A Kitchener nurse was on shift at Grand River Hospital when she got the call letting her know the Junos were considering her album for nomination.

“She said ‘I’m calling from the Junos and I just like silent screamed, because you know, you’re at work,” singer-songwriter Tuzee Arndt said, with a laugh.

The artist, who goes by Tuzee for her music, has since been named an official nominee in the Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year category for her album titled Alive.

“It’s hard to describe. It’s just amazing and what I’ve worked so hard for and it’s been a journey actually getting my music out,” said Tuzee.

While putting out that album, Tuzee has continued working as a full-time nurse.

“There’s a lot about nursing that I love,” Tuzee said. “I become a voice for people who do not have one and I become hope for people who do not have hope.”

Before her love for nursing was her love for music. It started when she was growing up in Liberia, singing at church with her family.

“Music has always been in my family. My dad sang, my whole family sang. I’m the fourth of seven, so sometimes it was like a competition in our house,” Tuzee said.

When she moved by herself from Liberia to Canada, music became a source of comfort for her without having her family nearby.

In 2019, she took the next step – recording and releasing her own songs.

“I just woke up one day and I’m like ‘I’m going to record this song,’” she said.

The first song she recorded was called Shine, which is featured on her album Alive.

Shortly after that came out, the pandemic hit. Health care got busier and she used music as an outlet.

“Believe me, I’d come home some days and I’m like ‘okay, I just want to sleep,’” Tuzee said. “But then there are those other days when I get home and went through a great day, and there’s so much in my head to write. So it really balances out.”

Some songs, including Change Is on the Way, came from nursing during the pandemic.

Tuzee said her day job often inspires her music.

Her friend and fellow nurse Zephania Alexander has watched Tuzee juggle it all.

“I don’t know how she does it,” Alexander said.

“After a 12 hour shift, I’m done. I go home, I want to watch TV and lay on the couch. That’s it. So I can’t believe that she’s not only working as a nurse, but she’s a mom, she has a family, and then also on top of that she’s singing, song writing, making music videos and all of that,” said Alexander.

That hard work has paid off with her Juno nomination. Tuzee was named Gospel Music Association female vocalist of the year. Next, she’ll be travelling to Halifax for the first time to attend the Junos on March 24.

Regardless of the outcome, she said she’s honoured to even be nominated.

“But hopefully it’s a win,” Tuzee said, with a laugh.

Without the support of her family, friends and producer, Tuzee said she wouldn’t be able to do all she can.

Her music is available here