Jian Ghomeshi

2013 JUNO Awards… an experience!

What a weekend! I am going to attempt to write about my JUNO experience in order to process the events in my head. So here goes…

After a few months of prep which mainly revolved around what I was going to wear (helped by the kids from a local elementary school) I was all packed into a medium sized suitcase (impressive) and ready to go.

But the gods of planes trains and automobiles were not shining on us as the fog descended on the Comox Valley and no plane could land therefore we couldn’t get out. Panic set in as I had a gig early the next morning and it isn’t good form to miss a JUNO gig. Eventually they bussed us to the next town where, fortunately, the fog had lifted and we were off in time to get our connecting flight to Regina.

Everyone told me that Regina was cold but I wasn’t expecting the kind cold that takes your breath away (and a few digits if you stay outside long enough).


Friday night was the first of the events,a green carpet walk and a drinks reception with a particularly lovely martini bar and wonderful snacky things wandering around us carried by incredibly lovely police cadets. Here I met two of the other nominees in my category, Jennifer Gasoi and Marlowe Stone from Marlowe and the Mix. I immediately liked both of them. We had already been in contact to sing on each others songs at the gig the next morning. We are a very friendly category :)

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On the way back to the hotel Trevor, my husband and date for the weekend, insisted we get sushi. I wasn’t hungry so just went to watch him eat. In an interview with Jo-Ann Roberts of CBC’s All Points West earlier that day she asked me who I would like to meet most and I said Jian Ghomeshi from CBC’s Q. I have sent him my music previously (along with chocolatey bribes) in the hopes of getting noticed by one of Canada’s largest music taste-makers.

As we approach the sushi restaurant who should be waiting to be seated but Jian himself. I walked in and introduced myself and was thrilled that he said “oh, you sent me your album and you’re up for kid’s music award aren’t you”. He remembered me… so the chocolates must have worked! Anyway, he was very lovely and we had a quick chat and went our separate ways to eat.

There were shuttles put on to takes us anywhere we wanted to go, which we were SO grateful for given the minus temperatures and Saturday early morning was no exception as we headed to the Children’s Category nominee gig at the Regina Public Library. All the JUNO staff were so friendly and welcoming and we had a wonderful SOLD OUT show packed with kids and their parents.

I met another nominee, Emilie Mover and we all sang on each others songs and played a song together at the end. Even though all our style were SO different I think we sounded really good together and it was so much fun.


Saturday afternoon the nerves started kicking in. What if I won? I hadn’t really thought of a speech but had considered who I would thank. What if I didn’t win? Would I cry? So instead I had a nap… the answer to everything :)

I chose a little black lacy number for the Gala dinner where many of the awards were being presented, including my category. There was another green carpet (I must google the meaning of green vs red carpet) where the press were gathered so I got to strut my stuff in front of them.


There were more martinis and pics and then dinner. We were sitting with other nominees including a jazz and a classical musician and we were all sitting upright, hopeful. There were various performances by Colin James, Donny Parenteau (cool fiddler) and the Four Tenors along with a local choir. These were interspersed with awards and hosting by Jian Ghomeshi of the afore-mentioned sushi restaurant encounter.


We were rooting for each other at the table while trying to eat steaks the size of my head. How do you eat honking great piece of meat while preparing yourself for elation or disappointment? The first on our table didn’t win and the second and the third. There was only me left as the expectant shoulders had gone from upright to slumped.

My award came up and it was a thrill to see my face up on the big screen and my music playing, but before I knew it they were announcing Emilie Mover’s name and my shoulders also slumped.

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But only for a few minutes. Emilie’s album is excellent and she is such a sweet, sweet person so I was really happy for her. It was also nice to have the technology handy to text my friends and get all the feedback that good friends are there for. And after putting it on FB my community in the Comox Valley posted reams of comments that made me feel so loved that I didn’t care that I hadn’t won.

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Sunday was a lazy day of avoiding the biting cold and watching TV and eating the remains of the best sandwich ever. The previous day we had gone into a local deli and when they found out I was a nominee they insisted on having a picture with me and giving us cannoli. It was the best sandwich ever. If you are ever in Regina you must go to family run The Italian Star Deli.

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So red carpet time was upon us and, as I hadn’t won, I decided to stop playing it safe, ditch little black dress #3 and wear a very colourful dress that had been sent to my by Karina a wonderful dress boutique in Brooklyn NY (long story). And I am so glad I did.


