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Jay Semko

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"have a good time ALL the time..." - Viv Savage

Sounds Like:

Jay Semko


all great music....big fan of Beatles, Stones, Gordon Lightfoot, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne and sooooo many others...

Favourite Singer/Songwriter:

Gordon Lightfoot

Contact Email:

Social Media:

Songs by Jay Semko



Saskatoon, SK

Level of Experience:



Country | Folk | Rock

I Write:

By myself | For myself | With others | For others

I prefer to write:

Lyrics | Melody | Chord Patterns | Arrangements

Songs Recorded:

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Albums Released:

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Song Placements:

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Other Credits:

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I am interested in:

Web Cowriting | Face to face Cowriting | Networking | Pitching Songs to Artists | Pitching Songs To Tv/Film/Etc.


Jay Semko was born and raised in Saskatchewan,
spending much of his first 11 years living on a farm.
After moving to Saskatoon in Grade 7, Jay began
honing his skills as a guitarist and bassist, and played
in numerous rock bands through his high school years.
After a year at the University of Saskatchewan, and
after stints in a number of bands in and around
Saskatoon, Jay formed the Northern Pikes, a guitar
based pop rock group featuring twangy, atmospheric
guitars and unique three part harmonies, with Bryan
Potvin, Merl Bryck, and Don Schmid. After releasing
2 independent albums which charted highly on
College and Indie playlists in Canada and the USA,
the Pikes signed an international record contract with
Virgin Records in 1986, and the band's career went to
another level, releasing a total of seven albums on the
label and touring across North America.
As a member of the Northern Pikes, Jay was awarded
four Gold records and one Platinum, with sales of
over 1 million units worldwide. The Northern Pikes
had a number of Canadian hit singles, including
Teenland, Things I Do for Money, Wait for Me,
Hopes Go Astray, She Ain't Pretty, Girl with a
Problem, Kiss Me You Fool, Twister and Believe.
Two of these, Things I Do for Money and She Ain't

Pretty, appeared in the USA Billboard Charts, and
many of the band's videos charted in the Top 5 on
MuchMusic, including Girl with a Problem, which
reached #1. The band received 8 Juno Award
nominations, and Jay received two Canadian Music
Publishers Association Awards, for Teenland and Girl
with a Problem. During the course of their career, the
Northern Pikes have released twelve albums. In 2012
the iconic Canadian band was inducted into the
Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
When the Northern Pikes began a six year hiatus in
1993, Jay recorded "Mouse", the first of many solo
albums, and branched into a new facet of his music
career, composing for film and television. Jay is
known worldwide as music composer on the
internationally syndicated TV series, "Due South"
created by Academy and Emmy Award winner Paul
Haggis (for which Jay received two nominations in
Canada's Gemini Awards - Best Music Score in a
Dramatic Series) and has won the MMPIA Blizzard
and SMPIA Awards for Best Music Score as music
composer for the movie, "Paris Or Somewhere". In
2013 Jay was nominated in the Canadian Screen
Awards (formerly the Gemini Awards) for his work
on the TV series "Dust Up" in the category of Best

Original Music for a Non-Fiction Program or Series.
Jay has composed music for many other dramas and
documentary series on Discovery Channel, CBC,
Global, APTN, Showcase, History, and others, and
has had many of his songs and compositions featured
in film and television.
Jay has released ten solo albums, firmly establishing
him as one of Canada's premiere songwriters - in 2009
Jay was runner-up in the Gospel/Inspirational
Category of the internationally acclaimed John
Lennon Songwriting Contest for "Jesus Is Gonna Help
Me"; in 2011 Jay was nominated as Songwriter of the
Year in the Western Canadian Music Awards for
"Before You Leave Canada"; in 2012 won the SCMA
Award for Roots Album of the Year ("Force of
Horses") and in 2015 won the same award for “Flora
Vista”; was a finalist in the 2012 international
Independent Music Awards Gospel Song category for
"Drop You In The Water", was nominated in the Best
Solo Roots Recording category for "Sending Love" in
the Western Canadian Music Awards, as well as being
inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of
Fame with his band mates in the Northern Pikes.
Jay is an accomplished voiceover artist and a full
ACTRA member, with his voice being heard on radio

and television advertisements, public service
announcements, documentaries, and dramas, and has
also instructed songwriting courses and hosted
songwriting workshops and seminars through the
University of Saskatchewan, Songwriters Association
of Canada, SOCAN and private clients. Jay has also
co-written with many other songwriters in Canada and
the USA, and continues to do so regularly.
Jay's most recent album, “Never Sent”, released on
Inner Expression Records, is a rootsy musical road
trip through love, loss, and spirituality. He continues
to tour nationally on his own and with the Northern
Pikes (most recently in Oct/Nov 2017 in support of
Universal Music Canada’s release of Big Blue Sky
Supersized), and his solo acoustic concerts are
legendary for their laughter, tears, and sheer love of
music and life. For more info about Jay go to

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