Composer, songwriter, performer, and voiceover artist, Semko is known worldwide for his work on the internationally syndicated TV series, "Due South" and as a founding member of the iconic Canadian band, “The Northern Pikes”. He is a 2-time Gemini Awards nominee (1995/1996 "Due South" - Best Original Music Score for a Dramatic Series) and 2013 Canadian Screen Awards nominee "Dust Up" - Best Original Music for a Non-Fiction Program or Series.
As a member of the Pikes, Jay's been awarded 1 Double Platinum and 4 Gold records, with sales of over 1 million albums worldwide. The Pikes have received numerous awards and award nominations, including 8 Juno nominations, and as a solo artist Jay has received multiple award nominations and wins, including twice winning the SCMA Award for Roots Album of the Year (2012 "Force of Horses" & 2015 "Flora Vista"). Jay has also received 2 Canadian Music Publishers Association Awards, for Teenland and Girl with a Problem. During the course of their career the Pikes have toured across Canada, the USA, and Japan - opened for/shared bill with: David Bowie, Robert Palmer, Peter Frampton, Bruce Hornsby, Tom Cochrane & Red Rider, The Band, Bryan Adams, The Fixx, Duran Duran, Alice Cooper, Foreigner, Eurythmics, KD Lang, and many others. In 2012 the Northern Pikes were inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame, joining Chilliwack, Loverboy, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Loreena McKennitt and many other exceptionally talented artists from western Canada.
Jay has 10 solo releases on his own folk/ roots/alternative label, Inner Expression Records, and has recorded with such music luminaries as Garth Hudson (The Band), John Sebastian (Lovin' Spoonful), Crystal Taliefero (known for her work with John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, etc), Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies), Melanie Doane, Ashley MacIsaac, Ken Greer (of Red Rider and the Road Hammers), Bob Egan (of Wilco and Blue Rodeo fame), Serena Ryder, Patricia Conroy, Matt Andersen and Greg Godovitz (Goddo), and worked in the studio with Grammy-winning engineers/producers/mixers Bob Clearmountain, Hugh Padgham, Ed Stasium, and Bob Ludwig.
During a seven year hiatus from the Pikes (1993-2000), Jay scored the highly successful internationally syndicated Canadian TV series, "Due South". The show was the first Canadian-made dramatic television series to debut and air on a major network in the USA (CBS-TV). Jay had the privilege of working under multiple Oscar and Emmy winning producer/writer/director Paul Haggis, Jeff King and Paul Gross, and worked with the best TV personnel in Canada, co-composing with John McCarthy and Jack Lenz.
Jay continues to compose music scores for a variety of dramas and documentary films and series on Discovery Channel, CBC, Global, History Television, APTN, Showcase and others, and has had many of his songs and compositions featured in film and television (Trailer Park Boys - the Movie, Men with Brooms, Being Erica, Cedar Cove are some examples).
"One thing I’ve learned is to trust my gut instinct (intuition), and recognize when my subconscious is trying to tell me something…so….when it comes to my music scores, my songs, and my art, that is what I do” – Jay Semko