Walking the red carpet was a weird and wonderful experience. It’s all very official with lots of security. You stand in front of a a whole bunch of photographers trying to remember what they do in America’s Next Top Model. It was fun and I played around a bit. You then have to walk the rest of the red carpet with screaming fans who are not sure who they are screaming for until someone like Michael Buble arrives and the screams go to a painful level.

One of my favourite parts (because I am getting older and a little vain) was when an official with a headset ask me who I was and I said I was a nominee. She look at me and said “gosh you don’t look old enough to be a nominee”. Now I am not sure how old ‘not old enough’ is but I’ll take it! :)


Another reception, more alcohol, more meats on sticks and more chatting to fellow nominees and we were heading to the arena for the live televised show. It was a great, well organized show with the highlight, obviously, being KD Lang’s induction into the hall of fame. What a speech an what a voice. I will always remember the ‘inner quirkmeister’ part :)


So more shuttles, which, by the way, is a great way to meet new people, more drinks, more food and we were done. My first JUNO experience.

I have to give a huge shout out to my wonderful date for the weekend, my husband of nearly 21 years, for being patient, gracious and sociable, all the qualities anyone could ever ask for on a weekend such as this. And had I won I would have thanked him, my wonderful children and the community of the Comox Valley. Hopefully I will get the opportunity another time. :)


Jian Replies!

Project Q –  Week 3 Day 1

So after 2 weeks of Q madness and my decision on Friday to let things settle and wait, I have heard from Monsieur Ghomeshi.

He sent me a lovely email today, thanking me for the chocolates (how could he not like Hot Chocolates) and said that he enjoyed the CD of songs and would “look forward to the ongoing journey of the “song of the week” mission”.

I only have 6 weeks of ‘Song of the Week’ to go so I had better make them good ones! No pressure…

This week’s will be up tomorrow!


So while spending 2 weeks shamelessly throwing myself at Jian and Q I have also been quietly and politely asking other folks at CBC if they would like to feature my ‘Song of the Week’ story.

CBC’s Sheryl MacKay who hosts North by Northwest is happy to have me on her show next month. Sheryl interviewed me on her show while we were both at Vancouver Island Musicfest a few years ago. She is a wonderful broadcaster and great promoter of the arts in BC and I am very excited to sit down and talk with her about the insanity of writing and producing a song every week for a year.

So while I will still pursue Q (a little more subtly), it is time to get back to what I love the most and that is the writing and recording.

Thank you to everyone who has signed the petition, written letters, left lovely comments and listened to my music!

I will keep you posted on when I will be on North by Northwest.

When is it time to stop and wait?

Probably last Tuesday… but…

… since starting Project Q I have had so many emails, comments and tweets of support from people I know and people I have never met. I am so grateful for all the time that they (you) have put into helping me with this.

I have written the letter, sent the chocolates, posted the petition, written 2 songs, posted them on youtube…

… and now there is a suggestion to start a facebook group called ‘Get Helen on Q’.

But when is it too much to keep asking people to click, comment, tweet etc? I know the delete key is easy to press, but you guys are really nice!

So will I let you be the judge (my brain is fried from all the time in front of the computer screen). I will post this on facebook (personal and fan page) and twitter and then, if you like the idea, you can let me know. Silence can be the best indication that it’s time to stop – I know, because I spent nearly 20 years as a stand-up comedian. It’s how you learn what works!

I am hoping that I have at least made it to Jian’s inbox at some point in this madness!

Songs for Q

Week 1 Day 2

So I got some lovely comments on facebook yesterday and one of them suggested I should write a song for Jian and, you know, when someone suggests I write a song… I … can’t… resist. It’s a sickness really.

So I wrote 2!

I started with an original song and got that recorded in the morning but while I was at the pool watching my kid have a lesson I suddenly realized that Jian’s name fit perfectly into the Delilah song. Yes, I know I have parodied that song before, but I couldn’t resist. By the time his swimming lesson was done, so was I!

So I rushed home and recorded that one (my poor kids are getting tired of eating pasta, but it’s quick and I’m on a mission. They’ll understand one day…. or be in therapy!)

So here are my songs as a pathetic bid to get on Q. Am I smacking of desperation yet? Or did that ship sail last week?

1. Q Delilah

2. Be On Q

…and if you can’t open those then here is an mp3 player with them.

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