"Anytime you start questioning whether or not you still have a place in the industry, or whether it's still the right path for you, it's funny how people come out of the woodwork and remind you that you do." 

Since 2008 when his debut album was released, Estevan-born Chris Henderson has toured all over Canada. Regardless of where the road took him, he's never forgotten his fans and the corner of Saskatchewan that raised him. Henderson is one of five artists nominated for 'Male Country Artists of the Year' for the 2024 Saskatchewan Country Music Association (SCMA) Awards. 

"It is an honour, especially when we look at the talent in the province [that's] on the ballot this year. JJ Voss is a good friend and a guy that's been working hard for a long time, especially in the last couple of years. Jake Vaadeland - he's been just killing it this year. He's been touring all over in North America and releasing music and catching all kinds of attention. Justin LeBrash - another guy that's been on the road of tons and releasing music and Brody Siebert. Just to be included with names that are working that hard and that are out there making a difference in the music industry, certainly, is an honour," Henderson said. 

Henderson shared that over the years, he's battled some roadblocks in his life. In 2020, he had to call off over 70 shows due to the pandemic. With different curveballs and life changes thrown at him, he said that the fans encouraged him to stay in country music. 

"They're the ones that keep you going; keep you doing it. Music is one of those things that you can do publicly or you can sit at home by yourself and play. There's been times where I've thought about stepping back from it and stopping. Every time I kind of feel that way,  it seems like I have fans that reach out and ask when the next thing's coming or when they can come to a show or, you know, [they] approach you after a show." 

Fans of Chris' music will note the authenticity behind his lyrics. He said that his connection to Estevan and his passion for country music are essential for his songwriting to this day. 

"If you're going to be making music that's authentic, I think a lot of it comes from, you know, how you were raised. And, my roots do run deep in the southeast corner of Saskatchewan. I spent a ton of time listening to back when it was CJ1280. I mean there's a lot of country music being played in my vehicles and in hockey dressing rooms and all that sort of things over the years." 

"As I get older, my music - it's definitely more of a reflection of who I am and where I'm from." -Henderson on where his roots collide with his songwriting. 

When out on the road away from home, he turns to a piece of advice his dad gave him. 

"My dad was a road dog. He was on his full time musician in the 60s and 70s and one thing that he taught me about being on the road was that, you know, hotel rooms generally look pretty similar wherever you go. One trick that I've always kind of taken that he did back in the day was, you know, if I was missing, whether it be family at home or dogs or, you know, missing out on an event...because of being on the road, I always took a few things along in my bag - whether that'd be a few photos or just a handful of things that I could set out in my hotel room. I always thought of my dad every time I got to a hotel and set out a couple of things. It just grounded me wherever I was." 

The Male Artist of the Year nominees include Brody Siebert, Jake Vaadeland, JJ Voss, Justin LaBrash, and Chris Henderson. The SCMA Awards will be on June 22, 2024 in Lloydminster at the Vic Juba Community Theatre.