Jess Moskaluke says it's difficult to put into words how she feels about being one of two women nominated for the Canadian Country Music Awards fan's choice accolade in 2018. The other is her idol: Shania Twain.
"It doesn't feel real; it's really, really crazy," said Moskaluke.
"It's still strange to me that I have fans at all. It's not a concept that comes naturally — that's not a natural part of life."
Moskaluke, who performs at the Craven Country Thunder music festival on Sunday, was nominated for a total of six awards at the CCMAs last week.
The singer is in the running for Album of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Single of the Year, Video of the Year and Country Music Program or Special of the Year. Brett Kissel is the only other performer to be nominated for six awards.
Moskaluke, a Juno Award-winning singer originally from Langenburg, Sask., has won the CCMA award for best female artist three times in the past four years, only losing to newcomer Meghan Patrick last year.
A star in small-town Sask.
She now lives in the small town of Rocanville, Sask., which she said is "amazing." For Moskaluke, living in a small Saskatchewan town is the only lifestyle she has ever known.
She said most residents treat her as a neighbour that they are proud of.
"There's a lot of 'Oh I remember when' or 'You used to teach my kids swimming lessons' or things like that," she said.
"Every now and then you will get the odd kid that is a little star-struck, which is really sweet."
The award ceremony in Hamilton, Ont., on Sept. 9 will be hosted by Shania Twain.
Working toward equality
Moskaluke has spoken passionately in the past about ending male dominance in the country music industry. She said she believes the situation is improving every year.
But she said there is more that could be done, adding that supporting female artists is one way help improve equality for women in the industry.
"I don't know what needs to be done. All I can say is do make sure that you're supporting female country artists in whatever way you choose to do that — buying tickets to their shows, streaming their albums, buying their albums," said Moskaluke.
She performs on the main stage at Craven Country Thunder at 6 p.m. CST on Sunday.