Being nominated for a Juno Award is a significant achievement in Ammoye’s musical career.
The Jamaican-born vocalist’s latest hit, “Radio”, is a finalist in the Reggae Recording of the Year category. The winners will be announced at this year’s awards show on April 21 in Saskatchewan.
“The Juno Awards recognize the best in Canada’s music industry, so for me to be nominated is awesome,” said Ammoye. “This is validation for all the hard work I have put in to be the best in my chosen craft and it feels good. Winning will be icing on the cake.”
The talented artist has also been selected to participate in the two-day Juno Fest in Moose Jaw and Regina leading up to the awards show. A two-night music festival that’s one of the signature events of Juno Week, the Juno Fest features the talents of regional and national artists representing the many genres that make up Canadian music.
“I have never been to a Juno, so to be part of this whole wonderful experience where I will also get to perform for 45 minutes and showcase my talents is simply fabulous,” said Ammoye.
Born Shernette Ammoye Evans in Clarendon, she has been using her middle name in her artistic career on the advice of her father.
“Amor is the Latin word for love and he suggested I use my middle name,” said the solo artist, who made guest appearances with the Blues Underdog urban rock fusion band about a decade ago. “It’s fitting because my music revolves around love.”
Ammoye started singing in a church choir in Jamaica before migrating to Toronto with her two siblings to join their mother in 1994.
“I grew up in church and I did not have a choice back then,” she said. “My grandparents, who raised me, would have it no other way. So I went to church three times a week and I was a member of the choir. The funny thing is I was very shy back then and didn’t sing in school. Somehow, I found the confidence to sing in church and at the top of my favourite mango tree in the family backyard where I regaled the neighbourhood with my latest songs and poems on Sunday afternoons.”
When Ammoye came to Canada after graduating from Clarendon College, she completed Grade 13 at Sir Sandford Fleming Academy and enrolled in Seneca College’s Tourism and Travel program.
“At the time, I wanted to be a flight attendant to be able to travel the world and see places,” said the vocalist, who is managed by Kaya Entertainment Group. “But when I discovered that I didn’t like flying for lengthy periods, my career focus switched to singing.”
She joined her mother’s church – Dundas St. Church of God – and sang in the choir. Later, she and her sister along with two female church members formed a musical group – Sisters in Christ – and she was instrumental in the establishment of the Voices of the Underground Artist Movement as a platform for aspiring artists to promote their music.
Expanding her music type to include reggae and dancehall didn’t go down well with Ammoye’s parents.
“They were not happy with me singing secular music,” the 2011 Reggae Music Award winner who writes her songs said. “I was however simply following my heart with my writing to express myself in an authentic way. The songs I sing are of love, life and justice.”
Her first full-length album, Haffi Win – a futuristic, dancehall, dub, hip-hop and house collaboration with Ottawa producer, Rise Ashen – was released three years ago. She’s currently working on her second album – Revolution – to be released later this month.