A hip-hop artist from the Pabineau First Nation has scored his first East Coast Music Award nomination, and he's just 19-years-old.

Tristan Grant is nominated for an Aboriginal Artist of the Year award and he comes by his musical precociousness honestly. Both his mother, who raps under the name Red Suga, and his uncle, known as MO3, are hip-hop artists and past ECMA nominees. 

Grant, who studies at Mount Allison University, said he found out about the nomination almost by accident. 

"I went to a class, came home, opened up my laptop and boom! On twitter, I was tagged in the East Coast Music Awards feed," he said.

Speaking to Information Morning Moncton, a clearly ebullient Grant said the nomination was a big surprise and very exciting, especially as he will also be performing at the ECMAs, being held in Sydney, N.S. this year, from April 13-17.


Tristan Grant comes from a musical family. His mother performs under the name Red Suga and his uncle is known as MO3. (Facebook)

Growing up in a musical family opened his mind to the idea of an artistic, expressive life, said Grant.  

When he was a little boy, his mother and his uncle were touring the country with their music and "to me, that was so inspiring," especially coming from a small community, he said.

Grant loves working with the rap/hip hop genre, because he likes the way it allows him to express himself.

"Because you can be just about as metaphorical and brash as possible. Like, you can say beautiful things about any subject or you can just bring it down to the most crude, most honest [level], and it's just so fun," he said.

Grant is a drama student and finds similarities between acting and rapping.

"It's kind of like a part of the hip-hop persona that you have. There has to be that confidence in spite of having to perform and feeling nervous," he explained.

He credits his family for not only love and support, but also for inspiration and for providing just plain fun, especially when they all get together at Christmas to do some home recording.

"We write it and we make our own beats. We put it all together and we're all, like, rapping these songs together at four in the morning in my grandmother's kitchen."