Former Star Search winner wins award

Langenburg's Jessica Moskaluke has earned another honour as she builds her country music career.

The former GX94 Star Search winner was one of eight performers to perform at the New Artist Showcase at the recent Canadian Country Music Awards.

A panel of jurors at the showcase event at the Hamilton Convention Centre adjudicated all the performances over the course of the evening, and selected Moskaluke to receive the 2011 CCMA New Artist Showcase Award.

Moskaluke said the win was a major thrill.

"I was incredibly overwhelmed with excitement when I found out I was selected," she told Yorkton This Week. "I had never been to the CCMAs before, let alone performed at them. That being said, I was also pretty surprised."

While a surprise, Moskaluke did feel good about her three-song performance, all of the songs were ones she had written.

"I felt I had a strong performance, as did the rest of the performers," she said, adding the competition was keen.

"Every artist on the stage that night was truly unique in their own right. Although they were all country music artists, they each had their own spin on the country genre. No two artists were the same, so I wasn't sure what the judges would be looking for."

In general terms, Moskaluke said she never expects to win when competing.

"I go into every competition or showcase the same way; I expect not to win," she said, in answering questioning shortly before a show in Cedar City, Utah, part of a tour with Tyler Ward through the United States, and a couple of Canadian dates.

"And although that may sound negative, I would rather go in with my best and come out with nothing than go in with nothing and expect to come out the best.

"That being said, of course I didn't expect to win! I was so surprised.

"And to have someone like Charlie Major, whom I've looked up to my whole life, present that award to me was honestly a moment I will never forget in my entire life. Come to think of it... the whole entire night was something I will remember for the rest of my life."

Moskaluke said being one of the eight to perform was a major accomplishment on its own.

"The process of being selected for the new artist showcase was pretty standard. About 160 applicants sent in a bio, photo, and two songs of their own original music," she said. "The judges then narrowed the applicants through several panels, and then eight artists were selected to showcase at the awards weekend in Hamilton."

Upon learning she was to be among the eight, Moskaluke tried to maintain her routine, but added the spotlight was a bit brighter with this show.

"I don't necessarily have a routine for preparation before shows. I just try to calm whatever nerves I may have, and run through the songs once or twice, and let the rest take care of itself," she said. "This show was a little bit different, in the sense that I was much more nervous than usual. I think I was just wanting to make sure that I could represent Saskatchewan in a way that would be respectful, interesting, and positive.

"So I allowed myself to have some alone time backstage to clear my head and go over my game plan."

It was also a night to meet some of the icons of country music too.

"Charlie Major was an incredibly great guy. Very polite, humble, and funny," said Moskaluke.

"Another highlight would have been Jessie Farrell. She actually emailed me after I won the award to congratulate me, and we were able to chat the following night.

"To be honest, there were probably 50 new performers I met that are special to me."

Saskatoon will host PotashCorp Country Music Week and the Canadian Country Music Awards next year, September 6-9, 2012. For more information visit

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