The Blue Stones: Justin Tessier, Tarek JafarUWindsor grads Justin Tessier and Tarek Jafar are the rock duo The Blue Stones, nominated for a Juno Award as Breakthrough Group of the Year.

Pair of UWindsor alumni nominated for Juno Award

Guitarist and vocalist Tarek Jafar (BSc Biology 2011) and drummer and backing vocalist Justin Tessier (BA Philosophy and Political Science 2014) are known in the rock world as The Blue Stones. The duo has been nominated for a 2020 Juno Award in the category of Breakthrough Group of the Year.

The duo started playing music together in high school, but didn’t get serious about the music business until attending the University of Windsor.

In 2011 they released their first self-titled EP which became a hit throughout Ontario and adjacent regions as they toured the club scene in support of the record.

It took seven long years — and two independently released EPs — for The Blue Stones to hone their approach, putting in those requisite 10,000 hours to perfect their craft and then build on it. The band has been experiencing new success since its full-length studio album Black Holes was re-released with support of the major label Entertainment One in 2018. Since signing with the Elevation Group, Jafar and Tessier have expanded their touring and their fan base to include Europe in addition to Canada and USA.

In November 2019, The Blue Stones released a new single, “Shakin’ Off the Rust,” from the album Black Holes (Solid Ground).

“The album’s about being a young adult and entering the real world from a sheltered environment, like college,” explains Jafar. “Feeling torn between taking the secure path or doing something that might be riskier, but you’re passionate about… following what you love as opposed to sticking to the straight and narrow.”

The presentation ceremony of the Junos, Canada’s music awards, will be held March 15 in Saskatoon and televised starting at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBC.

Nominated with The Blue Stones for breakthrough group are the country stars Hunter Brothers, the alt-pop Neon Dreams, the rock band Palaye Royale, and the indie pop foursome Valley.

—Susan McKee