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Searchlight 2015: Grant Lawrence's top 5 reasons to enter and 5 early standouts

Editorial Staff

This is it: your final week to enter Searchlight 2015, our hunt for Canada's best new artist. The voting begins on Monday, March 30!

"What's the point in entering? There's already too many artists signed up to compete with" some artists ask me.

What's with the negative vibe, man? As AC/DC once sang, "it's a long way to the top if you want to rock 'n' roll," so stay positive, sign up and go for it!

Why? Here's why:

1. Meet other artists

In music industry speak, this is called "networking." In the real world, it's called forming a "community." Searchlight is a great forum for connecting with other like-minded artists in your city, province and country. Form bonds, book shows, plan tours, have fun.

2. Get heard and played on CBC

Each and every week of Searchlight, we're choosing artists who have entered and we're featuring them on CBC Radio, TV and online, just like the five artists you'll discover in the gallery above. Next week it could be you.

3. Win $20,000 in new music equipment

I really don't know of any musician, famous or not, who couldn't use 20K in new gear, and Yamaha Canada has just about everything you could ask for.

4. Perform at the CBC Music Festival

You could be jet-setting from anywhere in Canada to Toronto for our festival at Echo Beach to perform live alongside artists such as Joel Plaskett, Patrick Watson, Bahamas, Fred Penner and many more.

5. Someone has to win

Really, if you don't enter, someone else is guaranteed to win. What we like to say around here is "just entering Searchlight is winning." What we hope is that you'll receive enough benefits just from the act of entering that no matter how far you get, it will be worth your while. Good luck!

Hover and click on the gallery above to discover five early Searchlight standout artists who have entered and have already stuck out in great ways for us.

Who is your favourite Searchlight discovery? What type of gear would you choose with 20K? Do you enter contests? What have you won in the past by entering on a whim? Let us know your thoughts by commenting on our blog, or tweeting @CBCRadio3 with the hashtag #Searchlight.