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Second studio album helps Mortlach’s Megan Nash win second SaskMusic award

The SaskMusic Awards Ceremony was held online on Jan. 20.
megan nash soft focus features
Megan Nash on her 2021 album "Soft Focus Features." Photo supplied

Mortlach-based musician Megan Nash won a second career trophy during the recent SaskMusic awards ceremony, adding to the singer-songwriter’s collection after winning a first trophy four years ago. 

The 2021 Saskatchewan Music Awards was held online on Jan. 20. Nash won the Alternative Artist of the Year Award, while she was nominated for Rock/Pop Artist of the Year and Music Video of the Year for Chew Quietly/Clean Slate. 

The first award Nash won through SaskMusic was in 2018 — when the organization launched — where she took home the “Breaking Borders Award.” She has been nominated several times since and has also received several Juno nominations.

“This is the first time I’ve taken a genre-specific category, so it’s very exciting for me and it means a lot,” she said. “And I think as a songwriter that puts songs first always — when I’m producing a song, I’m thinking about what’s best — I really like the title of alternative because … it’s this all-encompassing genre of wherever you want to go kind of title.

“So it’s all kind of exciting for me.”

Since the awards were held online, SaskMusic had artists record acceptance speeches beforehand for the categories where they had been nominated. Therefore, Nash did not know she had won anything until the video aired, which excited and surprised the artist.

The Mortlach musician believes the SaskMusic awards have a community feel and signify that Saskatchewan artists are being seen and heard. 

“Winning a Saskatchewan Music award feels like the ultimate encouragement to just keep moving forward with my art,” she said.

Nash’s second studio album, Soft Focus Features, released last November, features songs with different sounds to them, from saxophones to synthesizers to country. Thus, she thought winning an award for alternative artists was a good fit considering it’s not easy to put the album into any genre — although Indie alternative or roots could fit, she acknowledged.

Being song-focused and a strong singer-songwriter is where most of Nash’s efforts go. 

“I love writing songs, and music for me starts with lyrics. That’s the ground zero for me with songs,” she said, noting she co-produces all songs with supporting band The Best of Intentions. 

For example, on a song such as Chew Quietly, which is about Nash’s anxiety about dating, the band wanted people to feel anxious as they listened and accompanied Nash on that journey, she continued. 

Nash and The Best of Intentions have performed during the pandemic, but she has been hesitant to tour more since the industry is still dysfunctional. Yet, during one show in November, she was grateful that attendees sang along to songs from the new album despite its recent release.

Nash is thrilled with how the album turned out and singled out Moose Javian Justin Bender for mixing it. She also enjoyed collaborating with Yellowknife artist Digawolf on Table For One (reprise).

“I thought about collaboration differently making this album because we were all doing it through the computer,” she said. “I would do my vocal part and then send it to Justin Bender through WeTransfer or whatever. My guitarist would send me voice memos so we could do a vibe check of his parts from Saskatoon.

“So it opened up my mind a bit to collaboration, so I didn’t really hesitate to reach out to Digawolf to sing on the song. And I don’t know if I would have thought of that collaboration prior to the pandemic.” 

Nash continues to work on writing songs and developing another album. She plans to perform when it becomes safe, while she wants to tour again across Canada and the world.

“I love being on stage,” she said, adding she also appreciates the support Moose Jaw has shown over the years. 

Soft Focus Features is available at the Co-op Gas Bar and Against the Grain on Main Street. 

Megan Nash and The Best of Intentions are scheduled to perform at the Mae Wilson Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 29.