Devin Cooper, 21, was was named Artist of the Year at the second annual Red Deer Entertainment Awards.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Cooper on Saturday. “I’ve been playing in Red Deer since I was 16, when I wasn’t even able to play in bars.”
“This last year has been very eventful for me and there’s been a ton of great support from the city,” he said.
Last summer Cooper was the main entertainment on the Stampede Float, leading the Calgary Stampede during the televised event.
A Calgary Music Awards nominee in 2016, Cooper said he isn’t too sure what’s next in his career, but he just wants to take it one step at a time.
Red Deer’s Kayla Williams, 30, said she was shocked after being named the Singer/Songwriter of the Year at Saturday’s awards at The Krossing.
“There were so many nominees who I’ve seen before and I was convinced I wasn’t winning tonight. Then they said my name and I thought, ‘What? There’s no way,’” said Williams.
Williams said when she recorded her song One More Dose earlier this year in Red Deer, she didn’t expect to be winning awards.
Williams said she would like to make an EP or album, perhaps with the help of a government grant.
“I want to get onto Alberta radio and maybe onto national radio. I’m going to work my buns off to see how far I can go,” she said.
Jesse Roads, Red Deer Entertainment Awards producer, said this year’s event was even better than the first.
“We want to recognize as much of the entertainment scene as possible,” said Roads. “It’s so important we acknowledge each other, get a night to hang out and all be in the same room.”
One new part to the awards this year was having people vote for their favourites online.
“We thought it’d be nice to have everybody have a chance to say something,” he said, adding that the online votes weren’t just part of the winner selection process.
The awards celebrated music and comedy Saturday night, but Roads said he hopes to celebrate more forms of entertainment, such as theatre, at future awards ceremonies.
“We want to diversify and keep growing … and we have to try to make it as inclusive as possible,” he said.
Planning for the third annual Red Deer Entertainment Awards is already underway.
“We’re going to spice it up a bit next year,” said Roads.
Full list of winners:
- Group/Artist of the Year: Devin Cooper
- Singer/Songwriter of the Year: Kayla Williams
- New Group/Artist of the Year: Ryan Langlois
- Tribute Show of the Year: ’89 – Nevermind Nirvane
- Cover Band of the Year: The Klamdaggers
- Promoters of the Year: Quan Diep, Marc Goatley, Justin Shadows and Pete Christian
- Venue Recognition Award: Bo’s Bar and Stage
- Open Stage Award: Pete and Dave of Supertrucker
- Red Deer Achievement Award: Desiree Marshall
- Red Deer Scene Award: Leah Beston
- Comedy Achievement Award Zachary Landry, Neik Theelen and Vidi Epson
- Comedy Recognition Award: Heritage Lanes
- Social Contribution Award: Ryan Marchant