Gander native up for a Genie

Andrea Gunn
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Thompson nominated for song, Tender Steps, with Pyne

It may not be The Oscars, but for Canadians it's the next best thing. The Genie Awards have been celebrating achievements in Canadian cinema since 1979, and this year a Gander native is up for an award.

TENDER STEPS — Gander native Matthew Thompson has been nominated for a Genie Award along with fellow musician Cherie Pyne for their original song, Tender Steps, written for the movie, Crackie. Mr. Thompson has been involved in the music scene in Montreal for the past number of years as a musician as well as a sound producer, but got his start playing and recording music in garage bands in Gander.

Local roots

Although Mr. Thompson has been involved in the Montreal music scene for a number of years, his roots in music started while growing up in Gander.

Mr. Thompson said he took piano lessons from a very early age and he got his first guitar in sixth grade. Throughout his school career in Gander he was very active in playing, writing, and recording music in several local bands.

“When I was growing up in Gander the music scene was brilliant, everybody was really into it. It was a small town so there wasn't many places to play, but just for a local scene the amount of musicians that were part of it, and how everyone was friends and trying to help each other out,” he said. “There was a big group of us and everyone was writing and recording their own music, and there were so many good musicians to play with.”

Mr. Thompson said he remembers recording his high-school band, The Racing Turtles, on an old eight-track cassette recorder. “Listening back to some of those recordings is kind of embarrassing,” he joked. “I wasn't a very good singer back then.”

Since moving to Montreal, Mr. Thompson has been heavily involved in the music scene playing with his band, Open Fields, which includes his fiancé and another Gander native Mr. Thompson played with while growing up. The band has released a full-length album and an EP. Mr. Thompson also has a solo project and recently released a full-length album, which he wrote and recorded himself. Although he said his primary instrument is guitar, Mr. Thompson plays an array of instruments from drums to banjo.

“When you're a musician who has been playing for so many years, recording, writing, to be recognized for something you've worked on, just being nominated is really nice.” —Matthew Thompson

He also offers up his home-studio and recording and mixing expertise to fellow musicians.

Mr. Thompson said he eventually hopes to go back to school for his masters in audio post-production in hopes of landing a full-time gig in the field.

“I've been trying to get a job in the field, but it's tough to get into,” he said.

Mr. Thompson also said he hopes to record more music with Ms. Pyne in the future.

The Genie-nominated song Tender Steps is available to listen at


Organizations: Concordia University, The Beacon, Genie academy

Geographic location: Gander, Montreal, Newfoundland St. John's Ottawa

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