2017 has been a big year for Quin Etheridge-Pedden.
The 15-year-old Lantzville fiddler released his debut album, Embark, in May and this weekend he is up against four other musical acts from Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario for the 2017 Canadian Folk Music Young Performer of the Year Award.The ceremony takes place this weekend in Ottawa.
It is Etheridge-Pedden’s first Canadian Folk Music Award nomination. The organization announced the nominees in September, but when Etheridge-Pedden’s mother came to him with the news it had been so long since he first submitted his album for consideration that he forgot all about the awards.
“My mom said, ‘You were nominated,’ and I said, ‘For what?’” he said.
“After I realized what it was for I was super excited. Really happy to be part of that. I would probably say my mom was the most excited out of the two of us, just because she’s my biggest supporter, I guess. She’s my biggest fan.”
Etheridge-Pedden has been playing the fiddle since the age of six and has since taken up the mandolin and guitar as well. His goal is to attend Boston’s renowned Berklee College of Music after graduating from high school. He said recognition from the Canadian Folk Music Awards is important for a young artist with a budding music career.
“It’s super significant because it’s almost like a jump-start,” he said.
“I’m doing all these little things so hopefully I can get big, I guess, and it’s super helpful because whether I win or not, it doesn’t really matter. It’s still on my resumé. It says nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award and that to me is a really big deal.”
Although people have been congratulating him on his progress over this past year, Etheridge-Pedden said it has been a bit of a challenge being a 15-year-old with musical ambitions. He said the recent award nomination is an encouragement to keep going.
“I’m 15, so I’m still going to school and stuff so it’s kind of like I obviously don’t have a full career, but, I mean, it’s starting,” he said.
“So I’m that much busier, I’m doing that many more things plus still going to school. I mean, it’s super motivating when I get things like this, being nominated for Canadian Folk Music Awards … but I’m still getting used to the grind, I guess, of having a career.”
Etheridge-Pedden has a few scattered solo gigs planned for the near future. His biggest upcoming show will be a performance with the Fiddelium string ensemble at the Port Theatre in the spring.