If Matt Epp had to pick any song to be nominated for a Juno, it would have been this one.
Epp wrote "When You Know" with fellow Canadian songwriter Serena Ryder. She’s now up for the Songwriter of the Year Juno for her songs with Epp, "Stompa," and "What I Wouldn’t Do."
"I’m just excited that the song is part of the nomination because it takes the pressure off me, but it gives attention to the song, which is my favourite part of all this happening" Epp, 33, said on the phone from Toronto.
He said the song was very personal for both Ryder and himself.
'I just realized that music was the only thing that could express fully the passion I had in my heart. Hopefully I’m not sounding too cheesy,' --Matt Epp
"Both us had the experience of falling in love with someone you just knew was the right one," Epp said. "So it comes from a place of love and we were both experiencing that in our personal lives."
Epp was born approximately 150 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg in Crystal City, Man., before moving to Fort Rouge to pursue filmmaking in 2000.
"I came to Winnipeg to make skateboard movies," Epp said. "I started hanging out with Alex Sannie of The Lytics and we started making music."
While in Winnipeg, Epp also attended two years of business classes at Red River College. He took a break to focus on filmmaking and music, but when he went back to finish he said they had no record of him being there.
"But at that point I knew I wasn’t going to be doing that (going into business), I knew I was an artist making skate movies and working in film, and then music happened."
It was in 2002 that Epp realized music was where he needed to focus his talents.
"I just realized that music was the only thing that could express fully the passion I had in my heart. Hopefully I’m not sounding too cheesy," Epp said. "Really the truth is that I had all this emotion and passion and life and joy that I had to express, and the only thing that I could do that with, with the immediacy and the efficiency of art, was through music.
"It was what I needed to do."
Epp said that passion hasn’t dried up.
"I didn’t get into it to get famous or to get an award or to get rich," Epp said. "The reason I got into it was for something that can’t dry up. That’s why I make a lot of records and I slowly keep doing my thing."
Epp’s lyric-heavy music has become increasingly popular in Germany. He said he’s being touring there since 2010 hopping the pond a couple of times a year.
"The German audience studies lyrics a lot," Epp said. "They really pay attention to the way things are written. They really connect with things that (have) feeling.
"Those are some of my strengths," Epp continued. "I can offer thoughtful writing and passionate singing. Thankfully they’ve connected with it and make it possible for me to make a living at playing music."
Epp will be performing at the Juno Songwriters’ Circle at the Burton Cummings Theatre March 30 as part of Juno Week events. After that, Epp will be on a two-week tour of Western Canada with Australian singer Kim Churchill, after which he plans to take a two-week break before heading back to Germany for another two-week tour.
The Junos will take place at the MTS Centre on March 30.
To learn more about Epp and to hear more of his music, visit his website