Stacey McKitrick was singing before she could even string a sentence together – at least that’s what her mom tells her.
After years of performing her rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb for family, and singing along to Reba McEntire on the radio, the 25-year-old Abbotsford resident now has a Juno and has her sights set on winning at the Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMA).
McKitrick has been nominated for the Best New Artist Showcase award at the event, which takes place on Monday, Sept. 12 in Hamilton, Ont.
She has also been shortlisted to perform at FanFest, a concert during CCMA week which features numerous local and international artists.
It’s quite the feat for someone who has yet to release her self-titled debut album, which drops on Sept. 27.
While she’s been working on the CD for three years with manager Tracey Singer, McKitrick has been preparing for this since she was a child.
At nine years old, McKitrick performed her first public show at Agrifair. When she was 17, she won Abbotsford Idol.
Following a call to the City of Abbotsford, in which McKitrick requested the chance to perform at local events, she started singing at the Canada Day festivities and fundraisers like Run for the Cure.
Song-writing was also a large part of McKitrick’s childhood. After learning the skill from her first singing coach, she penned her debut song, “If I could touch a rainbow.”
McKitrick laughs at the memory, but credits the song-writing process with helping her express herself throughout high school at Yale Secondary.
For her upcoming album, McKitrick put her writing skills to work by travelling to Nashville to collaborate with some award-winning writers.
McKitrick feels her album is well rounded, covering everything from ballads to rock-country. There’s also some pop, two-step and edgier pieces thrown in.
“I love the sassy songs that are a little bit in your face,” she said, adding that she stands behind the topics she sings about – many of them empowering women.
If she had to classify her sound, it would somewhere between blues singer Bonnie Raitt and rock ‘n’ roll star Stevie Nicks.
“It has that older, rockier kind of sound and a smouldering edge,” said McKitrick. “But it’s also like the new country Carrie Underwood kind of sound.”
Whatever it is, it’s working.
In March, McKitrick won a Juno for taking part in the Young Artists for Haiti song, Wavin’ Flag, which won single of the year.
On Sept. 10 she will be performing for a group of judges who will determine if she will win a CCMA for the Best New Artist Showcase award.
Also nominated to perform at the FanFest concert, McKitrick is depending on votes from the public. Whoever receives the most likes on their Facebook page will get to perform.
Voting can be done online by searching CCMA FanFest Final Spot- Stacey McKitrick on Facebook. The deadline for voting is Monday, Sept. 29.
McKitrick is hoping for some hometown support to make her international dreams come true.
“I have some big, wild dreams. Some people think I’m a dreamer… But I want to perform across the world. I am dreaming big and for the stars.”
McKitrick’s latest song, Somebody Else, is currently available on iTunes.
For more information, visit www.StaceyMcKitrick.com.