Madeline Merlo will be performing live at the upcoming CCMA’s on Sept. 10. (Contributed)

Madeline Merlo will be performing live at the upcoming CCMA’s on Sept. 10. (Contributed)

Madeline Merlo to perform at the 2017 Canadian Country Music Awards

The Maple Ridge singer/songwriter is nominated for Female Artist of the Year.

Madeline Merlo has been nominated for female artist of the year at this years Canadian Country Music Awards.

This is the second such nomination for the Maple Ridge artist. She was nominated last year in the same category.

“I feel good. I mean it’s a super stacked category. Everybody has done incredible things this year. It will definitely be a tight game,” said Merlo.

“I am just really honoured to be thought of as, you know, one of the top females in the country. That’s just such a huge deal,” continued the country music artist.

Merlo has had six singles off of her latest album called Free Soul, including Whatcha Wanna Do About It, that made the CMT’s Top 20 Country Music Chart, Sirius XM’s On The Horizon List and has had airplay across the United States.

But Merlo’s favourite song off the album is War Paint, the most added single on Canadian Country Radio for the week of June 29.

War Paint is I think the song that my fans connect the most to,” said the singer/songwriter about the song she wrote after being inspired by a friend who was suffering from a mental illness.

“It’s a song that really says something. It’s just about loving each other and standing up for each other and fighting for each other and I think that more than ever in this world it’s a message that needs to be said,” added Merlo, knowing after she wrote it that it was an extra special song.

“But I could have never imagined it would mean so much to other people as well. And they’ve made it the anthem to situations that they are going through as well,” she said.

The artist’s latest single is called Motel Flamingo, a fun song about tacky motels where “curtains smell like smoke and there is a lime green pool.”

“It’s about that motel that I think everybody’s been too with their friends,” laughed Merlo.

Merlo spent the month of May and the beginning of June opening for country star Dean Brody as he toured the Western Canada for the launch of his new album called Beautiful Freakshow.

“He’s such an incredible artist and writer and it was such an inspiring experience,” said Merlo of the long, grueling tour.

“(It was) a lot of travelling and late nights and early mornings and stuff but it’s all worth it,” said the singer.

“I am just even more in love, if that is possible, with my job. And just being able to play music every night, you just improve so fast,” she continued.

Merlo is currently working on her second album that she promises will be more mature than her first.

“I started writing for my first record when I was 17 and I’m 23 now. So it’s definitely going to be different content and a different sound I’m sure,” she said.

She is hoping to spend some time in Nashville, Tennessee, the hub of country music.

Merlo is influenced by classic country artists like Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, R&B greats like Etta James and Billie Holiday and modern stars like Miranda Lambert.

Lately she has been listening to a lot of music from the 1960’s and 1970’s like Fleetwood Mac and Jimi Hendrix, influences you can hear in the production of Motel Flamingo.

“It has that kind of Woodstocky vibe influence in it and so that really shines through in what I’m kind of into,” said Merlo.

Merlo wants her second album to stand out once again, but she says, the thing with music is that has to be authentic.

“You just have to figure out what you want to do, what you want to say and how you want to say it and stay true to that,” she said.

Merlo will be performing live at the 2017 CCMA Awards Show starting at 3:45 p.m. PST on Sept. 10 at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Her crew is also nominated for Design Team of the Year.

Carly McKillip also of Maple Ridge is nominated for Keyboard Player of the Year along with her album producer Meghan Patrick for Record Producer of the Year.

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