Alyssa Reid doesnât remember, but this time last year, the pop singer predicted her Juno nomination.
The memory of the 2011 show in Toronto was still fresh for Reid when she spoke to an Edmonton Journal reporter last year. Her hit, âAlone Againâ -- that mildly urban update of Heartâs âAloneâ -- was well on its way to dominating playlists (it was the most spun song of 2011 on Canadian radio), and she was months from releasing debut album, The Game. âThe awards ceremonies were really fun to be at, and I presume they would be really amazing to be on the stage and accepting my first awards,â said Reid. âSo thatâs definitely in my future -- to try to be nominated or present or perform.â
âThatâs really cool!â says Reid after having her own words of Juno prophecy read back to her. (The singer is up for a best new artist Juno -- and sheâll even perform during the telecast, doing âa short snippet of âAlone Againââ as part of a medley with other pop acts including fellow best new artist nominee JRDN, Anjulie, Dragonette and Mia Martina.)
Reid doesnât say anything about being a disciple of The Secret. Sheâs definitely not supplementing her tour expenses betting on games or running a psychic network on the side. But when it comes to the power of positive thinking, she started visualizing pop stardom early. Reid would describe herself as a goal-setter. âOh, absolutely,â she begins. âI found an old picture of me from, like, Grade 5 -- and itâs my school picture so I have a mushroom cut and gap teeth -- but I signed it and it says, âRemember this face. Iâm going to be famous,' on it. So awkward,â Reid says. âI used to make dream-boards,â she adds, âand I definitely did set a bunch of goals for myself and put it on my wall.â
Many items have long since been checked off. âLike get a cat and stuff. Join the soccer team. I made it when I was very young,â she giggles. If youâre over 20, feel free to say she still is. (Reid celebrated her 19th birthday two weeks ago.) Clearly, she was doing more than messing with magazines and Mod Podge during her high school years.
Some fans might remember Reid from a 2008 stint on YTV singing competition The Next Star. (She was a finalist.) But it was a YouTube parody cover of Justin Bieberâs âOne Less Lonely Girlâ (Reidâs version was âOne More Lonely Boyâ) that made more noise, enough to catch the attention of Toronto label Wax Records who signed her after finding the clip online.
Take another collage off the dream-board.
Reid landed the deal while she was still enrolled at a Brampton, ON high school. âItâs going to be two years ago this April 1,â says Reid. âI was in high school up until, I think, four months into âAlone Againâsâ [release]. Yeah. It was very awkward.â
Once signed, Reid -- who had self-taught herself guitar the year before -- also began focusing on piano lessons (âI took piano when I was very young, and I never got past, like, the first year, because I was terrible. â¦ Getting signed, I definitely went into practicing and trying to get better at everythingâ). She was introduced to a variety of songwriters. (âMe writing with a lot of different people has definitely shaped me into a WAY better writer,â says Reid, who gets shared songwriting credit on each of The Gameâs 12 tracks.)
And she didnât wait for summer vacation to start touring. âI was trying to tour and do homework at the same time and my teachers didnât really understand because I said I was a singer and I was performing but I donât think they thought I was actually a SINGER,â says Reid -- who was still a ways from cutting a single -- or scoring two Canadian Radio Music Award wins, or a Juno nomination.
âSo when I actually first got my record deal I failed a couple of courses because I was out touring,â she says. âEven when I was home I was still doing shows. So I would come to school the next day and my teacher would be like collecting everyoneâs homework and Iâd be, like, âIâm really sorry but I had a show last night,â and a bunch of students would not have their homework done because they were watching me at the show. I donât think my teachers liked me that much.â
Incidentally, Reid says she graduated high school last year, just before attending the MuchMusic Video Awards. Any neglected coursework, she says, had been worth it at the time. âAbsolutely. I had wanted a record deal my entire life. Now that it finally happened, I had to make sacrifices in order to maximize it and make sure I actually use that opportunity to its fullest.â
But back to that dream-board. That longed-after record deal wasnât the last outstanding item. âA lot hasnât happened, yet,â says Reid. âI have a Grammy nomination on there, um, I want to get engaged -- but hopefully that doesnât happen for awhile! And I have travelling the world,â she says -- something which has already started to happen.
Reid will headline a short UK tour in April, and just as âAlone Againâ dominated Canadian radio in 2011, itâs now invading Britain. The song, or âinterpolation,â to use Reidâs term, debuted at No. 2 on the UK chart in February (No. 1 on iTunes), and sheâll be following it soon with next single âThe Gameâ -- which was previously released here, but will be updated for the overseas audience. (Reid says sheâs re-recorded it with an âamazingâ -- but top secret -- guest artist.)
âIâve been going back and forth from there,â says Reid of her frequent travels to England, where sheâs been preparing for her tour and promoting her music. And while a year doing the same here in Canada has given her valuable experience when it comes to publicity and poise -- âI used to be very camera shy, terrible at talking to people, and I think Canada really helped me with that,â she says -- working the UK has come with surprises.
During a trip to BBC Radio 1 in London, for instance, Reid found herself swarmed by paparazzi. (Thereâs YouTube video of the scene on her website.)
âI was not warned about that!â says Reid, who finds the UK reaction to âAlone Againâ -- and her -- both âamazingâ and bizarre. âThey think Iâm a huge celebrity! And I donât want to be like, âUm, you know, to be quite honest Iâm really not! I worked at Tim Hortonâs up until four months ago,â she laughs. âIn all my interviews theyâre like, âSo. Youâre a MASSIVE international star,â and when somebody says that to me I think Rihanna, Lady Gaga. Iâm just like, uhâ¦no. But itâs OK. Iâll take that.â
Some things, apparently, you canât predict.
Alyssa Reid is nominated for Best New Artist. The 2012 Juno Awards are broadcast live from Ottawa, Sunday, April 1 on CTV.