The electronic DJ duo Naturalist, consisting of Sam Moffat and Caleb Brown from Fernie, won Artist of the Year at the Kootenay Music Awards in Nelson on Saturday. Photo: Masa

Kootenay Music Awards event features ‘amazing diversity of talent’

The Kootenay Co-op Radio fundraiser handed out 10 awards on Saturday

Naturalist, a duo of electronic DJs from Fernie, won Artist of the Year at the Kootenay Music Awards last weekend.

The second of the two awards chosen by public voting, Video of the Year, went to Post-Modern Connection for Memories.

All the other awards were chosen by a jury:

Best Rock Song: Ropa Rsk — Astrojet “How Do You Break Up With a Friend?”

Best Hip-Hop Artist: Mabus McLaren — “You Don’t Know Me”

Best Rhythm and Blues Song: Holly Hyatt — “River Flows”

Best Pop Song: Charlie Pears-Smith — “Little Miss Dysfunctional”

Best Roots Song: Mr. Dr. Brotherman — “Fancy Walkin”

Best Jam-Band/Artist: The Hilties — “Delivered”

Best Electronic DJ: Mary Ann Marzinzik Spears

Best Electronic Producer: FRASE — “I Need It Now Ft. Fawna”

The awards event, which took place at the Spirit Bar with multiple performers including last year’s Artist of the Year Dawson Rutledge, was produced by Kootenay Co-op Radio as a fundraiser for the station.

KCR’s Stephanie Myers, one of the organizers, says she was struck more than ever this year by the quality of the submissions.

“It’s not only the amazing diversity of talent in the region but the sheer quality of that talent,” she told the Star. “Getting down to the top four was really, really difficult for the judges. The quality of the music chops around this area blows your mind. You hear this all the time about Nelson, punch above our weight and all that, but it is so true when it comes to music.”

Myers said it has become clear over the last few years that winning a Kootenay Music Award can be a career booster.

“Dawson Rutledge won Artist of the Year last year. He had to get a float plane and borrow a truck just to get here to play this time, which was really sweet of him to do, but he said the award was the turning point in his career that people started to notice him.”

Myers said next year the awards might include “a couple of days of workshops, sort of like the Arts Council does, how to make a press kit and get your music out there.”

Naturalist’s Artist of the Year win lands them a performance spot at the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival.

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