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Parkland Musician Soars with First Single


There is no maybe about it, Emma Peterson’s first single Maybe Tonight is a winner.
Born and raised in Winnipegosis, Peterson released her first single to radio, Feb. 18, and then to all digital platforms Feb. 22.
“It’s kind of like a long time coming. I have been telling people I’ve been recording music for about three years now . And when I wanted to do a single, I wanted to make sure that I did it right,” Peterson said.
“So I spent some time trying to brainstorm and figure out who I wanted to work with. Make sure I really worked on my songwriting and just make sure I picked a song that I thought was going to resonate with other people and something that I was really proud of.”
And she chose well, the 20-year-old decided to work with award winning music producer Murray Pulver.
“It’s actually kind of a funny story. I recorded the song with Murray Pulver. He’s recorded with a lot of artists in Manitoba and in Canada. And when I went to him, I had sent a few songs,” Peterson said, explaining she brought her guitar to the meeting in early November, because she had another song in mind.
“I said I know I sent you those songs, but I have a feeling about this one song and I played him the song. I said I haven’t finished it yet, I just played him the first verse and the chorus.”
The pair worked together on the song, she said, finishing it that day and starting the recording process.
That was just before the Manitoba Country Music Association (MCMA) Awards, Peterson noted, and it took about three months to record Maybe Tonight.
As she was writing it, Peterson wanted to capture the feeling of being in a hometown.
“I’m from Winnipegosis, so I wanted it to capture how I feel with my group of friends. What we do when we hang out,” she explained.
“The song isn’t about reminiscing, but when I wrote it, it was me reminiscing back to when I was in high school and just being with your friends and being in your small town and how everyone has that place in their small town that everyone goes to.”
Her favourite lyric in Maybe Tonight is “nothing but a stop sign town”, she said, because many songs refer to one street light, but Winnipegosis only has stop signs.
Creating a video for the song was fun, Peterson noted, with Reagan Giasson from the Parkland recording it.
“She came to my hometown to do the whole recording. I had my family, friends, cousins, everyone in the video,” she noted.
“There’s only a few people who had to miss out.”
Her first MCMA performance was in November, when country artist Ryan Keown invited her to do a duet of Linda Ronstadt’s “When Will I Be Loved” with him on stage.
“Ryan called me at the end of September and asked me if I was going to the awards and I said of course. I was nominated for the Emerging Artist award, so I was going go,” she explained.
“And he said, ‘well do you want to perform with me on the big stage?’ And I started crying on the phone, I was so excited,” she said.
Peterson’s launch into the music business began when she started singing in talent shows at around age 10. After she taught herself to play guitar in Grade 5, she began vocal lessons and started writing her own songs.
Peterson took part in the CMT Chevy Tailgate Challenge at Dauphin’s Countryfest when she was 17 and reached the top four rank in the contest.
“And that’s when I kind of thought maybe people do like my music and this isn’t just a small hobby that I do,” she said.
Through the contest, Peterson was connected to the MCMA and invited to participate in a songwriter’s event.
“And it all just started escalating, I started doing the Manitoba Country Music songwriting circles, I went to the CCMAs (Canadian Country Music Awards) in 2017 to do another songwriting circle there. It was just a lot of writing and a lot of figuring out who I was as an artist and kind of making connections with people,” she explained.
Some of those connections include other artists from the Parkland, she said, such as Desiree Dorion and Kayla Luky.
“Other artists who have been in my position before, who can give me advice,” Peterson added.
“Because really, you have no clue what you’re doing when you’re coming up in the industry and I still, in a sense, don’t know what I’m doing. But you just take what you can get from other people, ask for advice and just work really hard, I guess.”
Having events such as Dauphin’s Countryfest in her backyard has helped.
Peterson attended her first Countryfest when she was in Grade 10 and found it inspiring.
Her first performance at the local festival would have been in Grade 12, during the Chevy Tailgate Challenge, but attending for a few years, Peterson was learning what she could by watching other artists.
“And Countryfest has always been supportive. Dauphin, the Parkland area, my hometown of Winnipegosis, there are so many supportive people that I couldn’t have released a song without knowing that I would at least have some people supporting me. So it’s really nice to have that,” she said.
Currently in the nursing program in Brandon, Peterson is focusing on university and doing music on the side, planning to release another song by the end of the year and an EP next year.
“It’s kind of tough to balance music and school, but I’ve got to make sure that I can somehow pay the bills,” she said, noting recording and associated costs are all out of her own pocket.
Peterson hopes to apply for a few grants this spring, adding her parents have helped her, as well.
“I think they kind of see my passion for it and see potential, I guess,” she added.
As for Maybe Tonight, Peterson reported the day it was released, it got to number 16 on the iTunes Country Music chart and currently has over 12,000 streams on Spotify.
“There’s over 2,500 listeners listening to the song on Spotify so it’s doing really well. I mean I almost wish I could just release more music right now, but I guess you have to make people wait. When I release music I want to make sure that it’s exactly how I want it to be,” she said.
With two years left in university, Peterson is planning a few performances in the summer.
“I can not announce them yet, but they are in the Parkland area and if you just keep watch on social media, you’ll be able to see where I’ll be performing,” she said.
Look for Peterson on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Contact her at emmapetersonmusic@gmail.com to book a show this summer.