The first time we interviewed The Reklaws they were coming off of their 2013 Emerging Artist Showcase win at Boots & Hearts and preparing for their performance at the 2014 festival in Bowmanville, ON. A lot has changed in the three and a half years between then and our afternoon hangout in Toronto this fall.
The sister/brother duo of Jenna and Stuart Walker have had their share of ups and downs in their young musical careers, from singing on big stages at major festivals to playing shows to small crowds in dark rooms. From releasing songs to country radio to wondering if it was time to give it up and try something new. But through the journey so far, The Reklaws have managed to come out on the positive end of things, signing with Universal Music Canada and releasing their 2017 single, Hometown Kids.
Before the country duo signed their Universal deal, they made the move to Nashville to write. They put their heads down, they worked day after day, and they learned that this whole thing was going to be a process. There was no overnight success coming, no snap of the fingers that was going to make them a household name, just more work and dedication and perseverance needed if they were going to accomplish the things they had set their hearts on from the beginning.
The Walker siblings also made a point that we’ve heard from other artists in the past… the people around you matter. The Reklaws have been careful and deliberate about the people they’ve surrounded themselves with over the last few years. Knowing that the support, guidance, and opportunities that they needed would come from the relationships they built.
While we hung out with Jenna and Stuart at Toronto’s Rock N Horse Saloon, we played a round of 5 Quick Questions. Hit play to learn their favourite Shania jams, childhood nicknames, and more!
That work, dedication, and perseverance that The Reklaws have displayed landed them in a pretty good spot this summer. Hometown Kids made a splash, offering The Reklaws the chance to play shows like The Budweiser County Fair in downtown Toronto, Trackside Music Festival in London, ON and The Kee To Bala on Canada Day. The track also ended up as the only country song on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Summer Playlist with Spotify.
It’s a banger of a track that puts all of the youthful enthusiasm and energy that The Reklaws have on display. And in listening to it, we can hear the growth in Jenna and Stuart’s voices since we first came across their music.
We asked about the summer of 2017 and the hometown kids told us that things were crazy – in the best way. Between their shows and appearances, they filmed and released a music video for the single, and put in work on the music that will make up their debut album in 2018. And while all that was happening, Hometown Kids was climbing the charts, breaking the top 20, marking the first time the duo had reached that plateau.
To see where The Reklaws are now without context is to see a young duo making their way into the country music mainstream in Canada. To see where they are now as part of a longer timeline is to see the culmination of hard work and patience and taking advantage of opportunities.
It’s a story that’s been lived and told many times by many artists, and one that never gets easier for any of the emerging acts involved. However, the upside, the top 20 singles, videos, record deals, interviews, features, TV appearances, concerts and more are the payoff for the dedication that The Reklaws and many others can look to as the reward for sticking it out.
It hasn’t been fast or easy, but Jenna and Stuart Walker are closer to reaching their dreams and achieving their goals than they’ve ever been before. They aren’t unknowns playing for a panel of judges at Boots & Hearts anymore.
Before we finished our hang with The Reklaws we got Jenna and Stuart to give us an acoustic performance of their breakout single, Hometown Kids. Watch the video now and stay tuned for more from these two farm kids from Cambridge, ON – they’re comin’ for ya!