Celebrating country tunes

Manitoba awards show highlights local musicians

The Manitoba Country Music Awards (MCMA) are celebrating local talent on Nov. 10, including up-and-coming musician Kayla Luky.

Luky was nominated in three categories – female artist of the year; roots artist, duo or group of the year; and emerging artist award – and made the list of musicians who would perform at the televised awards show.

“I’m excited to be alongside the house band and all these wonderful musicians,” Luky says.

She says she taught herself to play the guitar at age 13 but has not spent much time in the 14 years since focusing solely on her music career.

“I went to U of W (University of Winnipeg) for a year, and then I worked for a year, and then I decided it was time to leave, so I moved back to Grandview,” Luky says. “There, I worked in a bank. I worked as the recreation director in our town. I taught Ukrainian dancing.”

She’s currently on maternity leave from her jobs as a Ukrainian dancing teacher and as an admin for Community Futures.

She calls this her “crooked journey” to where she is now: getting recognition at the MCMAs and about to release a new album.

“There’s lots to experience in life, and it’s pretty short, so you’ve got to jam it in,” Luky says. Plus, she likes keeping busy.

She says she had initially planned to release Back to the Dirt in August of last year, but then she found out she was pregnant and had to postpone.

Luky says it’s been difficult to plan for its later release date with her baby, but feels she invested too much into her work to not get it out there.

“It just takes a little longer, because I have somebody else to care for now,” Luky says.

She’s scheduled a CD release party for Jan. 19 at The Park Theatre.

President of the MCMA board Kerry Kingsland says the awards give musicians like Luky an opportunity to further their careers.

“It provides a platform for artists to be able to have their work recognized. The show itself is a wonderful opportunity for people to perform and be seen,” he says.

Luky was one of 11 musicians invited to perform. Among the others were Don Amero, Doc Walker and Kendra Kay.

However, he says the event is also meant to shine a light on country music stations and other industry professionals in the province, and there are award categories for each.

“We’ve got a very vibrant country music scene, you know? We’ve got a diverse group of artists,” Kingsland says.

He says the Aboriginal and roots communities are particularly strong in Manitoba, and those groups are also highlighted by the MCMAs.

Published in Volume 71, Number 10 of The Uniter (November 10, 2016)

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