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Dan Boeckner, Jenn Grant, Saukrates: meet the 2015 Searchlight judges

Emma Godmere

We've recruited three of Canada's most respected musicians to join us in the hunt for Canada's best new artist. Together, our Searchlight judges will be responsible for selecting five of the 10 national finalists, as well as announcing the final four acts live on Q on CBC Radio on May 12. Finally, they'll crown a winner on Friday, May 15.

This year, our esteemed panel includes one of Toronto's foremost hip-hop pioneers, a British Columbia ex-pat responsible for some of the best indie groups to come out of Montreal over the last decade, and one of the East Coast's most beloved singer-songwriters. Meet your 2015 Searchlight judges:

Dan Boeckner

Dan Boeckner’s resumé reads like an indie music fan’s desert-island playlist. Between Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits and now Operators — his latest synth-tinged, hook-laden musical project — the British Columbia-born, Montreal-bred musician has established himself as one of the most respected and creative minds in Canadian rock. Twice shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize and with more than 10 critically acclaimed releases under his belt, Boeckner brings a wealth of experience to this year’s Searchlight judges' panel.

Jenn Grant

Prince Edward Island native Jenn Grant is one of Canada’s most beloved singer-songwriters. Now based in Halifax, she has charmed audiences at home and abroad with five celebrated albums of varying styles that have jumped effortlessly between irresistible pop songs and intimate folk ballads. In just the last few years alone, she has won multiple East Coast Music Awards and, most recently, earned nominations for two 2015 Juno Awards, including songwriter of the year. Having collaborated with a variety of homegrown artists like Buck 65, Rose Cousins and Ron Sexsmith, Grant's keen musical ear makes her a perfect addition to Searchlight 2015.


A longtime anchor in Toronto's hip-hop scene, Saukrates has collaborated with some of the most well-known names in the genre, including Drake, Nelly Furtado, Nas, Common, Redman and Xzibit. As a producer with multiple Juno nominations to his name, Saukrates has worked with such Canadian mainstays as K-os, Swollen Members, Jully Black, Kardinal Offishall, Choclair, Classified and Shad. You can even look up just about any Canadian major label rap release from the past 20 years and find him present, as performer or producer. His most recent release, Amani, was nominated for a 2015 Juno Award. Saukrates’s sharp sense for new talent will be invaluable to this year’s Searchlight panel.