Justine Vandergrift gifted grant to turn single into music video

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Lacombe and Calgary-based country-roots musician Justine Vandergrift will soon be putting out her first high quality music video, thanks to a $10,000 TELUS STORYHIVE grant.

Vandergrift, along with SixTwoSix Productions’ Michael Janke, was one of 40 finalists selected from over 221 entries to receive grant funding. Now, she’ll be able to add another dimension to her single “Hold your Head High,” which will act as a pre-release to her 2019 album.

“The song is about supporting your sister in life, moving forward and being optimistic,” she said. “I’m working with a really awesome producer. Michael’s got a really cool plan for it. We’ll have a lot of live band shots…It’s a really cool opportunity.”

Written for her own sister, the song itself encourages people to stress a little less and “find the birds in every sky and sing the songs that make you cry.” The plan is for the video to really delve into Vandergrift’s own roots and display some of her own comforting memories and growing up with a Dutch-Canadian upbringing in Lacombe.

Fittingly, when filming begins in January, many scenes will be shot in and around the city, which she says is still a place where she comes to de-stress herself.

“I spend quite a bit of time there still,” she said. “It’s a really great place to get my head clear and I’ve written a lot of songs at my parents house in Lacombe.”

Music aspirations, however, did cause her to leave the community. For awhile, she lived in Edmonton where she released three albums – Yes Alright OK in 2011, So Far in 2012 and Sailor in 2015. However, Calgary became more of a hub for country-roots music, so she made the relocation, and had split time there over the past two years with time at her parents’ in Lacombe, as well as touring, teaching guitar and aspiring other musical endeavours.

As she’s not signed to a label and records independently, she’s also been waiting for funding in order to move her career forward. The STORYHIVE grant, perhaps, couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It’s not cheap to create and record music. It’s not cheap to market it and it’s not cheap to tour, so it’s really nice to have a bit of grant money coming in,” she said.

“I have some YouTube content -live videos – but I’ve always done things on a really tight budget. To have a $10,000 grant to do a really high quality music video is a huge opportunity to take my career to the next level.”

The music video will be completed by April 2019, and then released on both STORYHIVE.com and TELUS Optik TV On Demand in the summer.

STORYHIVE music video grants were also received this year by local filmmaker Cassandra Paige Johnston to produce a music video for metal trio HAAZE. In the past, Jojo O’ and the WOODS also received a grant to create the music video for “Old Friends.”

Vandergrift can be found on YouTube, Spotify, as well as on her website justinevandergrift.com.