A recent busy stretch for Leader musician Berk Jodoin has included the release of his third full length album "Fly Away", sweating out a runner up finish at the Saskatchewan Country Music Association Awards for Indigenous Artist of the Year, and a trip south of the border to Minneapolis. 

Jodoin has been busy over the past calendar year as a whole, with "Fly Away" being the most recent project released to the public. When it comes to the SCMA award he was eager to have his name included with other great artists, including the eventual winner Teagan Littlechief.

Even though it's a self-nominated award voted on by peers, recognition is always something Jodoin and other musicians will take.

"I won an Indigenous bursary award, with Sask Music I won an Indigenous Artist award there. It's always nice to see when folks get recognized for the work they are doing. Whether it be getting nominated, or winning an award, or having the opportunity to perform and network."

That last word is the perhaps the biggest piece of the puzzle to Jodoin.

"I think the biggest part of those award shows is the networking that goes on. Get there, meet people, talk, and probably get to work with a lot of them in the future."

Connecting with people can go a long way, something Jodoin knows first hand as "Fly Away" was co-produced by Aspen Beveridge of Skullcreek Studio. Spending countless hours with the producer Beveridge, Jodoin was "over the moon" happy to learn that his studio took home Recording Studio of the Year at the SCMA awards.

Screenshot 2024-06-26 083156.png (Screengrab via social media)

Beveridge played a big factor in helping Jodoin out with a "new sound" for the album. 

"Took a different approach to it," said Jodoin, explaining the studio change. "Him and I worked on Fly Away for probably the last 18 months. Like I said I took a different approach to it, wanted to get my hands on the production side of it, have more of a say about what's going on."

Interestingly enough, Jodoin said the ultimate goal of this album was to "create an album he enjoys listening to".

"My previous albums are good, but it's not the type of music I listen to." said Jodoin. "That's what Fly Away is, we released the entire album on June 7. It's getting traction, and folks are listening to it." said Jodoin who is proud to see his hard work paying off.

All of the time spent in airports and hotels makes that recognition worth it. Being busy is the name of the game if you want to be successful in music.

Berk recording.jpgJodoin taking a moment to smile during a recording session (Photo courtesy Jodoin on social media)

Living an everyday family life in addition to carrying out a full-time music career doesn't leave a lot of extra time. Speaking with Jodoin, he wouldn't change it for the world.

"That's the name of the game. You have to get around, talk to people, shake hands, sing the songs. It's part of the business... and it is a business."

Jodoin is the first to admit that talent typically takes a backseat to networking if you want to be successful in the music industry. Unless you are willing to be a part of the music committee, it's hard to make any traction.

"You get a single that's really good, but then you need a team behind it to really push it. To get on all the radio stations, into all the festivals. Everything." said Jodoin, a recent example being his trip to Minnesota, and an upcoming appearance in Saskatoon.

The local musician is slated for some stage time next week at the Saskatoon Jazz Festival, and after that, Jodoin and his crew will be off to Ontario for a set of shows. 

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Music isn't the only thing keeping Jodoin busy. At the time of our interview he was on the road to Sherwood Park for a mental health presentation. With "a whole bunch of irons in the fire", Jodoin told us about another passion project keeping him busy.

"Going to be part of an initiative called 'Why the caged bird sings'. I am going to be inside of penitentiaries and writing songs with inmates, as part of a bit of a therapy for some of them." he shared, also sharing his main line of work. "My day-to-day job is Indigenous engagement. I've been to communities and what-not that way."

While still remaining hot on the concert trail, Jodoin is looking forward to more free-time the next few months. 

"My life is busy. I got three kids, but (sports) seasons are finally over, now it's summer holidays time so I get to hang out with the kids a little more."

As go-go-go as his life can get, songwriting still never takes a backseat. Jodoin wouldn't trade his music/life mix for anything.

"Songwriting is a therapy for me, right? I don't do it to chase some gold ring, I do it because it really helps me internally with any struggles I do have. It is therapy, it quiets my mind, and allows me to be for a little while if I am writing a song."

If you can execute the balance perfectly, you won't leave life behind, while reaping all of the benefits of seeing a song grow from inception all the way to completion.

"It's a really fulfilling experience, it really is."

Listen to Jodoin's latest album "Fly Away" here.