Langenburg-raised Jess Moskaluke found herself in awe for the second year in a row last Sunday, when she won her second Female Vocalist of the Year Award at the Canadian Country Music Association awards.
“I was so excited. I was a little speechless, but you can’t be speechless for too long, because ironically, they make you give an acceptance speech,” Moskaluke says.
Moskaluke grew up in Langenburg, and always had a passion for music, from singing in the church choir to entering singing competitions and posting her videos on Youtube. She’s traveled a long way from her humble roots to be a two-time CCMA award winner, winner of multiple SCMA (Saskatchewan Country Music Association) awards, and have two full-length albums out, with a third EP on the way September 25, called Kiss Me Quiet.
The title track from her new EP was released last week, along with a music video.
In 2013, Moskaluke won two awards at the SCMA awards, female vocalist of the year, and single of the year, and her first CCMA, which she says came as a complete surprise.
“I don’t think I will ever expect anything. In this industry, things change so quickly, and if you are not working as hard as you possibly can, that’s when things will get sniped away from you. So, I’ve never expected any success to come my way, but I’m very fortunate it has,” she says.
This year, along with her second CCMA, Moskaluke also won the SCMA Fans’ Choice Award, Female Vocalist of the Year, Single of the Year, Video of the Year, and Album of the Year.
The past two years, Moskaluke says, have been a complete whirlwind.
“It’s been crazy and very exciting,” she says. “It’s been very overwhelming, having your day slotted into 15 minute time slots—that’s something growing up in a small town you’re really not used to because you’re kind of like, oh, I have this and then I’ll visit so and so. So it’s been an adjustment for me to have my day so concisely scheduled, and it’s been a lot of adjustments. Lots of really great things, and some things that are difficult, but it’s a big career move and a learning experience.”
Moskaluke has been on the road touring since the end of February this year, and aside from a short break back in Langenburg last week—time to do her laundry, Moskaluke says. She’ll continue to tour until November. She is now on tour with Dean Brody and Paul Brandt.
Moskaluke admits that touring can be exhausting, but she keeps pushing through and being passionate.
“I just know this is what I chose to do and what I enjoy doing, so I just get up and look at my schedule, and say, okay, let’s get this done,” she says.
She says that winning the CCMA awards encourage her that she’s on the right track with her music career and that she should keep working hard.
“For me personally, the CCMA association has been great, and the awards show has been great, but obviously, this is not about doing something for awards or accolades, it’s about doing something that you are passionate about and that you enjoy,” Moskaluke says. “But as a result of some of the CCMA awards, it feels like a pat on the back from your peers, and it feels like somebody telling you that you are going in the right direction and that you are doing something right.”
Moskaluke says that despite the fame she’s accumulated, her small-town upbringing in Langenburg prepared her well for the country music industry in Canada.
“The country music industry, especially in Canada has a very small town feel. It’s a small industry, and once you’ve immersed yourself in it, it’s easy to know everybody—so, the same small town rules apply.”
Back home, Moskaluke says that she’s finding it odd to come home as a bigger country star each year, and while many people continue to think of her as Jess Moskaluke from down the road, there’s some more starstruck fans.
“It’s a bit strange to me, I certainly prefer when people remember me as Jess from down the road. But, it’s interesting for them to see someone on their TV more than they get to see them in person, unfortunately, these days,” she says. “I was a swimming instructor for a long time, so a lot of those kids that are growing up and are now in high school, I taught them swimming, so they think that’s pretty cool.”
Moskaluke says as her career in country music continues to grow, she is taking some time to reflect on where she came from.
“I probably need to, eventually, when I have time, sit back and have some time to reflect. Every once in a while something hits you, and you think, gosh, two years ago, I wasn’t doing this, and it’s pretty cool to reflect,” Moskaluke says.