It’s been a long journey since the hunt for Canada’s next big act began back in January. From more than 1,200 entries in all genres from across Canada, we selected 10 finalists in each of the 23 regions. Then with the help of our panel of industry experts and the public, we whittled that down to the 25 national finalists — 23 regional winners plus the top two acts as determined by popular vote.
From there, we sent the top 25 to our celebrity judges, Ruth B., Dan Kanter and Jarvis Church, and they helped us pick three artists to move on to the finale. On top of that, one other act determined by popular vote will join the final four and compete for the grand prize at the televised finale to be broadcast on CBC on April 9. Meet the four acts who have completed this journey to become the Searchlight 2017 finalists below.
Artist: The Long War
Song: “Breathe In Breathe Out”
Region: Vancouver City
About: They’ve only been together a year but with their haunting harmonies and soulful songwriting, this Vancouver-based indie band is equally adept playing stripped-down with acoustic guitar as they are with a full band setup. The Long War’s music is rooted in Canadiana, drawing influences from folk, rock and hints of country.
Artist: Jaryd Stanley
Song: “The End”
Region: Toronto City
About: Stanley, our popular vote winner, is a 23-year-old singer-songwriter originally from Rothesay, N.B., who moved to Toronto a little over a year ago to pursue a career in music. His soulful entry for Searchlight, “The End,” comes from a forthcoming EP titled sixteen ten.
Region: Toronto City
About: At the age of five, WILL moved to Canada from the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago, home to one of the biggest and most vibrant annual carnival celebrations in the world. It’s no surprise that with such a cultural background, WILL has music embedded into her soul. She says writing about true life experiences in her music is her way to achieve release and get closure from old chapters in her life.
Artist: The Wolfe
Song: “Dumb Dog”
About: Our youngest finalists are this Saskatchewan trio — its members are only 17 years old! No strangers to winning, they were the recipients of Sasktel’s Songwriter of the Year award in 2015. “Dumb Dog” is a perfect example of how their music touches on “relatable subjects expressed through their risk-taking, cheeky, yet catchy tunes,” as they stated on their bio.