An independent Nanaimo musician has been nominated for an international award for the first song from his first album.
Ryan Newton and his wife were admiring the sunset in Nanaimo’s Neck Point Park about four and a half years ago when an offhand remark inspired his song, Casting Shadows (On the Heels of Tomorrow).
“The moon was out and the sun was still setting and my wife said, ‘Look how it’s casting shadows’ and then I [was] just like, ‘Oh, like casting shadows on the heels of tomorrow,’ and that line stuck forever,” Newton said. “And one day I was just home alone and I sat down at the piano and it all came out in about half an hour.”
Last week it was announced that Casting Shadows (On the Heels of Tomorrow) is one of five songs nominated for this year’s Independent Music Award in the alt. country category. The IMAs are in their 18th year and recognize indie artists from around the world. This year, there are more than 400 nominees from 119 counties.
Newton said he was “a little stunned” when he heard the news.
“It definitely was a bit of a feather in the cap, for me anyway, to what had been been basically a 20-year dream and five years of working at it,” he said.
Newton played in bands when he was a teenager but it “never really went anywhere.” He kept writing and playing music, but it wasn’t until he was in his mid-30s that he realized he had been neglecting his dreams for far too long.
“I just woke up one day and I said, ‘I’m going to make a record’ and my wife turned to me and just went, ‘Finally,’” Newton said. “And so from there on it was working the regular job and pecking away at it on weekends and so to have this all come to fruition, it’s been a nice feeling.”
Last year Newton released his debut album, also called Casting Shadows (On the Heels of Tomorrow). He said earning the IMA nomination made him realize that “if you actually start something, it’s amazing what can happen.” Appropriately enough, the song itself is about never giving up.
“Casting Shadows (On the Heels of Tomorrow), being the first track on the record, it kind of sets the tone and it’s the idea being that you are the light and you’re casting the shadow and you can do anything.”
To view and vote for fans’ choice, visit fans.independentmusicawards.com. The deadline for fan voting is April 23. The winners will be announced on a yet to be determined date.