Andrew Morrison said his phone started "buzzing lots and lots" Tuesday morning.
Morrison, a vocalist with Iqaluit band the Jerry Cans, said that's when he found out that the band was nominated for two 2018 Juno awards — Breakthrough Group of the Year and Contemporary Roots Album of the Year for their album, Inuusiq.
"Shocking, I think is the right word. We had no expectations this time around," Morrison said. The band was hoping to be nominated in the previous two years, to no luck.
"The coolest part of about it is the album is entirely in Inuktitut, and that's something that we thought was a barrier the past two times."
The Jerry Cans launched Nunavut's first record label, Aakuluk Music, in 2016, to help other Northern artists gain recognition in the music industry. The alt-country, folk and reggae band have become iconic in Nunavut since their debut in 2012.
"We're the band that plays at the [local] Legion all the time," said Morrison with a laugh. "We're just kind of shocked and humbled by it all."
The band had travelled all over the world in 2017, touring in Australia, Iceland, Cuba, Scotland and Germany.
"We sang Inuktitut music all over the world," said Morrison.
But what he's most proud of is what the nominations will mean to his family — especially his four-year-old daughter.
"My daughter is starting this little band. They don't even have instruments — it's her idea in her head with all of her little girl cousins," Morrison explained.
"What I'm most proud of is that now she'll grow up with the idea that she can sing in Inuktitut and still get nominated for these national awards."
Proud of Inuit, says Nancy Mike
Nancy Mike, throat singer with the band and also Morrison's wife, said the team celebrated Tuesday over Facebook Messenger because many band members are currently out of territory.
"I'm proud of not only us, but people who speak in Inuktitut in general, Inuit [or] non-Inuit," said Mike.
"I am honoured with them, to be nominated for the Junos, and thank everyone for their support."
The Jerry Cans weren't the only Nunavummiut nominated for Junos on Wednesday.
Tanya Tagaq's album Retribution was nominated for alternative album of the year — it's the fourth year that Tagaq has been nominated for a Juno.
Kelly Fraser from Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, received her first Juno nomination, for Indigenous album of the year.
The Juno Awards will be handed out in Vancouver in March.