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Photo credit: Garth Prince

Juno Award winner Garth Prince on his Juno award and more

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LCCMedia has had a long relationship with Garth Prince.

We had a media chat with him here. When he was nominated for the Junos, we were excited for him. And then, he won! How refreshing!

We featured him here in our Fall Edition.  We wanted to share the interview with you.

We hope you enjoy reading!

 

Tell us a little bit about you. 

I am originally from Namibia. As a mixed-race person, my parents raised me with colonial languages and cultures because they believed it would provide the best possible future for me. I formally speak English and Afrikaans, derived from Dutch. Afrikaans is also the language associated with Apartheid. Namibia was under the South African administration until 1990, when it became independent. I mention this backdrop to highlight that I do not identify with any groups or ethnic “tribes.” Therefore, I lacked community support while growing up in Namibia and arriving in Canada in 2008. I had to build networks based on shared values instead of ethnicity. 

In case you are wondering, I learned traditional African folk music when I joined a youth choir at fifteen. The experience taught me that we don’t have to be of the same bloodline or ethnicity to be family. 

Photocredit: Prince Garth
Photocredit: Prince Garth

How did it feel to be nominated for Juno?

 

I felt happy for the people who believed in me. I always believed in my ability to create high-quality music, but like a tree, I needed the right environment to reach my full potential. My support came from family, funding bodies like The Edmonton Arts Council, and my Canadian band members, who trusted my artistic leadership. Music teachers supported my growth by booking me to perform and teach workshops in schools.  

 

Take us through that night; is it a blur? Can you remember the exact moment you won?

 

I’ll never forget the exact moment. My immediate off-camera reaction was a breakdown in tears. I pulled myself together, went to the stage, and gave a short speech. They whisked me off to a series of interviews and pictures backstage. I remember wondering if my wife was concerned with my whereabouts. I didn’t have my phone, so I couldn’t contact anyone until I completed a series of interviews and photo shoots. 

 

Did the Juno award come to you as a surprise?

 

Yes and no. On the one hand, I believed my album was the best, but on the other hand, I was up against some highly successful competition in my category. My biggest competitors were “Walk Off The Earth” and “Maestro Fresh Wes” (Let Your Backbone Slide). They both released children’s albums nominated in the same category, and the press was ready for one of them to win. No one knew who I was, and they hardly had any good questions for me about my album. They mainly asked me how it felt to win against such big names. 

 

Has the Juno award opened extra doors for you?

 

No, but I am using the Juno to open doors for myself. I have always wanted to create online courses of my teachings, and awards can help market the program to schools across Canada and the world. 

 

When you look at your career, which moments stand out the most?

Winning the Juno is undoubtedly one of the biggest highlights. Other comparable moments were charting to the number one spot and winning some awards with my Namibian band “Afroshine” before I immigrated to Canada. 

What projects are you working on now?

I no longer feel the pressure to make a living as a musician. I am developing other skills, such as arts management, and I’m focused on removing barriers and making way for others. 

 

Talk to us about the value of hard work and perhaps persistence.

 

We all value determination, but we must also know when to quit. My suggestion is always to fill your mind with good motivation. Read. 

Read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins to learn about hard work. 

Read “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” by Eric Barker to know when to quit. 

 

Talk to us about what the future holds for you.

We are establishing a network for African-inspired artists to share resources and help each other succeed. We are looking for artists and non-artists to help build something more sustainable. E-mail me at info@garthprince.com if you want to learn more about it. 

 

What would be your message to young people on staying true to themselves and their dreams?

Don’t let Hollywood (Bollywood or Nollywood) shape your dreams. As Africans, we add no value to the diaspora when we buy expensive luxury items. Do not let these things define you or trap your dreams with debt.

 

And don’t wait for someone to “discover” you. Take responsibility for your future. Say it with me: “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” 

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