Country music stardom beckons student

Genevieve Fisher is no stranger to the country music scene.

The third-year Popular Music student has been at it – singing at various festivals and in front of diverse audiences – since she was 2 years old. Now 20, Fisher has shown no signs of slowing down.

Earlier this month, before returning to her studies, the London native performed in Saskatoon at the Canadian Country Music Association’s (CCMA) Music Week as part of its Emerging Artist Showcase.

“It was an amazing experience for me,” Fisher said.

While excited, she didn’t expect it or know exactly why she was selected. In fact, when she first got the call, she thought it was a telemarketer.

Since her performance, however, everything has been a “whirlwind.”

“I started singing at a really young age, with competitions in the London area. I grew up around country music. My grandparents always listened to it and I always loved it,” Fisher said. She remembers listening to and admiring artists like Patsy Cline and Shania Twain.

Four years ago, “things got more serious” when she opened for Crystal Shawanda, then the Canadian Female Country Artist of the Year. Fisher soon got a manager, started performing at bigger shows and released her first CD, Without Borders, in 2010.

In the past year alone, she has opened up for country artists such as Dean Brody, David Nail and Hunter Hayes and, while she performs many covers, she has also travelled south to Nashville, Tenn., where she has co-written and worked with some of ‘Music City’s’ top songwriters. She wrote her song, July, with Jennifer Schott – who has written for big names such as LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw and Lonestar. It hit No. 41 on the national charts in Canada.

When it comes to her studies, Fisher said the choice to come to Western was clear.

“I wanted it (my education) to follow my musical career. Western was the only school in Canada that offered a Popular Music program,” she said, adding taking courses in songwriting, song analysis and desktop production have been an asset outside of the classroom.

While not sure if her next steps include going to teacher’s college or focusing on music full-time, Fisher knows she’s in the business for the long haul.

Busy with schoolwork and performances, she is gearing up for another trip to Nashville, where she’s excited to work on more original songs with Schott. Afterward, she will be filming a music video and, eventually, recording an album of original songs, which she hopes will grab the attention of a record label.

Ask her about her favourite artist, or who she aspires to be like, and the answer comes easily – Shania Twain.

Fisher, whose parents are Aboriginal and Italian (Twain is half Aboriginal and half Irish), said the renowned Canadian singer has been an inspiration.

“She is Canadian and she has international success. Hers are the footsteps I want to follow in.”