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Alberta RCMP officer and Edmonton police constable earn Juno nomination for gospel album

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Country gospel band Stirling John has received a Juno Award nomination for the independent album “Where I’m Meant to Be.”

John, the lead singer-songwriter, is an Alberta RCMP officer. Guitarist and backup singer David Pedersen is a constable and school resource officer with the Edmonton Police Service.

“I feel humbled and I’m honored to be nominated in the Juno category,” John said of the nod for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year. “I think it’s a great opportunity to lead by example in our communities and really show our youth that if you have a goal in mind, you can go for it, and people support you.”

“It’s definitely a feeling of pride and excitement,” Pedersen added. “It’s cool to be acknowledged in that way. It feels like a huge privilege.”

John and Pedersen connected via an ad on Kijiji in 2017 and met for the first time soon after at a Tim Hortons.

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“I was looking for singer-songwriter, somebody who kind of aligned with my values,” John said, “and the rest was history.”


Stirling John is nominated for a Juno Award.


Courtesy: Facebook/Stirling John

John said he and Pedersen quickly learned they had a lot in common.


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“He was like: ‘What’s your schedule like?’ We talked about four-on, four-off shift schedules. He said: ‘Are you police, fire or EMS?’”

Pedersen explained: “It turns out we were both working night shift as police officers on neighbouring districts.”

“The more that we connect, the more that we journey through, it definitely seems like it was meant to be.”

Their shared experiences as first responders inspires many of their songs.

“There was a song that was initially written years back called Weight of the Call and it was really a debriefing moment for me,” John said. “To write to the seriousness of the call but also how it affected myself and also the other first responders. Weight of the Call really became an anthem for a lot of police officers that couldn’t really speak what was on their mind and how the job affected them.”

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The song resonated with a lot of other first responders. In fact, the band was invited to perform at a police department opening in Texas.

Pederson is a school resource officer who splits his time between H.E. Beriault and St. Thomas More Catholic schools.

“A lot of the songs are inspired by interactions I’ve had with young people,” Pedersen said.

“I just want them to get the message that hey, things can be hard but there’s hope, there’s second chances, there’s getting yourself up, dusting yourself off, and move forward.”

And, if juggling his work as a police officer and Juno-nominated musician isn’t enough, Pedersen is also a father to four daughters.

“It can be a challenge. There’s a lot of times you get double booked… but the people around me are really supportive. My wife is very supportive,” he said. “It’s full. It’s busy, but it’s good,” he said.

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“It gets you up every morning. It gets you excited to get out of bed and live life when you’re living things that are purposeful, meaningful and part of your passion.”

Stirling John performed at H.E. Beriault’s school talent show on Friday before flying to Halifax this weekend for the Junos.

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