Juno-nominated rocker JJ Wilde on rising above pandemic setbacks

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TORONTO — JJ Wilde isn’t crazy about these pandemic times.

Before the world went into COVID-19 lockdown, the Waterloo, Ont.-based rock singer was preparing to fulfil her dreams with a rowdy 2020 schedule.

But when everything ground to a halt, so did plans for an international tour that would’ve paved the road to the release of “Ruthless,” her debut full-length album.

The musician, born Jillian Dowding, says it took “a lot of mindfulness” to set aside the disappointment of things she couldn’t control.

And she has reason to celebrate this week as she heads to a virtual edition of the Juno Awards with a career first, a nod for rock album of the year.

“Ruthless” is nominated alongside releases from Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Crown Lands, Sam Roberts Band and Silverstein.

Wilde says being a Juno nominee in a year where in-person events are out of the question is particularly unusual.

“It still doesn’t feel real, to be honest,” she says.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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