Alyssa Reid Predicted Her Juno Nomination

Crédit photo: Reuters Alyssa Reid Predicted Her Juno Nomination

Alyssa Reid doesn’t 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, “Alone Again” -- that mildly urban update of Heart’s “Alone” -- 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. “The 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,” said Reid. “So that’s definitely in my future -- to try to be nominated or present or perform.”

“That’s really cool!” 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 she’ll even perform during the telecast, doing “a short snippet of ‘Alone Again’” as part of a medley with other pop acts including fellow best new artist nominee JRDN, Anjulie, Dragonette and Mia Martina.)

Reid doesn’t say anything about being a disciple of The Secret. She’s 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. “Oh, absolutely,” she begins. “I found an old picture of me from, like, Grade 5 -- and it’s my school picture so I have a mushroom cut and gap teeth -- but I signed it and it says, ‘Remember this face. I’m going to be famous,' on it. So awkward,” Reid says. “I used to make dream-boards,” she adds, “and I definitely did set a bunch of goals for myself and put it on my wall.”

Many items have long since been checked off. “Like get a cat and stuff. Join the soccer team. I made it when I was very young,” she giggles. If you’re 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 Bieber’s “One Less Lonely Girl” (Reid’s version was “One More Lonely Boy”) 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. “It’s going to be two years ago this April 1,” says Reid. “I was in high school up until, I think, four months into ‘Alone Again’s’ [release]. Yeah. It was very awkward.”

Once signed, Reid -- who had self-taught herself guitar the year before -- also began focusing on piano lessons (“I took piano when I was very young, and I never got past, like, the first year, because I was terrible. … Getting signed, I definitely went into practicing and trying to get better at everything”). She was introduced to a variety of songwriters. (“Me writing with a lot of different people has definitely shaped me into a WAY better writer,” says Reid, who gets shared songwriting credit on each of The Game’s 12 tracks.)

And she didn’t wait for summer vacation to start touring. “I was trying to tour and do homework at the same time and my teachers didn’t really understand because I said I was a singer and I was performing but I don’t think they thought I was actually a SINGER,” says Reid -- who was still a ways from cutting a single -- or scoring two Canadian Radio Music Award wins, or a Juno nomination.

“So when I actually first got my record deal I failed a couple of courses because I was out touring,” she says. “Even 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 everyone’s homework and I’d be, like, ‘I’m really sorry but I had a show last night,’ and a bunch of students would not have their homework done because they were watching me at the show. I don’t think my teachers liked me that much.”

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. “Absolutely. 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.”

But back to that dream-board. That longed-after record deal wasn’t the last outstanding item. “A lot hasn’t happened, yet,” says Reid. “I have a Grammy nomination on there, um, I want to get engaged -- but hopefully that doesn’t happen for awhile! And I have travelling the world,” she says -- something which has already started to happen.

Reid will headline a short UK tour in April, and just as “Alone Again” dominated Canadian radio in 2011, it’s now invading Britain. The song, or “interpolation,” to use Reid’s term, debuted at No. 2 on the UK chart in February (No. 1 on iTunes), and she’ll be following it soon with next single “The Game” -- which was previously released here, but will be updated for the overseas audience. (Reid says she’s re-recorded it with an “amazing” -- but top secret -- guest artist.)

“I’ve been going back and forth from there,” says Reid of her frequent travels to England, where she’s 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 -- “I used to be very camera shy, terrible at talking to people, and I think Canada really helped me with that,” 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. (There’s YouTube video of the scene on her website.)

“I was not warned about that!” says Reid, who finds the UK reaction to “Alone Again” -- and her -- both “amazing” and bizarre. “They think I’m a huge celebrity! And I don’t want to be like, ‘Um, you know, to be quite honest I’m really not! I worked at Tim Horton’s up until four months ago,” she laughs. “In all my interviews they’re like, ‘So. You’re a MASSIVE international star,’ and when somebody says that to me I think Rihanna, Lady Gaga. I’m just like, uh…no. But it’s OK. I’ll take that.”

Some things, apparently, you can’t predict.

Alyssa Reid is nominated for Best New Artist. The 2012 Juno Awards are broadcast live from Ottawa, Sunday, April 1 on CTV.

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