This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful. (May 2010)
John Peter "Jay" Semko is a singer/songwriter and bassist with Canadian band, The Northern Pikes. He is also a music composer for numerous film and television productions, most notably the successful Canadian television series Due South. Semko has been nominated for a Juno Award eight times as a member of the Northern Pikes, and also been nominated twice for a Gemini Award and received two awards from the Canadian Music Publishers Association for his songwriting. His hometown is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
4 External links,
Semko's first solo album, Mouse was released in 1995 following the (at-that-time) end of The Northern Pikes in late 1993. During this time, Semko was music composer for the Due South (Pilot movie and 66 episodes 1994-1998, with co-composers Jack Lenz and John McCarthy) by (Academy Award winner) Paul Haggis (for which Jay received two nominations for 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" (1994).
Semko has composed music for many other dramas and documentary series on Discovery Channel, CBC, Global, APTN, Showcase, and others, and has had many of his songs and compositions featured in film and television (Trailer Park Boys - the Movie (2006) Mike Clattenburg (director/writer/screenplay) and Rob Wells (writer/screenplay) "Men With Brooms" (2002) Paul Gross and "Being Erica" (2009) are some recent examples).
As a songwriter, Semko has co-written in Nashville and Canada with such writers as Willie Mack, Gilles Godard, Andrew Fromm, Roger Springer, Larry Haack, Jack Lenz, Tim Taylor, Steve Fox, Daryl Burgess, Sean Hogan, Paul Gross, and David Keeley. He has recorded with other artists including Garth Hudson (of The Band), the late Stan Celeste (of Jackson Browne & Crosby, Stills and Nash), John Sebastian (of The Lovin' Spoonful), Crystal Taliefero (of Bruce Springsteen & John Mellencamp), Margo Timmins (of Cowboy Junkies), Bob Egan (of Wilco & Blue Rodeo), Patricia Conroy, Greg Godovitz, Matt Andersen, Ashley MacIsaac, and Serena Ryder. He has toured with such artists as Bruce Hornsby, Robert Palmer, Tom Cochrane and Peter Frampton.
Semko wrote the music for a permanent installation at Saskatchewan's Western Development Museum. He also co-produced a number of other artists, including Screwtape Lewis and Kim Fontaine. Since 2009, Semko has performed at the International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis, South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, and was a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest Gospel/Inspirational Category for "Jesus Is Gonna Help Me".
Semko is also a voiceover artist, with his voice being heard on radio and television advertisements, public service announcements, documentaries, and dramas, and has written numerous music and music business related articles for various Canadian publications. He has also instructed songwriting courses and hosted songwriting workshops and seminars through the University of Saskatchewan, Songwriters Association of Canada, SOCAN and private clients.
Semko released his self-titled album in August 2010 on Busted Flat Records, distributed through Universal Music in Canada. Semko's entire solo catalogue has now been re-released through Busted Flat. In November, 2010, Busted Flat Records released "Heartaches & Numbers", the first album from Semko Fontaine Taylor, a Saskatchewan folk/roots trio consisting of Semko, Kim Fontaine and David J. Taylor. Semko's most recent projects include composing the score for "Dust Up", a six-part reality TV series airing on History Television, and touring across Canada in support of his latest album. Semko was nominated in June, 2011 for Songwriter of the Year in the Western Canadian Music Awards for "Before You Leave Canada", a song from the 2010 "Jay Semko" album.