Five years ago, Mike Trudell decided to give up the security of his career as a paramedic in his hometown of Elliot Lake, and pursue his dreams of becoming a country star.
While he'd been an amateur musician for years, it was really a gig opening for Canadian country music singer George Canyon in Elliot Lake that spurred on his decision.
“We had started talking about me moving forward and doing this professionally,” said Trudell, who moved to Sudbury about three years ago.
“He hooked me up with a studio in Nashville. Just at that time I was kind of debating what I was going to do with my career. I ended up down in Nashville recording the first five-song EP.”
In 2014, Trudell released his first album, “Do You Wanna?” and is currently preparing to produce another album.
He's released two singles — “Do You Wanna?” and “Blue Jean Girl” — which Sudburians may have heard on country radio. A third, “Runaway Highway,” will be released in the near future.
Trudell has toured all over Canada, and has opened for Canadian country musicians Dallas Smith, Brett Kissel and Gord Bamford.
Although he loved working as a paramedic, Trudell said he ultimately has no regrets. After five years, he said he feels like he's making some headway in the music business.
“It's just about making sacrifices, and sometimes it's hard to let go of certain things, especially with security,” he said.
“You have a good job and a steady paycheque, and jumping into something you don't know is going to work. But you're fulfilled in so many other different ways than just financially fulfilled.”
Perhaps music was Trudell's destiny, as plenty of family members are also musicians of some description.
With an older musician brother 11 years his senior, he started playing the piano at eight years old, the drums at 10, and by the age of 12 he was also playing the guitar.
He admits he preferred rock and roll as a young man, but one day his roommate put on the Vince Gill song “Liza Jane,” and Trudell was in love.
“I heard this guitar solo and I thought 'Holy smokes,'” he said. “I ended up learning this thing note for note, and I just couldn't believe the style and the picking and how cool it was, and I just got locked right into country music.”
While Trudell has been mostly touring out of town, he has a few performances coming up in this region.
That's includes 9 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Markstay Arena; 9 p.m. Jan. 23 at Shoeless Joe's; 9 p.m. Jan. 28 at The Night Club; 9 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Crazy Horse Tavern in Chelmsford; 6 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Sturgeon Falls Comfort Inn (as part of the Daisy Dukes and Boots fundraiser for the West Nipissing General Hospital Foundation); and 9 p.m. Feb. 12 and 13 at Shooters Bar in North Bay.
To learn more about upcoming show dates, or to purchase Trudell's album ($9.99 for a digital download), visit miketrudellmusic.com.