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Hamilton’s Mackenzie Leigh Meyer up for two CMA Ontario awards

Country artist joins Zach Zohr, Karli June, Josh Ross and The Redhill Valleys with nominations at this weekend’s awards. 

Update: Mackenzie Leigh Meyer took home the CMAOntario award for Roots Artist of the Year.

As the 2024 Country Music Association of Ontario festival and awards gets underway this weekend down the highway in Mississauga, Hamilton artist Mackenzie Leigh Meyer spoke to HAMILTON CITY Magazine about her two nominations. 

Meyer, who released her debut album in 2018, is already a CMAOntario winner, taking home the award for Roots Artist of the Year in 2023. She’s in the running for the award again this year. 

“So this is the first year that I’ve been nominated for more than one thing,” said Meyer. “Roots Artist of the Year, I was pretty stoked to take that home last year, so it was nice to be nominated for it again. Then, which is pretty surprising to me, I was also nominated for Musician of the Year. In addition to being an (independent) artist I play for Robyn Ottolini in her band, and she had a pretty big year last year. It was really cool to be able to travel with her all over Canada, I think that’s what got me that nomination this year.”

Meyer is the only woman on the 2024 nominee list for Musician of the Year. She was also a Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase finalist.

Although Hamilton’s country music scene is small, the community’s artists are well represented this year, with nominations for Meyer, Zach Zohr, Karli June, Josh Ross, and The Redhill Valleys.

Hamilton's Mackenzie Leigh Meyer was named Roots Artist of the Year last year and is up for the award again this year.

“I always feel like Hamilton does a good job at sending people from the city. Obviously Hamilton has a ton of music support, it’s no surprise to me that it’s a city that turns out a lot of musicians because the foundation for all of us to pursue music has always been there,” said Meyer, whose career launched in 2013 after winning the Hamilton Music Award Rising Star Competition. 

“It’s nice to be recognized by my hometown as someone who’s a musician here in Hamilton.”

Burlington is also represented with nominations for Jake Sauve and a Group of Duo of the Year nod for New Moon Junction, fronted by lead singer and Burlington native Tamara Maddalen.

The 13th annual CMAOntario awards weekend also includes free concerts in downtown Mississauga. June and Meyer will perform at the free Bonfire concert at Celebration Square on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“I’m pretty excited just to get to perform over the weekend. It’s always such a nice treat to be able to catch up with industry friends that we don’t always get to see, since we’re usually all over the place,” said Meyer.

“Nowadays I’m living more towards Mississauga, so I’m stoked to also be playing close to my home away from home.”

Meyer says she feels most at home on the roots side of country. She leans more towards traditional instrumentation, such as the banjo and dobro. 

“Or sometimes I lean more towards the ballad-y side of country, so you’re not really hearing that radio, four-on-the-floor type country from me, you’re more hearing stuff that’s a bit slower and stripped down.”

She is gearing up for new music on the way, hoping to release her upcoming project before the official start of summer.

“I have an EP that’s pretty close to being done, I’m just kind of touching the final mixing and mastering portion of it. I’m hoping to have it out before summer starts,” said Meyer. “So there should be new music coming from me very, very soon.”

You can hear more from Mackenzie by following her Instagram, and she’ll be playing North of Nowhere music festival in Lindsay, Ont. on July 20. 

Find the CMAOntario schedule here.