Yesterday we looked at Searchlight finalists Vancouver and the Greater Vancouver area so today we're checking out the finalists from the rest of BC. Going through the forty shortlisted bands in BC was a little overwhelming at first. Mostly just a lot of copy and pasting. But now I've found a tonne of new musicians I had never heard of, for example Beamer Wigley is a singer/songwriter from Penticton who is only 13! What was I doing at 13? Not becoming a finalist in Searchlight that's for damn sure.
If you're unfamiliar with CBC Searchlight it is basically a huge national competition to promote Canadian music. There are 23 regions making 230 finalists. From April 25th to April 29th the judges are picking one finalist from each region to go to the next level and the two bands with the highest votes nationally will also jump the cue to form the 25 (this result is announced on May 3rd). For more information on this check out the CBC Searchlight website.
What Searchlight does for us right now is highlight some local talent that you may or may not be aware of. So, today we're checking out the top ten finalists form Vancouver Island and Interior & Northern BC.
Malahat (popular vote)
'Malahat is the loudest, heaviest, rock band to emerge out of Canada recently. A blast from the past with modern tastes, these young men infuse their influences from the 1930's to today. A Slamming unforgettable sound with a dark Grungey-Groovey edge, morphing through a wave of the deep southern Blues, in a Psychedelic Fusion. With powerful hybrid rock vocals, progressive and explosive drumming, 70's grooving bass, and the dirtiest slide guitar you will ever hear, Malahat will blow you away with their stage show, diversity and their original sound of pure face melting Rock n Roll.'
'Since their inception in 2013 Lovecoast has been delivering a new sound that won’t go unnoticed. Their blends of old soul, fresh pop and infectious beats have landed them on lineups such as Pemberton Music Festival 2015 and JUNOfest 2016. Lovecoast's latest single "The Floor" and debut EP 'Chasing Tides’, both produced by Tom Dobrzanski (Hey Ocean!, Said the Whale, We are the City), are a strong testament to their hip-swaying abilities and tight musicality. Lovecoast's fresh vitality and dance driven nature has made them an up and coming Canadian act to watch.'
Miss Natasha Enquist
'Miss Natasha Enquist is a Canadian accordionist, singer and performer known for her variety of musical work within theater, musical ensembles, experimental performances, and for bridging the gap between electronic pop music and the accordion with her dreamy, dark, romantic "electro-accordion chanteuse" style.'
'The Midnights R&B band is the mentoring band to the Victoria High School R&B Band. The mandate of the band is to provide music education and performance opportunities for the most talented music students from the Victoria School District. The senior members of the band have performed with many major artists including Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Celine Dion, Holly Cole, Juno Award winner Jim Byrnes, Jazz trumpet icon Clark Terry and many more. Past performances include major festivals (Blues Bash Victoria), Victoria Symphony Splash, international shows in Iceland and Denmark with current invitations to Trinidad and Jamaica.'
Wil 'In 1981, Billy woke to find his very own 'Fender Acoustic' under the tree. FFWD to '94, an impromptu acoustic birthday song leads to WiL's first paying gig. The 90's were spent honing his talent, performing his favourite covers of bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Radiohead. His debut album 'Both Hands' ('03) lead to three WCMA's nods including ‘Best Live Act’ but his pivotal year was 2011; landing a string of songs including 'Roam', anthem to Travel Alberta's award winning ad campaign. WiL's 5th studio album, WCMA nominated El Paseo (2014) is his latest.'
'Even the title, India/Seattle feels like a story on it’s own. Victoria’s Mike Edel couldn’t have named his sophomore release more poetically. Part of growing a little bit older, a little bit wiser is the awareness that comes inside growing spaces. Nearing thirty, on the exhaust of a brutal four year touring schedule, Edel settled inside these spaces to create his finest work yet. There’s a quiet here, even in the literal spaces in the record that speak loudly.'
'Victoria based pop/rock electro-duo LABS began as an experiment in 2014 between long term collaborators Lindsay Bryan (vocals) and Adam Sutherland (keys/guitar). The intention was to create stock samples for electronic music producers, however, the samples quickly became full songs and thus, LABS was born. Drawing influence from acts like St. Vincent and Phantogram, the band’s sound contrasts high-fi to lo-fi analog synth and guitar tones, hooky melodic vocals, big drums and rich bass tones. LABS released their Debut EP “Down” in February 2016, and are joined by Matthew Longpre and Keenan Murray.'
Kim June Johnson
'Kim June Johnson is a singer-songwriter and poet from Hornby Island, BC. Her most recent album, Canvas & Clay, was nominated for two 2015 Vancouver Island Music Awards and received the award for "Vocalist of the Year".'
Big Little Lions
'Big Little Lions is the infectious folk-pop songwriting duo of Helen Austin and Paul Otten. With a sound that crosses somewhere between Mumford and Sons and Pomplamoose, between them they have had hundreds of TV/ad placements and many awards including a JUNO Award and a 2015 Canadian Folk Music Award for Ensemble of the Year. "The Way Home is one of those songs that you'll think you've heard before the first time you hear it. It's just so infectious that it sinks into your consciousness from the first listen." GuitarWorld.com'
'Hailing from Victoria, British Columbia. Santa Clara has been performing consistently, playing stages between Canada and the U.S. with acts such as Carly Rae Jepsen, Armchair Cynics, & Laurell. Santa Clara is currently working on an electronic pop album with producer Steve Kroeger which is slated for release under Prodigy Records in the summer of 2015. Co-writes for the album include Jeff Dawson (“Bad Day” by Daniel Powter), Robert Watt (ex-guitarist for Carly Rae Jepsen) Laurell ("Can't Stop Falling" Top 10 in Canada), and Kuba Oms ("Electrolove" Top 20 in Canada).'
