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‘Keep rooting for Edmonton’: Local alternative soul artist nominated for 2018 JUNOs

Singer grateful for city that helped her shape her distinct sound

Local singer Nuela Charles has been nominated for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year at the 2018 JUNOs.


Local singer Nuela Charles has been nominated for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year at the 2018 JUNOs.

Ever since singer Nuela Charles has lived in Edmonton, she has been inspired to explore the boundaries of her sound.

Now Charles, real name Manuela Wüthrich, has been nominated at the 2018 JUNO Awards for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year.

“It feels great,” the alternative soul artist said. “(I woke) up to a flurry of social media just pinging my phone, and I’m like ‘What’s going on?’”

The JUNOs announced their nominees Tuesday morning, with Arcade Fire, Gord Downie, and Jessie Reyez in the lead. Edmonton’s own Ruth B was also nominated for Pop Album of the Year and Artist of the Year, as well as metal band Striker for Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year.

“How many of us (Edmontonians) have been nominated? There’s a bunch of us. It’s crazy,” said Charles.

Charles has lived in Edmonton since 2009. The singer told Metro that she always felt the community in the city encouraged her to experiment with her sound beyond one genre.

“It’s the community that allows me just do what I want,” she said. “Edmonton just allowed me to do it. It wasn’t like ‘Well what are you doing?’ They supported it from the start. That just helped fuel my creativity and my desire to keep going because I think if I were anywhere else I probably would’ve given up a long time ago."

Charles described her nominated album, The Grand Hustle, as a “really good James Bond movie,” with all the highs, lows, and drama in between. She describes her sound as “alternative soul,” not quite conforming to one genre.

Many of the co-writers and contributors who worked on it are from Edmonton.

“For two weeks straight we were in the studio building the storyline around the idea of The Grand Hustle, like what happens when you’re at your lowest point and the journey to get back to the top,” she said.

“But then at the very end, the last song on the record is called ‘Evolution,’ just realizing that this whole journey has made you into something different, but a better version of yourself.”

The Juno Awards will be hosted in Vancouver on March 25. It will feature performances from Hedley, Daniel Caesar, and Jessie Reyez.

Charles is especially excited to release a new single just before the national music awards show—and to see the other nominated Edmonton artists flourish.

“It’s perfect timing because I am releasing my next single. I’m really excited, I feel like it’s going to be the best work we’ve ever done,” she said.

“It’s just been really great to have the support. Just keep rooting for Edmonton.”

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