For Selkirk College music student Dylann Heidi McPherson, just being nominated for a Kootenay Music Award was a big deal. She didn’t think she’d actually win the Best New Artist category.
“It’s just a dinky little song on piano,” 18-year-old McPherson said of her song The Rope, which her nomination was based on.
But her fans — and especially her mother — thought otherwise. Kootenay Music Award winners are selected by online vote, and her mom made sure everyone she knew across the country was voting daily.
“My mom’s like my biggest fan, and I think she’s a big reason why I won,” McPherson told the Star Tuesday.
The awards were handed out Friday night at Spiritbar. McPherson, being too young to enter the bar, gave her mom an acceptance speech to read on her behalf.
In the days since winning the award, McPherson has already been contacted by a producer interested in helping her with her first album, which she hopes to complete this summer.
McPherson has been singing as long as she can remember. She joined a local children’s choir, directed by Allison Girvan, when she was eight years old and moved into Girvan’s Corazón audition choir in her teens.
Also self-taught on piano and guitar, McPherson began writing her own songs in high school. She didn’t learn how to read music until last fall, when she started the Selkirk College music program.
“I’d just play around until I found something that sounded good, then record it on my computer so I wouldn’t forget it,” McPherson said, noting that when she shared her material with her instructors at Selkirk she found out she was playing piano at a much higher level than she expected.
McPherson said she hopes to one day make a living as a singer-songwriter. She doesn’t have any solo shows planned for this summer — instead focusing on writing music for her debut album and working to save money for school — but hopes to get a tour together once she finished her second year of the music program.
For the updates from McPherson, who writes under the name Dylann Heidi, check out her Facebook fan page at facebook.com/dylannheidimusic. She also has a YouTube channel, youtube.com/dylannheidi, where she posts mostly cover songs and a few originals.
A full list of Kootenay Music Award winners is posted here.
Watch a video of McPherson singing her award-winning, original song The Rope below: