Matt James won the Best Country/Americana Album Of The Year award at the 19th Annual Native American Music Awards (NAMA) held this Saturday, November 2 before a sold-out crowd at the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino in Niagara Falls, New York. The gala event that celebrated and honoured Native America’s newest and brightest entertainers in the field of music.
“Winning the award for Best Country/Americana Album of the year makes me feel so proud and it is a reward as I worked extremely hard putting this project together. I had to deal with the passing of my father James Naveau which took me so low but with the spirit of my dad in my heart I found the strength and motivation to go and follow my dream,” explained James.
James, who is a member of Mattagami First Nation, near Timmins, Ontario has been experiencing accolades in the music industry for the past few years. He is a multi-award winner, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter, living in Sudbury where he has become popular over the years as a hairstylist. He was nominated for three categories for NAMA including Upcoming Star, Best Country/Americana Album and Best Video Concept. He was competing with thousands of artists for these nominations.
James released his first album in the summer of 2018 which pushed him up the music charts. His album ‘A Miner’s Prayer’ has had success with three of his singles reaching number one on the True North Country Independent Canadian Music Countdown. James has also won the True North Country Canadian Independent Artist of the year for 2018. In addition, he also debuted at spot 39 for Indigenous Music Countdown International, reaching up to the top 20. He was recently also nominated for the Music and Film in Motion Awards for most outstanding Indigenous artist and also Nominated for Country Album of the Year at the Indigenous Music Awards in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
He has been active and appearing in many live venues and was an opening act this past summer at The Mattawa Voyageur Days headlining with Lonestar and making front-page news in The North Bay Nugget newspaper.
James is heading to Toronto for the week of November 14-18, 2019 as a Featured Artist for CD Baby for their first time ever Artist Spotlight, for the months of December and January, which will be available to view at www.cdbaby.com and on their YouTube channel. He will be performing at The Hughes Room and a few other places in Toronto during the week. New York-based iHeartRadio declared James, ‘The New Music Challenge Grand Champion’ as he won five consecutive Knockout Challenges beating out Artists such as Dan & Shay, Charly Major, The Recklaws, Aaron Pritchett and Kadooh. James can be found on his website at www.mattjamesmusic.ca and with the tag ‘Matt James Official’ on Facebook and Instagram.
“I want to give a great big shout out to my home Mattagami First Nation for consistently being there for me in family, friends, and fans. This energy and support really helped me be motivated and dedicate so much hard work to make all this happen. Thank you especially to Lee D Roy for showing me that I could be whatever I want to be in this world, and for proving to me what true friendship is really all about. I owe so much of my life to you for all you have shown and given to me. For placing that guitar in my hands so long ago,” commented James.
He also expressed his gratitude for CD Baby personnel Heli Del Moral and Darryl Hurs and to Juno Award winner Lawrence Martin.
“CD Baby has been so important for me and they really work at helping their artists and promoting them. I look forward to many more successes with my work as a CD Baby artist. I also give my thanks to Lawrence Martin for taking me under his wing as a mentor and a guide. Cindy Babcock, I will always remember as that person who pushed me when I needed it most,” explained James.
He also expressed thanks to Ken Royster and people at direct Imaging Studios in Nashville, for supplying him with the best quality direction and sound in producing his songs.
“Of course when I close my eyes at night I think of my dad James and my mom Linda Baulne and I am grateful to them for bringing me into this wonderful world and for being my inspiration. I promise you, mom and dad, that I will do everything I can to someday stand on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. I also thank the Creator for everything and everyone in my life,” said James.