JUNO Nomination a Thrill for Local Singer/songwriter Stephanie LaRochelle

Local singer/songwriter Stephanie LaRochelle may not have won a Juno Award this year, but just being a nominee was a major thrill for her.

The St. Mark High School alum received a Juno nomination in the Adult Contemporary Album of the Year category for Wildflower, the EP she released last year.

Canadian music icon Amanda Marshall, who made a comeback after nearly two decades away from recording, won the Juno in the category.

After the awards, LaRochelle commented on social media about the experience, calling it surreal.

“What an honour to be recognized and amongst some incredible artists,” LaRochelle said. “Congrats to all of the nominees and winners alike. This nomination alone is a huge win. A big thank you to everyone involved in this project.”

Before leaving for Halifax and the Juno Awards, LaRochelle made the Ottawa media circuit tour. One of her stops was at CBC Ottawa, where she was interviewed by Alan Neal of CBC/Radio-Canada. While waiting for the interview, LaRochelle heard herself sing on the radio for the first time and had to contain herself fr0m getting too emotional.

“I always kind of imagined being in a car for this moment haha!,” she posted. “But wow, what a feeling.”

When she released Wildflower, LaRochelle told the Manotick Messenger that the songs had been in her back pocket for a long time.

For the past three years, LaRochelle has been involved with the theatre and touring cast of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hansen. She portrayed the character Zoe Murphy in the 2019 Canadian production of the show at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. In the fall of 2019, she joined the US touring cast for the show, again playing the role of Zoe Murphy.

“I worked on some of the music during the Toronto production of Dear Evan Hansen,” she said. “Some of the songs were written prior to that journey. The EP is really a mix of songs that I had been sitting on for a while and some songs that were written more recently.”

LaRochelle has been entertaining audiences long before she found herself as a cast member of Dear Evan Hansen. In fact, she was a locally-known artist even before attending St. Mark High School in Manotick. She started singing at the age of five and won numerous singing competitions, recorded her first demo, and even got the chance to perform in front of people at Disney World before her tenth birthday.

After that, L Rochelle began performing at a number of local events, including the Central Canada Exhibition in Ottawa.

At the age of 14, she recorded a song in the memory of Hannah Elizabeth Walker, raising a significant amount of money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.

She continued to sing and perform while at St. Mark, both in the school’s Cappies productions and with the Greely Players. Her social media presence also grew as she became one of Canada’s most popular young artists on YouTube.

Releasing her album and having it nominated for a Juno Award was a thrill for La Rochelle.

“Am i dreaming?!” she posted after learning of her nomination. “All I’ve ever wanted to do was SING. I’m just a little independent artist who wrote these songs on her bedroom floor. To be recognized in this way is the highest honour. JUNO award nominated artist?! Someone pinch me.”

LaRochelle thanked the people who worked relentlessly with her on the project, including “producer Murray Daigle, the incredible musicians who tracked the record, to my manager Laura van Leest, to FACTOR, to my family, and to anyone who had anything to do with this project. Filled with gratitude. One thing truly leads to another. This is just the beginning. Thank you thank you thank you.”

LaRochelle will be playing at the Red Bird in Ottawa April 27 and at Maple & Rose in Merrrickville May 18.