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CBS artists shine at MusicNL Awards

By Patrick Newhook/December 23, 2021

On Saturday, December 4th, 2021, some of Conception Bay South’s finest musicians were honoured and celebrated at MusicNL’s provincial awards.

Quote the Raven took home two awards – Folk/Roots Group of the Year and Group of the Year.

The band’s two members, Jordan Coaker and Kirsten Rodden-Clarke, formed the group in 2011. The band plays Americana folk music. Previously, the band won at MusicNL’s 2019 awards.

Rodden-Clarke said it’s good to see so much support from their community.

“I think it means the world to us to have other people, like our peers, be the ones to decide who wins these kinds of awards,” said Rodden-Clarke. “It makes us feel really good and supported by the music community. Awards aren’t everything and there are so many artists in Newfoundland and Labrador who deserve them, but it is definitely like the icing on the cake for our projects.”

Coaker recalled the excitement and the thrill of being at the awards show and going up on stage to make a speech. Musicians have faced a lot of struggles due to COVID-19, so an achievement like this goes a long way in making artists feel supported.

“I think a lot of musicians have had a really tough time over the last couple of years,” said Coaker “Music is definitely one the last things that is going to come back due to the pandemic. Gatherings and groups are still kind of limited and there’s still so many uncertainties, so to have reassurance and have that support in the midst of the worst time for everybody, it’s pretty special.”

As for the future, both members feel positive and optimistic.

“The future’s looking good. It’s uncertain but there are a lot of glimmers of hope in the midst of everything,” said Coaker.

Another CBS musician to be recognized by his peers was Matthew Hender, who walked away with the Rising Star of the Year Award.

Hender grew up surrounded by music and was always passionate about it.

“Growing up I started piano when I was five years old, and I was put in the CBS Music School and did clarinet when I was maybe five or six, and dad would always buy instruments,” said Hender. “I graduated from MUN music school for double bass and I was playing in the orchestra shortly after I graduated.”

Hender has worked as a professional musician for many years. He had been nominated and won various awards with different groups in the past, but this was the first year he was nominated and won as a solo artist.

“The award I won was “Rising Star of the Year” which I really wasn’t expecting at all because I’ve been playing professionally for 15 plus years,” Hender said. “It was something that was unexpected. Of course, the award was given to me because it was a new foray into being a singer-songwriter and not just being a side musician, so I wasn’t expecting anything.”

Being a musician in recent years has been challenging. Artists need to constantly be working towards their next project.

“It’s been a weird ride,” Hender allowed. “A career in music in 2021 going into 2022, it’s not for everybody. Being a musician is more of a lifestyle than a job per se. You kind of have to have your fingers in lots of different pies to make a go of it. Everything is unexpected and you’re never quite sure where the next paycheck is coming from, but I wouldn’t change anything about it.”

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