For those in southwest Saskatchewan and especially in the Hazlet area, they may want to set their television’s PVR if not wake up earlier tomorrow.
Rising country sensation Justine Sletten will be on Global Saskatoon on Friday, May 8 at 7:20 a.m. to talk about the release of her new single All Bad.
There are some who think the way to be successful in life is that you need the skillset and some breaks. But, like many of Saskatchewan’s crop of young country music stars like The Hunter Brothers, Jess Moskaluke, Lisa Moen, Tenille Arts, Amy Nelson and Codie Prevost, they all started out somewhere and look at them now.
While that is true there is some luck and timing involved, Sletten is demonstrating hard work, staying true to yourself and not forgetting your roots are also major contributing factors.
“The opportunities I have, have been lucky but it all comes with hard work; the more attention you put into something, the more you would get (out of it) and get better; this is the way to push myself, the harder I work, the better…” she explains. “To me, I love doing this, working on my music (in any capacity). I have always loved singing; I will always be a performer.”
When she was a very young child, Sletten always hoped she would be famous, but like many young children, she just didn’t know how. It wasn’t until one day that at her local church, did Justine discover what she wanted to do.
“When I was 10 years old, I sang at church and my grandma came up to me and said that I should sing,” recalls Sletten who said from there it encouraged her to do more. She took singing lessons in Saskatoon, she competed in the first of many competitions in 2013. “I had no idea on how far it was going to go. Industry is a very hit and miss industry. There is no set out way for this to work. You catch a break and keep working hard.”
That diligent, pragmatic and without a privileged-attitude has served her well. Amongst other artists, Sletten was especially inspired by Shania Twain’s November 2002 release of Up! Sletten thought she would enjoy doing what Twain did.
According to Sletten’s bio, some of the competitions she competed in and won included the Saskatoon Country Music Association Youth Star Search, the Medicine Hat Stampede Summer Star, the Deja Vu Songwriters Competition, and the 2018 Living Skies Teen Vocalist of the Year.
In 2018, she competed in the Global Country Canada Star Search, winning the opportunity to travel to Nashville. While there she worked with industry professionals and competed in an international competition, winning first in songwriting and second in performance. Subsequently, Sletten’s debut EP Groundbreaking spent its first three days in the Top 10 Country Albums in Canada on iTunes in 2017.
With the official release of All Bad May 8, it will mark the first release since the inaugural EP. The song features her upbeat tone and wide vocal range but was different in the fact that she never wrote the song. It is definitely a fun song to listen to and has a good flow while delivering an encouraging message to not give up on relationships. She had some heavy hitters behind her on All Bad as she has proven she is a gifted talent and those in the industry are looking to work with new stars. The song was written by country music songwriters Blake Bollinger (who has worked with Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker) and April Geesbreght and produced by Canadian award winning country music producer Bart McKay (Brett Kissel).
Sletten is constantly trying to make progress. While many are at concerts enjoying themselves, Sletten will study the presentation of the song, the interaction of the performer with the audience and just understanding the best way to make that connection.
“Practise makes perfect. I like to see see what the audience like doesn’t like,” explains Sletten. “I try to make them laugh and relate to them.”
The young singer adds the audience is not there to critique, they just want to be entertained. She says with her, the music came first, then the song writing and performing. Always wanting to get better, she is working on facets like stage presence and it is coming along.
While still working hard and trying to break into the industry as best as possible during a time when the whole world is adjusting no public events or social gatherings of any kind. So for someone trying to break into the industry not being able to perform at concerts or fairs is definitely a difficult setback to overcome.
While not the ideal situation, Sletten sees it as an opportunity to get some practise and honing of her social media skills in regards to music. While posting some acoustic performances, she also had people send in videos talking about why distance isolation wasn’t #AllBad. Her Facebook page has numerous videos, many of the sweet, humorous variety. She pointed out they wanted to have something to not only occupy their time with the pandemic shutting down a lot of normal status quo activities but also to find a way to promote the new single and connect.
“Get people interested and involved for sure,” she notes.
It is that type of connection with new fans and maintaining her roots with family and friends that will give her that solid base. She loves writing on her own, but has also collaborated with others, including her mom on her 2017 EP (at www.justinesletten.com).
“I have come a long way, but I have a long ways to go,” Sletten says.
Just a matter of time before the rest of the province, country and world learns what southwest Sask. already knows.