With the look of a Hollywood leading man and the build of a professional athlete, people who see him for the first time often ask "who is he?" If you were to pose that question to George Canyon himself, he'd immediately tell you that he's a dedicated husband and a proud father of two. Family being his first priority, Canyon, a man of Faith, abandoned his musical aspirations years ago to work as a bylaw officer in order to support his family. His wife, Jennifer, urged him to keep writing songs and performing however George felt that it was no longer practical, and put music on the back burner.
In 2004, Jennifer persuaded him to audition for U.S.A Network’s "Nashville Star"- an internationally televised performance competition similar to the "American Idol" format. Canyon showed up, wowed the worldwide audiences and nearly won the entire contest. The rest is history punctuated by industry accolades, achievements and sustained success.
His integrity and dedication to his family lives as a theme through the songs he writes and the stories he tells with his music and the way he lives his life. It is also the same force that drives him to inspire youth through his role as a national spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14, Canyon, a young Air Cadet, was informed that he would have to forgo his ambitions and dreams to serve his country as a pilot in the Canadian Air Force. Years later he would learn to manage his disease through diet, lifestyle and the effective use of insulin pump technology. In 2009, Canyon passed a series of medical tests and as a result of this was able to obtain his pilot's license.
On February 21, 2008 he was recognized for all his philanthropic work in support of the Canadian troops and was appointed Honorary Colonel for the Canadian Air Force at 14 Wing Greenwood in Nova Scotia..
He never could have predicted the journey, but he finally realized the dream that had evaded him as a young man of serving in the Air Force. Later that year, Canyon took his personal story and his own plane across Canada and organized several talks and concerts to inspire youngsters afflicted with type 1 diabetes, with his inspiring message, a project he named “The Sky’s Not The Limit”. He urged them to take ownership of their disease, pursue their dreams, and achieve their goals. "Being a kid is hard enough without having a disease that limits your choices. If I can tell my story and change a life or two, that's the kind of imprint I want to leave" Canyon says. The message has been effective, and George's story continues to resonate.
In the fall of 2010, George performed and spoke to over 20,000 people at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles at a JDRF fund-raising event. His 2010 hit single "I Believe in Angels" has been adopted as a theme song by the JDRF in the United States and Canyon appeared on "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" to encourage youngsters with his story.
The song, “I Believe in Angels” received a SOCAN award in November 2011, for one of the most played songs at Canadian Country Radio in 2010.
On December 23rd, 2011, The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defense, announced that George Canyon has been appointed as the first-ever Colonel Commandant of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. Minister Mackay states, ”Being a former Air Cadet himself, he has always exuded a keen interest in aviation and has made several positive contributions on military matters. He will be an exceptional role model and mentor, motivating Canada’s youth to reach their full potential.” As Colonel Commandant, Canyon will have the responsibilities of developing, promoting and sustaining strong community ties, fostering esprit de corps, and acting as a spokesperson and role model.
As George's charitable work continues, his achievements grow with it. In the past two years, he has been recognized as the most played Canadian artist at Canadian country radio. He's also one of the most recognizable and requested stars on CMT (Country Music Television). His videos garner hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube and he has won multiple Juno, East Coast Music Awards and Canadian Country Music Awards including "Humanitarian of the Year Award" for his philanthropic endeavors.
Also an actor Canyon has appeared on some highly rated Canadian television series’ such as CBC-TV’s "Heartland" and Showcase’s "Trailer Park Boys" and has starred in many television programs and specials.
He recently starred alongside Dean Cain and Luke Schroder in a made for TV movie, “A Mile In His Shoes” which aired in September 2011 in the US on GMC, and in Canada on Showcase in November 2011. George will also host “The Gift Of Giving” a star studded show and incentive to raise funds for food banks across Canada through the sale of a compilation album. The show is scheduled for multiple airings during December 2011 on CMT, YTV and OWN networks.
George regularly tours Europe, the US and engages his fans the old fashioned way - by playing over 100 shows a year in his home country. "I'm trying to get better at twittering. I know that it is the new social medium but there is nothing that replaces the face-to-face connection. It is very rewarding to meet the fans who afford me the opportunity to share my music from the stage because they spend their hard earned money to be in the audience. It's really humbling when you think about it." Canyon says.
