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Rose Cousins plays the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Sept. 23 with opening act Rachel Sermani. Tickets are $37.80.
For Rose Cousins, a mountain top could be found in Regina.
The P.E.I.-born singer, who now lives in Halifax, won her first Juno award there on April 20.
“You forget that 100 per cent of your time you are climbing this mountain and it’s really hard work,” she says. “Everything has to be really fluid and open to opportunity, although some of them pay and some really don’t. But the whole time you’re working and climbing up this mountain but there are times when you get to see how hard you were working.
“You get a moment where it’s ‘Oh, wow ... I finally see the view from the top of this hill that I forgot I was climbing. That’s how I see it.”
Cousins won the Juno for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year: Solo.
“I do remember very clearly the moment that my name was called and it was surreal and awesome all at the same time,” Cousins said.
It was one of two nerve-wracking moments for her that evening. She also performed during the visual presentation remembering Canadian musicians who had died in the previous year.
“I wasn’t calm for any part of that night,” she remembers.
Cousins makes her first trip to Prince Albert when she plays the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Sept. 23 with opening act Rachel Sermani. Tickets are $37.80.
Her music defies neat categorization, although the piano-based singer-songwriter incorporates elements of folk, pop and traditional sounds.
She’s not too worried about how people define it.
“It satisfies me; the way that I do it is cathartic,” she says. “It helps me through things. It’s something that is a release for me. Categorically in the end it doesn’t really matter.”
The Kensington, P.E.I., product released her debut EP Only So Long in 2002.
She released a second EP, Miles to Go in 2003 before releasing three full-length albums, If You Were for Me (2006), The Send Off (2009) and We Have Made a Spark (2012).
She also released a three-song EP called Your Heart Turned On Me earlier this year.
It has been a big year for her.
Cousin’s song Go First appeared on the March 14 episode of Grey’s Anatomy, one of the top-rated dramas on TV. The ballad played in the background of an episode called Transplant Wasteland as the mother of an ALS patient clings to her dying son.
“It was really exciting,” she says. “I don’t think it could have been used in a more devastating way.”
It was terrific exposure but also allows Cousins to make money on her existing catalogue.
Another big moment came closer to home when she was named parade marshall of the Kensington Harvest Festival. She laughs when it’s mentioned alongside her Juno win.
“It could be compared,” she says. “I’ve watched that parade my whole life. I think I was in it when I was in Girl Guides and maybe another time. I remember when (singer) Terry Kelly was the parade marshal and I was like ‘Wow, that’s really cool.’ …
“It’s funny having moments like that where all those things that you don’t ever think about that you might do and then all of a sudden my local Harvest Festival is asking me to give the opening speech and be the parade marshal.
“It’s great to be from a very small place and have those people and my family be proud of me.”
She heads down to Nashville for a few days from Sept. 18-22 before returning north to kick off her Canadian tour in P.A.
After the tour ends, she heads to Australia for seven weeks of shows. She hopes to return to the studio in 2014
She has a few new songs written and lot of ideas percolating but nothing recorded. Her songwriting has changed since her 2002 debut, she says.
“I like to think that I’ve become more honest,” Cousins says. “My latest record is probably as honest as I’ve been, I think simply because I know myself better, I know my voice better and I think I’m more aware of what I have to offer and I’m more willing to use it.
“I’m older now. I think it’s confidence that you earn playing so many shows.”
She now spends about a third of her time in Boston, a city she first went to a decade ago.
She has since established strong ties to the area and its huge music scene, even recording her last album there.
“Choosing music as a career there’s literally no specific training you need or no specific path that you follow,” she says. “You can do whatever you want. It’s a blessing and a curse for sure … I think I’ve always taken the approach that everything is negotiable and you can kind of create your own whatever you want.”
The very nature of the music industry usually means that success comes in small increments. Cousins says she measures it in her own terms.
“I’m a little bit accomplishment driven so if I can get something done, I feel good about that,” she says. “If I can do something for myself, whether it’s work out or see a friend or get a good night’s sleep, that’s a successful day for me. But success has to change its shape every single day or else it would make me crazy.”
Rose Cousins awards
• 2013 -- JUNO Award -- Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Solo
• 2013 -- East Coast Music Awards -- Songwriter of the Year, Solo Recording of the Year, Folk Recording of the Year
• 2012 -- NPR -- Top 10 Folk & Americana Albums of the Year
• 2012 -- Canadian Folk Music Award -- Contemporary Singer of the Year
• 2012 -- Nova Scotia Music Awards -- Folk Record of the Year
• 2012 -- Polaris Music Prize -- Long List Nominated
• 2011 -- East Coast Music Awards -- Female Artist & Songwriter of the Year
• 2011 -- Music PEI -- Rooted to the Island Award
• 2010 -- Canadian Folk Music Award -- Contemporary Singer of the Year
• 2008 -- East Coast Music Awards -- Female Recording of the Year
• 2007 -- Mountain Stage Newsong Contest
• 2007 -- NS Music Awards -- Best Folk Recording & Galaxie Rising Star
• 2007 -- PEI Music Awards -- Best Folk Recording & Female Vocalist