Interior and Northern B.C.
Dawson Rutledge (popular vote)
'Dawson is an 18 year old solo singer/songwriter from Cranbrook, BC. His very first performance of an original song, Mysterious Woman, was in June, 2015 at the Key City Theatre. Since then, he has been busy performing, writing, and recording. His self-produced album Today, Tonight, Tomorrow is receiving radio play and positive reviews nationwide. Dawson’s style of performing is unique and extremely entertaining. He sings, plays guitar, and accompanies himself by playing a kick-drum and tambourine with his feet. He has a powerful and captivating stage presence which has developed from many years of music training.'
'13 year old Beamer's been playing guitar since he was 5 and writing songs and performing since age 7. He has a reputation as an accomplished, confident stage artist in music and acting and even dance. He is the youngest client to be signed with Invictus Entertainment and Big Star Recordings. He has won numerous awards, including the Inaugural Penticton Youth Award for ages 25 and under in 2014. He feels honoured to have performed at many charity events, including the recent Childrens Variety Telethon in Vancouver and he was the opening show for the B.C. Winter Games.'
'Talk Sick is high energy Alt/Rock with some roots in Grunge/Punk Rock. Founded in fall 2015 by Jason Koster as an experimental outlet, Talk Sick has since been developed into something promising. Infusing the talents/sounds of Devon, Trevor and Joshua has turned the Kelowna rock group into a unique and memorable act. They have turned heads with the release of their recent music video for "Basement Notes" and look to continue doing so with the release of their 2nd EP this summer.'
'//AMISTAD// is an alternative 5-piece band from Vernon, B.C. Canada who continues to shake heads with their epic sounds and impressive songwriting chops. Unsatisfied to churn out simple three minute rock standards, they continue to challenge their craft by hiking to new songwriting heights and attacking each new live show with the relentless energy of a band on the verge. Lead singer Aidan Andrews formed the band with the twin brother rhythm section consisting of Nolan and Carson Bassett back in 2010. Eli Garlick on guitar and Craig Matterson on keyboards round off the rest of //AMISTAD//.'
'Andrew Judah is a Songwriter/Composer from British Columbia, Canada. In 2014 he released his third full length album, the dark and progressive Monster. Later that year, Andrew joined forces with drummer Zac Gauthier and bassist Jonathan Tromsness. In early 2015 they began playing shows together and honing their skills as an energetic live group. In late 2015 they received 1st place in the Music BC emerging artist program and released their first single together, "Running Home". Their latest single "Who Am I" was featured on an episode of Shadowhunters (Freeform, Netflix). They are currently recording a new record.'
'Born and raised in Northern Alberta, I grew up learning guitar from my father. I spent some time playing piano as a child, but found my passions were more in line with both electric and acoustic guitar sounds. I've travelled extensively over the years, living a small portion of my life in France, where I was exposed to new styles of music, which has heavily influenced my sound. In recent years, I have taken an interest in experimenting with a synth keyboard to aid in composing my music. I currently write and produce all of my own songs.'
'Dylann Heidi is a singer-songwriter from the small town of Nelson British Columbia. Performing with her heart on her sleeve, she writes and plays a diverse style of music from ballads to folk-soul originals. Thriving to always leave her audiences feeling connected and joyful, Dylann knows how to put on a show and lives for the rush of performing.'
Jason + Anna
'Jason + Anna are a singer-songwriter duet from Chilliwack, B.C. who met in music school. Through a series of very fortunate events, which included unrequited love, endless car rides, moonlit walks, and hours of band practices, the two ended up falling in love. They now co-write music that reflects their love for each other, nature, and the people around them. The song Freckles was composed and written for Anna, by Jason. Because what girl wouldn't fall in-love with a man that writes music for her?'
The Burn Ins
'Female fronted blues rock power trio. Winners of “Best New Artist” for the 2015 Kootenay Music Awards. Their most recent album "On The Inside" will take you on a delightfully dark journey into a foot stomping good time. The Burn Ins live on the road, travelling and playing gigs wherever and whenever they can since making music their full-time job in the fall of 2011. When they are not playing gigs they spend their time avoiding the bylaw and finding free wifi. The Burn Ins have been gaining momentum and have no plans to burn out any time soon.'
'gorden james has made quite the name for himself, both as an artist and as an all around great guy. Playing music and supporting his community with volunteer time spent at Hospice and the Rotary Cancer Lodge fulfills his passion! James was featured on CMT Canada’s, Big in a Small Town, as one of thirty artists selected across Canada to participate. "They called me and asked me to audition," said James from Kelowna. "They picked 30 artists from across Canada, It gave his album, Heart of the Matter, great exposure." Winner of 2002 Factor sponsored singer/songwriter contest'