In 2007 George took the reins and created his first album performed and produced entirely by him. “Classics” was George’s tribute to the traditional country artists and songs which inspired him as a child. “This is the album I've always wanted to make.” George says. “It was a labour of love to record these songs that influenced me so many years ago. It was important for me to keep the arrangements true to the original in the hope that when people listen to this it recreates the magic I experienced when hearing these songs on the radio the first time round.” “Classics” was enthusiastically received by George’s audience and even produced a hit version of the Johnny Cash favourite “Ring of Fire.” “Classics” was certified Gold in October 2011.
He has sold over 300,000 albums and his critically acclaimed music continues to grow with every record. In 2008 multi-platinum artist and pop/rock icon Richard Marx signed on to produce Canyon's "What I Do” album. The record yielded 7 hit singles including "Just Like You", the album’s debut single, which was written for George's son, Kale. "I was driving my kids to school when the song came on the radio. Kale was in the backseat with his sister and I looked in the rear view mirror. He had the biggest smile on his face, but he didn't say a word. As a parent there is no better feeling than when your kid is speechless with joy." His young daughter, Madi got her own song too, which appeared George’s “Somebody Wrote Love” album (2006) "Madi's Song" continues to be one of Canyon's most requested cuts at his live shows.
Marx and Canyon teamed up again to write and record songs for the 2011 album "Better Be Home Soon." The enhanced digital version of the album includes songs written and co-written by the likes of Marx, Matt Scannell, Johnny Reid and Kenny Rogers. "I was honored when Richard phoned me to say that he and Kenny Rogers had written a song especially for me. It was one of those 'breathtaking moments' that I have been lucky enough to have a few of, in my career and life." And the song? "It's called 'When Love Is All You've Got'. Richard and I actually recorded it as a duet. It has a powerful message that resonates well in times of economic strife and we felt that it was a story that had to be told. We went deep with the songwriting in this record. There are some great ballads, but there are also a lot of fun tracks. I think it's important to achieve a balance on a record and take the listener through some peaks and valleys." says Canyon. “Better Be Home Soon” was certified Gold in April 2011, making this album his fastest selling album to date.
When George Canyon is performing live onstage, he is most at home. He has the entire audience in the palm of his hand and you just can’t help but want to be a part of his unique family. He is respected and well-loved and one of the most successful entertainers in the country today.
GEORGE CANYON AWARDS & ACCOLADES
September 2004 – Canadian Country Music Awards
Chevy Trucks Rising Star Award
November 2004 – Music Industry of Nova Scotia Awards
New Artist Recording of the Year – for the album George Canyon
Country Recording of the Year – for the album George Canyon
February 2005 – The East Coast Music Awards.
Galaxie Rising Star
Country Recording of the Year (for the album One Good Friend)
Entertainer of the Year
March 2005 – Canadian Radio Music Awards (CMW)
Canadian Radio Music Award for Best New Group or Solo Artist (Country) for his single “Good Day To Ride” (Blue Leaf Records)
April 2005 – The Juno Awards
The Juno Award for Country Recording of the Year for One Good Friend (Universal)
September 2005 - Canadian Country Music Awards
Single of the Year for “My Name”
SOCAN Song of the Year for “My Name”
Male Artist of the Year
Fan’s Choice Award
November 2005 – Music Box Awards, Paris, France
New Artist Male USA/Canada
November 2005 – 2005 Nova Scotia Crystal Tourism Awards of Excellence
February 2006– The East Coast Music Awards
Entertainer of the Year
September 2006 - Canadian Country Music Awards
Male Artist of the Year
Single of the Year for “Somebody Wrote Love”
November 2006 – SOCAN AWARDS
SOCAN Country Music Award for “My Name” (for the country single which received the most radio airplay in Canada).
February 2007 - East Coast Music Awards
Entertainer of the Year
Country Recording of the Year
Video of the Year (Drinkin' Thinkin')
April 2007 - The Juno Awards
Country Recording of the Year (Somebody Wrote Love)
February 2008 - East Coast Music Awards
Entertainer of the Year
Honorary Colonel for 14 Wing Greenwood (Feb 21st)
September 2008 - Canadian Country Music Awards
Humanitarian Award - in recognition for his work with the Canadian Military and work with families with children who have Type 1 Diabetes.
Canadian Friends for Life Award. Presented by Children With Diabetes.
SOCAN AWARD for Greatest Number of Performances on Canadian Country Radio during 2009.
Appointed National Spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
September 2011 - Canadian Country Music Awards
Record Producer(s) of the Year with Richard Marx for the album Better Be Home Soon (Universal)
March 2013 - East Coast Music Awards
Fan's Choice Video of the Year 'Saddle Up' (Director: Warren Sonoda)
April 13, 2013 - Presented the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal by Minister National Defense, Peter MacKay