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Foothills singer/songwriters nominated for YYC Music Awards

Jake Vance and Kelsey Raine will attend the YYC Music Awards ceremony at The Palace Theatre Sept. 22.

The spotlight on Calgary’s musical talent is shining beyond the city after Foothills singer/songwriters were nominated for YYC Music Awards.

Black Diamond’s Jake Vance received a nomination each for Music Video of the Year and Pop Recording of the Year for his song White Lights, while Okotokian Kelsey Raine received a nomination for People’s Choice Awards for her song Hold On.

The YYC Music Awards celebrates the wide range of talent in Calgary’s music community, with its third annual gala taking place at The Palace Theatre Sept. 22.

Vance said the nominations were a pleasant surprise. He wasn’t aware of them until he received congratulations on Facebook about a month ago.

“It’s great to get nominated, even considered,” said Vance. “There are so many talented musicians in this area, it’s just a great feeling to be considered.”

The 23-year-old multi-genre musician recorded White Lights in Cougar’s Sports Bar & Grill in Turner Valley last year.

“The video was done all in one take following a woman walking through a bar causing mayhem,” he said. “It’s just one shot of her causing all sorts of shenanigans directed by my friend Elie Dominos.”

It won Best Independent Music Video at the 2019 Canadian Independent Music Video Awards before being nominated for the YYC Music Awards.

The YYC Music Awards nominated Vance for Male Artist of the Year and Single of the Year for his song The Poet in 2017.

Since then, his genre transitioned from folk to pop.

“I just wanted to shake things up and try something different with my music,” he said. “I still love playing every kind of music. I just wanted to release something new. I’m writing new music, all the genres combined. There’s rock, pop, singer/songwriter acoustic stuff I’m working on.”

After attending the awards ceremony two years ago, Vance is eager to get face-to-face with others in the industry.

“You get to see everyone you know in the industry,” he said. “There’s always a networking aspect anytime you go to a music event in the city.”

This year will be 35-year-old Raine’s first time attending the YYC Music Awards after being nominated for People’s Choice.

“It’s pretty high honour,” she said. “Any other award is amazing as well but those are chosen by a small amount of people in the industry whereas you get into People’s Choice you have to have a huge reach of people that decide they like you, not just a couple.”

Raine has had overwhelming feedback from her alternative rock song Hold On.

“I’ve heard they like that it’s really dynamic,” she said. “It’s a good mix of a ballad and heavier rock. It’s got a lot of elements instrumentally. It’s got some cello in there and the piano and electric guitar.”

Fifty artists were selected for People’s Choice before it was put to fan votes to narrow it down to five. Among those is High River’s Craig Carswell, who Raine collaborated with for Hold On. Carswell is nominated in the award for the track Run.

Black Diamond-Turner Valley area's Taken by Sanity group is also nominated in the People's Choice category for its cut Sleepwalker.

Raine said she’s excited to be a part of the awards ceremony for the first time.

“I’m looking forward to having a good time and listening to a lot of sweet local music and getting that whole experience,” she said.

Hold On was Raine’s first release. She’s now working on an EP with four or five originals to release later this year.

“I play every day to some degree whether I’m performing or writing at home or collaborating,” she said. “It just keeps getting more and more momentum.”

Raine said her music is a progression from writing poetry as a child.

“I’ve been working towards this type of thing for my whole life, but not really knowing which avenue I was going to get my creativity out,” she said. “It’s a really vulnerable thing to reveal your soul to people and put it out to strangers like, ‘Here it is, I hope you like it.’ For me it’s a therapeutic thing, it’s not just something that’s pure entertainment.”

For more details about the YYC Music Awards or to purchase tickets go to

Tammy Rollie

About the Author: Tammy Rollie

Tammy Rollie is an award-winning reporter at, the Western Wheel newspaper, 51 Degrees North Magazine and the Okotokian Magazine. For story tips contact
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