It wasn’t long ago that 30-year-old St. John’s resident Dani Bailey was busking outside grocery and liquor stores in St. John’s.
But her life has fast-forwarded significantly since her friend, film director Martine Blue, asked Bailey to contribute several original songs to Blue’s film, “Hunting Pignut.”
“Her music … literally haunts you and it stays in your mind.”
Martine Blue, film director
On Tuesday, Bailey was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for best original song in a film for her song, “Rid the Dark.”
The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television announced the nominees in Toronto for the annual celebration of excellence in film, television and digital media.
Nominated in the same category are Qais Essar and Joshua Hill for their song “The Crown Sleeps” for the film “The Breadwinner,” and Joey Sherrett, Chris Gordon, and Nathaniel Huskinson’s song “CTS Thief” for the film “Boost.”
“I think it’s just amazing that she went from being a Sobeys busker to now being nominated,” Blue said. “She’s so deserving.”
Bailey says that trying to make it as a musician has been tough at times, but she can’t imagine doing anything else.
“I spent years playing in empty bars,” she said. “Aside from being a part of ‘Hunting Pignut,’ my music career has been pretty low-key.”
But Blue says many of the compliments from the film’s festival tour and theatrical run were for its music, and although the soundtrack is diverse, it does feature five original songs by Bailey.
“Her music … literally haunts you and it stays in your mind,” Blue said. “I was singing her songs for months and months. I could not get them out of my head.”
Bailey, who grew up in North Harbour, Placentia Bay, says she wrote some songs specifically for the film, and others were works in progress that she altered to fit certain scenes.
“I really felt I could relate to Bernice, the main character, so it was fun trying to write from her perspective,” Bailey said. “I would just sit down with my guitar and watch the clips.”
Blue explains that the character of Bernice is traumatized by her early experiences in life, and that Bailey’s songs gave a voice to the character’s feelings.
“It was like a perfect fit,” Blue said.
Bailey’s songs are available for download on the website BandCamp, and she is working on plans for a cross-country tour this summer.
Meanwhile, both Bailey and Blue will head to Toronto for the awards, which will be broadcast live on CBC on March 11. A complete list of nominees in all categories is available online at academy.ca.