Abe Drennan can’t say enough thanks to his fans.
He was named the first-ever NWT Music Awards Fan Choice at the first-ever gala Sept. 10 — edging out other big-name artists like Leela and Jay Gilday’s project Sechile - Sedare and the band Welders Daughter — for his music video Way Up North, which he filmed with local video-pro David Stewart. The video was also nominated for Music Video Excellence.
“It was amazing. It was an exhilarating feeling,” he said. “Right before the nominees are announced, you get this whole build-up and all of a sudden my name came up. I was just so happy.
“The Fan Choice award is a great award to win. All the awards are great, but I think the Fan Choice is great because you’re chosen by the people who listen to and like your music. And that matters most, because without our fans as artists we’re just folks making music in our basements. The fans are the ones who appreciate and value what we do — how could I not be more grateful.”
With 20 years of work put into his music, Drennan said being named the fan favourite felt like an acknowledgement of the time he’s put into his craft. But more-so he said it was the result of the many friends he’s made through music along the way.
“For years and years I have been sharing my music with people,” he said. “From my hometown in Bancroft, Ont. which I know is always supporting my music and what I’m doing, and folks from here and family and friends. It’s just a culmination of time. That adds up and those relationships build.
“I’m all about connecting to people and building meaningful relationships. That’s who I am. And you know, I know my people have my back, but this was just a further confirmation of that. It just felt so good.”
His own recognition aside, Drennan said it was an important milestone for the NWT to host an Music Awards Gala and the effort to bring it about has been underway for a long time.
Put on by Music NWT and initially pushed by Trevor Sinclair, the awards ceremony was the first of its kind.
“It’s was an important step in establishing our musical community in the NWT,” he said. “It was good for artist recognition, good for community building and great connecting with everybody.
“Many of the award winners and such were people I haven’t had the chance to meet face to face, but I have been collaborating with people around the NWT virtually for over a year now and finally we came together. It so special that way.”
Now that he’s earned his mantelpiece, Drennan is back to his life’s work, with plans to put together a new single and album over the winter.
He said he’s working on an EP with Bell Rock recording out of Fort Smith, but didn’t have a release date yet. So stay tuned.
“I’m honoured and grateful to be chosen for the fan choice,” he said. “Shout out to Trevor Sinclair and the NWT Board of Directors and to all the award winners and nominees — it was such an honour to be a part of it all.”