Juno nomination astonishes Ottawa musician
By Craig Macartney | Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Photo courtesy of Colin Bernard
OTTAWA, ONWhen he heard his newest album received a nod for a 2013 Juno nomination, musician Colin Bernard was completely surprised.
It was only when prompted by his wife that Bernard had hesitantly submitted his album Hold On in the Contemporary Christian Album of the Year category, an honour which eventually went to The City Harmonic. Others in the category included Manafest, Newworldson and Thousand Foot Krutch.
"The day they were announcing the nominees, I had forgotten about it until [a friend] sent a text congratulating me. It was such a shock. We were just doing this because we love music," says Bernard, who often plays with his wife, Monica, and writes with his brother Joel.
Bernard, 43, grew up in New Brunswick and started playing and writing music when he was 10 years old.
"We were the typical Maritime family, playing bluegrass and folk music in the kitchen," says Bernard. "My big brother taught me to play the guitar and mandolin, the piano I learned on my own. We even had a Hammond organ."
The youngest of nine children, Bernard was heavily influenced by music his brothers likedeverything from Elton John to U2.This diverse exposure taught him to play and compose a range of musical styles.
Together with his wife, Bernard released two albums in the late 1990s, but with little success. Gradually he forgot his dream of playing music professionally.
"We finally came to a point where we really didn't care anymore. We were raising our kids, serving in church and happy with that, it didn't need to be flashy."
Several years ago Bernard recorded a few songs on a digital recorder and his wife suggested he send them to producers in Nashville, Tennessee.
"We looked at who produced three artists who's sound we wanted to emulate," Bernard explains. When two responded, he was shocked. "We did a double take, looked up at God and said, 'Are you doing this?'"
He flew to Nashville and recorded Hold On, an adult contemporary/modern worship album, which comprises three worship songs and three "songs with a message." Bernard's music won a Gospel Music Association Canada Covenant Award in 2011 and was nominated for another in 2012.
Bernard says he feels "it's as though we had to let go completely in our hearts so that God could take over."