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St. James woman receives first-ever Juno nomination

Collaboration with former teacher gets recognized

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Erin Propp (left) and Larry Roy’s album, Courage, My Love, has been nominated for vocal jazz album of the year at the Juno Awards.

PAULINE BOLDT Enlarge Image

Erin Propp (left) and Larry Roy’s album, Courage, My Love, has been nominated for vocal jazz album of the year at the Juno Awards. Photo Store

Winnipeg jazz duo Erin Propp and Larry Roy have been nominated for best vocal jazz album for their album, Courage, My Love, at the upcoming Juno Awards.

It’s Propp’s first album and first Juno nomination, and the 30-year-old St. James resident is nothing but thrilled.

"I feel awesome," Propp, a singer-songwriter, said of the nomination. "I always wanted to be a singer as a kid."

Propp and Roy, a  long-serving and well-respected guitarist on the local scene, worked on Courage, My Love for a year. Propp said they recorded songs during the spring and summer of 2012, and production took place from October to November.

"We got the disc in December of 2012, and released it January of 2013," Propp said.

Courage, My Love features 12 songs, seven of which are original works by Propp and Roy.

Propp explained that while there isn’t a common theme in her songs, her usual process when writing is to borrow stories from people around her.

"It’s a lot of true stories that are combined into one (song) that would make it hard to know who I’m writing about. I can hide the person’s identity by combining it with a couple of other stories," Propp said. "I’ve written about myself sometimes, but I usually run dry from that well."

Propp and Roy’s working relationship began when Propp student in the University of Manitoba’s jazz program and Roy was her professor.

"He was my prof for four years but we studied together a lot more in my fourth year. We had an hour a week for private lessons," Propp said. "We had a great musical collaboration, and it became clear to us that this was worth working on beyond a degree."

In addition to her bachelor’s degree in jazz studies, Propp took voice lessons with Dorothy Schapansky when she was a young girl. Schapansky, a friend of Propp’s family,  enlisted Propp after she was anonymously nominated to sing at her church, the Word of Life Mission Church in Niverville, Man.

"Our church used to host music nights where people can write anonymously who they want to sing. Someone nominated me and my three sisters," Propp said.

Propp’s sisters refused but Erin was all for it. With her oldest sister on piano, Propp sang  and Schapansky approached the family afterwards and offered to give her singing lessons.

"That was the most pivotal conversation of my life — when Dorothy asked my parents if she could give me lessons," Propp said.

Propp and Roy will perform at the Juno Awards Gala Dinner & Awards show on Saturday, March 29 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. The Juno Awards national broadcast is slated for Sunday, March 30 at MTS Centre.

The duo will perform at the Current Lounge on March 28 and are also slated to play at the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival in June.

For more information on the Juno Awards, visit junoawards.ca

Find out more about Propp at erinpropp.com


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