Aidan Duchene (Submitted photo)

By Pam Wright – Sydenham Current

‘Being real’ has helped Tupperville’s own Aidan Duchene take a giant step forward in her music career.

The Grade 10 student at Ursuline College Chatham has earned a CBC Afternoon Drive Next Gen Juno award for her song ‘I Don’t Like Small Spaces.’

Even though she’s only 15, the young singer says she’s missed out on a lot of opportunities in her life because she was “scared of what other people thought.

“Just do you,” the budding songstress offers in a life lesson. “Once you get the hang of it — it’s the best.”

Duchene — who submitted her entry at the last possible moment — rather than study for a science test — says it was advice from renowned singer Emm Gryner that pushed her forward to write and submit the song.

Gryner, who judged the contest along with Mike Hargreaves, said young contestants shouldn’t be afraid to make their parents cry.

That happened.

Duchene says her song did in fact make her parents cry, as it described some pain and anxiety that was going on inside her.

She says, a move from a small French high school to a larger Chatham school — in order take advantage of more musical opportunities there — had shaken her inner world.

Not wanting to follow rules and being confined and “trapped inside my own mind” are described in ‘I Don’t Like Small Spaces.’

“It was really out of character for me,” she explains. “I felt sad and anxious.”

But it’s turned out okay.

Duchene says her parents Chris and Andrea, are behind her music career and self-expression 100 percent. Because of the contest, they ended up cancelling a family trip planned for March break.

Duchene’s musical roots are deep and she’s been writing music since she was a little girl.

Eclectic in her choices, she loves doing covers and says she doesn’t know how to “classify herself” as she counts the Beatles, Etta James, Radiohead and the Lumineers among her favourites.

However, she’s adamant that being original is essential.

“Make sure you have your own sound,” Duchene advises. “Someone out there will enjoy it.

“You don’t have to follow what the pop stars are doing… find yourself in your music and always be original.”

Duchene is quick to point out her award wasn’t an actual Juno as are handed out at Canada’s annual awards extravaganza, but a type of promotion leading up to the awards event.

It was a featured on the CBC Afternoon Drive radio program, hosted by Chris de la Torre.

The prize was $1,000 and Duchene also had the opportunity to preform the song live at the London Music Club.

Next Gen was open to musicians under 18 who write original music.

Expect to hear more from Duchene — who can be seen on You Tube — as she continues to write songs and perform.

Watch for her at WAMBO as she is on tap to play.

Final details have yet to be ironed out.