George Canyon, Artist of the Week
Runs Oct. 13-17th.
George Canyon (born Frederick George Lays; August 22, 1970) is a Canadian country music singer. He was runner up Nashville Star 2 in 2004. He grew up in Fox Brook, Pictou County, Nova Scotia and later lived in Hopewell, Nova Scotia (where he still owns land) before he moved west. He currently lives in High River, Alberta. He also holds an appointment in the Canadian Forces as the Colonel Commandant of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.
With the look of a Hollywood leading man and the build of a professional athlete, people who see him for the first time often ask “who is he?” If you were to pose that question to George Canyon himself, he’d immediately tell you that he’s a dedicated husband and a proud father of two. Family being his first priority, Canyon, a man of Faith, abandoned his musical aspirations years ago to work as a bylaw officer in order to support his family. His wife, Jennifer, urged him to keep writing songs and performing however George felt that it was no longer practical, and put music on the back burner.
In 2004, Jennifer persuaded him to audition for U.S.A Network’s “Nashville Star”- an internationally televised performance competition similar to the “American Idol” format. Canyon showed up, wowed the worldwide audiences and nearly won the entire contest. The rest is history punctuated by industry accolades, achievements and sustained success.
His integrity and dedication to his family lives as a theme through the songs he writes and the stories he tells with his music and the way he lives his life. It is also the same force that drives him to inspire youth through his role as a national spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14, Canyon, a young Air Cadet, was informed that he would have to forgo his ambitions and dreams to serve his country as a pilot in the Canadian Air Force. Years later he would learn to manage his disease through diet, lifestyle and the effective use of insulin pump technology. In 2009, Canyon passed a series of medical tests and as a result of this was able to obtain his pilot’s license.
On February 21, 2008 he was recognized for all his philanthropic work in support of the Canadian troops and was appointed Honorary Colonel for the Canadian Air Force at 14 Wing Greenwood in Nova Scotia.
In the fall of 2010, George performed and spoke to over 20,000 people at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles at a JDRF fund-raising event. His 2010 hit single “I Believe in Angels” has been adopted as a theme song by the JDRF in the United States and Canyon appeared on “GOOD MORNING AMERICA” to encourage youngsters with his story.
The song, “I Believe in Angels” received a SOCAN award in November 2011, for one of the most played songs at Canadian Country Radio in 2010.
On December 23rd, 2011, The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defense, announced that George Canyon was appointed as the first-ever Colonel Commandant of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. Minister MacKay stated, ”Being a former Air Cadet himself, he has always exuded a keen interest in aviation and has made several positive contributions on military matters. He will be an exceptional role model and mentor, motivating Canada’s youth to reach their full potential.” As Colonel Commandant, Canyon has responsibilities of developing, promoting and sustaining strong community ties, fostering esprit de corps, and acting as a spokesperson and role model.
As George’s charitable work continues, his achievements grow with it. In the past he has been recognized as the most played Canadian artist at Canadian country radio. He’s also one of the most recognizable and requested stars on CMT (Country Music Television). His videos garner hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube and he has won multiple Juno, East Coast Music Awards and Canadian Country Music Awards including “Humanitarian of the Year Award” for his philanthropic endeavors.
Also an actor, Canyon has appeared on some highly rated Canadian television series’ such as CBC-TV’s “Heartland” and Showcase’s “Trailer Park Boys” and has starred in many television programs and specials. He has starred alongside Dean Cain and Luke Schroder in a made for TV movie, “A Mile In His Shoes” and has hosted “The Gift Of Giving” a star studded show and incentive to raise funds for food banks across Canada through the sale of a compilation album, which aired in December 2011 on CMT, YTV and OWN networks. Recently, Canyon appeared in The Dawn Rider, and Thomas Kinkade’s A Christmas Miracle.
He has sold over 350,000 albums and his critically acclaimed music continues to grow with every record. In 2008 multi-platinum artist and pop/rock icon Richard Marx signed on to produce Canyon’s “What I Do” album. The record yielded 7 hit singles including “Just Like You”, the album’s debut single, which was written for George’s son, Kale. “I was driving my kids to school when the song came on the radio. Kale was in the backseat with his sister and I looked in the rear view mirror. He had the biggest smile on his face, but he didn’t say a word. As a parent there is no better feeling than when your kid is speechless with joy.” His young daughter, Madi got her own song too, which appeared George’s “Somebody Wrote Love” album (2006) “Madi’s Song” continues to be one of Canyon’s most requested cuts at his live shows.
Marx and Canyon teamed up again to write and record songs for the 2011 album “Better Be Home Soon, which was certified Gold in April 2011, making this album his fastest selling album to date.
May 2012 brought the announcement of worldwide music publisher, ole, signing George to a co-publishing and Worldwide Admin deal.
In November 2012 Canyon released the highly anticipated Classics II album and embarked on a supporting a tour throughout much of the country, wrapping up in the spring of 2013. Canyon performed his much-awaited single ‘Slow Dance’ on the Canadian Country Music Awards in Edmonton, Alberta in September to rave reviews and released it on iTunes Canada in October 2013. His latest single ‘Crazy Love’ is already on radio across Canada and his new album ‘Decade of Hits’ will be released in early fall 2014. The album is a look back on ten years of George Canyon hits from Nashville Star to now, that made you smile, laugh, and love, together with some exciting new songs including “Slow Dance”, “Crazy Love” and more.
When George Canyon is performing live onstage, he is most at home. He has the entire audience in the palm of his hand and you just can’t help but want to be a part of his unique family. Canyon is one of Canada’s favourite country music artists and one of the most successful entertainers in the country today.