We are thrilled to share with you, our “Featured Indie Artist” for the month of June, were pretty sure you already know her, from Kingston, Ontario, Abby Stewart !
Abby is a singer/songwriter that has been described as a true Canadian girl! She fishes, plays hockey and softball but feels most at home on the music stage. You definitely can’t get more Canadian than that !Abby’s parents introduced her to rock music as a child and she’s always loved to sing ! At the age of 6, she sang a song in a school talent contest, and loved it so much, that she hasn’t looked back !
Stewart has had the opportunity of touring with Hunter Hayes , Dan + Shay, and has had the privilege of singing duets, with Dean Brody, Dallas Smith, Aaron Pritchett, and the Hunter Brothers! Abby has opened for many top Canadian talents, including Cold Creek County, Brett Kissel at CNE and in Ottawa on his Ice, Snow and 30 Below Tour. That’s not all, she’s opened for Tebey, Michelle Wright, Emerson Drive, Tim Hicks, Jessica Mitchell, and many others! That’s quite the accomplishments !
Abby and her 4 piece band, has performed sets at some of Canada’s biggest fairs, music festivals like Boots & Hearts Music Festival - where she was one of ten chosen for the Emerging Artist Competition, Havelock Country Jamboree, Trackside Music Festival and was chosen 1 of 8 across Canada for the “She’s the One competition” at Ottawa Bluesfest, and several others. While on her 2019 visit to Ottawa RBC Bluesfest, she received an invitation to promote the festival & showcase her own music, by appearing on CTV Morning Live! That’s pretty exciting in our books !
Stewart’s voice is that of an angel, that’s versatile, being able to sing a Dolly Parton song one minute and belt out a Carrie Underwood’s cover the next minute. She has been turning heads and collecting fans, every single time she performs, and rightly so!
She released her EP "Firsts", in 2015 which included “I’m Still Faster”, followed by her first music video, which now has over half a million views on YouTube! In 2017 she collaborated with Invictus Entertainment, Big Star Records and released a duet entitled "What If They're Wrong?" to national Canadian radio. A proud accomplishment we’re sure, especially at the age of 16 ! It peaked at #87 on the Canadian BDS Chart and was featured on 22 stations from coast to coast. Way to go Abby !
In addition to the achievements indicated above, Stewart received a Maestro Award at the World Strides competition in New York City for a vocal solo. She was the Winner of the Junior & Open divisions of the Country Singing Showdown at the Kingston Fair in 2010 and 2012 & was 1 of 6 winners of the first annual YGK Emerging Musicians competition.
Abby shows her love by contributing to her community, through her music. She has worked with the POSSIBLE Campaign for many years, ending the stigma surrounding people living with addiction problems. Her song “No More Falling Down” was dedicated to them, and was their 2017 campaign song! How cool is that ! Recently, the music video for “No More Falling Down” is posted on her YouTube channel. She has also worked with Lionhearts Inc, which provides a safe place for homeless communities of Kingston and Ottawa, to come together for food and live music through The Embassy Live Music Cafe. Lionhearts & Loving Hands Kingston have also been providing COVID-19 relief by providing free meals throughout all of quarantine. Abby has been raising money for these charities through live online concerts, where ALL proceeds go towards their relief. We can’t say enough about this talented young lady. Her contributions to all of these amazing charities, is a testament to who Abby really is and how lucky her community is, to have her.
Abby has taken some time to write and gain more experience in the craft she loves. Several trips to Nashville has gained her recognition in the field, collaborating with some of the best writers Music Row has to offer. Co-writes with Phil Barton, Patricia Conroy, Dave Thompson, Bill DiLuigi, and others, have led to more originals. She hopes in the future to write with Liz Rose, Aaron Goodvin & Deric Ruttan, to name a few. Further collaboration with CCMA Producer of the Year - Jeff Dalziel shows great promise for new music in 2020. We can’t wait !
Abby has some audacious goals, like singing with her hero Bryan Adams, to singing on the Grand Ole Opry stage, and we know with her talent and determination, that she will make it happen !
You can check her out on all the social media platforms!
Our “Featured Indie Artist” for the month of May is Alberta’s own, Mariya Stokes ! In January 2020, she was recognized and awarded, the Female Artist of the year (for 2019) by Association of Country Music in Alberta. Such an amazing honour, and we can’t think of anyone else that was more deserving!
Mariya is originally from Stavely, Alberta but currently resides in Calgary, Alberta. Mariya’s music influences were/are Lindi Ortega, Kacey Musgraves, Mary Gauthier, Ingrid Michaelson, Dixie Chicks & Maren Morris. Stokes debut single "Hands on My Body" was released in February 2019, and it debuted at #10 on iTunes Canadian Country Chart ! and was #8 most sold single in Canada, on iTunes, February 1st, 2019! It was also added to Spotify's curated New Music Nashville and Down Home Country playlists and has over 120,000 streams on Spotify alone ! She was crowned the #1 Most Active Indie at Canadian Radio, the week of August 9th, 2019 (Yangaroo/DMDS).
She may be from a small town, but her songwriting talent, certainly isn’t small ! Stokes gained international recognition when she won two awards for her work, including the “2016 International Modern Country Songwriter of the Year” from the North American Country Music Association. She has been a co-writer for other artists, Leaving Thomas, even crossing over to other genres of music, like alternative pop (Celia Palli) & blues (Devin Cooper). She wrote her first song at the age of 14 ! Stokes has worked with Grammy-winning producer and songwriter Stephen "Koz" Kozmeniuk during SOCAN Song House, as well as, Terri Clark, during her RBC Master in Residence program at National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta (May, 2019).
Stokes was the Runner up in Project WILD, a country artist development program run by Alberta Music, WILD 95.3 (Calgary), and Jim Pattison Group (November, 2019). She also was selected to participate in Canada’s Music Incubator Artist Entrepreneur program in Toronto, honing her craft and learning more about the business side of the music industry. We are sure it was worth the time invested!
Mariya has always liked to give back to the community. So much so, that two of her songs are featured on the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre's albums "Shelter From the Storm" (2015) and "Verses Vs. Homelessness" (2016) in Calgary, Alberta. Mariya has recently performed on the Alberta Country Music Awards Show 2020, CCMA Showcase in Hamilton 2018, Alberta Spotlight in National Music Center 2018, Calgary Stampede 2018 & Country Thunder Alberta 2018 & 2019 and numerous others. Stokes has shared the stage with Jann Arden, Leaving Thomas, Jocelyn Alice for the Grey Cup Festival & Trixie Mattel & Nice Horse, to name a few.
We had the pleasure of meeting Mariya in Calgary Alberta at a pre-event for the Canadian Country Music Association Awards. We were blown away by her voice, she has a very unique tone, definitely country with a touch of blues shining through and her ability to captivate the audience, through her performance, she’s amazing! We are looking forward to the next time we get to see her perform ! We see a bright future for this young lady, the sky really is the limit and we’re sure your going to love her too!