. “I discovered the Dixie Chicks, and then Terri Clark and those were the songs I started learning guitar to. Then, when the band Sugarland came around, I was sold.
“I believe, if I had to describe my music, it falls best into the ‘pop country’ category or the ‘modern country’ category. Some of my songs have a big of a rock edge, like my single ‘Hey Love’ that is currently on radio.
“Overall, my songs and lyrics are just like my personality, sarcastic, fun and full of energy.
“These days, Miranda Lambert has held the top place in my heart for years. I find I am drawn to artists like Miranda and now Marren Morris, Kasey Musgraves, and any other strong females who aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe is right.
“I suppose I have come full circle, initially falling for the genre through the Dixie Chicks that is full of outspoken females. I am inspired by their music, but also by who they are, what they represent and who I am continually striving to be.”
Nelson’s music has taken her international.
“I have spent the past two years touring extensively in Australia,” she said. “Some of the festivals I play were unbearably hot for someone who is used to the Saskatchewan weather. But many are festivals with breathtaking scenery.
“Last July, I made my debut on the main stage of the Groundwater Country Music Festival. That show stands out to me. It’s hard to beat having palm trees blowing and from the stage, being able to smell the salty ocean air, knowing the waves are only blocks away.
“Performing on a huge stage in Trafalgar Square will always stand out to me too.
“I have been lucky to have some very cool performance opportunities in my career. Truth is, I did a show in Moose Jaw a couple weeks ago for about 15 people, and I loved that too. Every show is different, but every time I get to perform, I am in my happy place.”
Amid the busy schedule Nelson still finds time to write songs.
“I find song writing to be one of the most rewarding and most difficult parts of my job,” she said. “It didn’t come easily to me, as it seemed to for many other artists. I have been fortunate to write with some of the top writers in Nashville. And although there are many amazing writers here in Canada, and I do work with them as well, I find it most productive when I go to Nashville to write and totally immerse myself in the writing scene there, so I can shut off from all other distractions. “When I am writing back in Canada, it is always rushed in between shows or meetings and it is hard to get my head in the game.
“Now that I have had more experience writing in the last couple of years, I am starting to really enjoy it. I like to think I have some interesting view points and ideas to share with the world. I am already starting to write for album number four.”
As for the event in Yorkton Nelson said it will be a family friendly affair.
“It is on the restaurant side patio, so kids are welcome,” she said. “Anyone attending the show this Friday should be ready for a good time – an intimate concert, in a laid-back setting. Its summer time and we will be on the patio – performing some of the songs on my new album, a few songs from my past couple of albums and a bunch of my favourite country covers.”
Since they only have room for about 50 guests on the patio in Yorkton, it is suggested people wanting to attend let them know in advance so that a spot can be saved.
Don’t call the restaurant, instead, just go to tinyurl.com/YorktonBPs, offered Nelson.
“As a bonus, I will have a special guest artist who will be performing on Friday night. Her name is Hayley Jensen and she is here in Saskatchewan, all the way from Australia,” added Nelson.
“Hayley is one of the top Australian country artists. Her and I will both be performing sets at Dauphin Country Fest the night before we get to Yorkton. She is a very talented vocalist, a total sweetheart and tons of fun. Canadian country fans are going to absolutely love her.”