Tsawwassen recording artist nominated for a Juno

Tsawwassen recording artist Warren Dean Flandez has just been nominated for a 2019 Juno Award.

His latest album Speak is nominated for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year, one of the awards to be handed out on Sunday, March 17 in London, Ont.

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“It was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting it, but really excited,” said Flandez of the nomination. “We released the album last year in Canada on iTunes Canada and will be doing the international release soon.”

Flandez was nominated in the same category in 2017 for Eternally Grateful.

Not confined by genre-specific stereotypes, Speak is a soulfully charged, urban-infused album produced with award-winning partner Jamie Kuse.

The first single Born For Greatness features KJ Apa, star of hit TV show Riverdale.

“The reaction in Canada has been great,” he said. “The album went number one on the iTunes inspirational charts and number 20 on the overall iTunes charts. We donated 100 per cent of the first week of sales of the single Born For Greatness to Music Heals [Charitable Foundation], so it was a really good way to give back at the same time.

“It’s classified as an inspirational or gospel album, but my real inspiration was to take this music outside the four walls of the church. I think it can resonate with anyone and it doesn’t really matter what their beliefs are or where they come from. I really wanted this to be a universal album – it’s more empowering more than anything.”

Born in Yellowknife, Flandez grew up singing in the church. At 15, he began singing lead in a soul gospel choir under the direction of Checo Tohomaso, former backup singer and keyboardist of Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie and the Commodores. It was under Tohomaso’s mentorship that he developed his craft through studying the ways of Motown and channeling the essence of soul greats.

In 2011, Flandez released his critically acclaimed debut album Vintage Love, a collaborative effort produced by Mike Southworth that featured contributions from R&B songstress Divine Brown, the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Printz Board (Black Eyed Peas), Andrea Martin (Roc Nation) and a song penned by legendary songwriter Diane Warren.

In Tsawwassen and Vancouver, he’s the chief creative director of Studio Cloud 30, a music and talent development hub where instructors in residence offer vocal coaching, music lessons and practical support for performers in a diverse range of styles.

Flandez created Studio Cloud 30 as a vehicle for novice, hobbyists and professional musicians and performers of all ages to develop their talents in an environment that offers the highest standard of industry training.

Flandez has been touring the music awards circuit, attending the Gospel Music Awards in Nashville in October, the Grammys last week in Los Angeles and plans to attend the Junos in March.

“I went last year in Vancouver and I hope to go again in March,” he said. “It’s always a fun night and a great chance to immerse yourself in the musical talents of so many people.”

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