By Grant Lawrence
On Tuesday, our Searchlight national top 10 was announced. Five artists made it through by receiving the most votes from the listening public, and they are, in no particular order:
– Orange O'Clock, "Can't Fight the Feeling" (Sherbrooke)
– The Fall Line, "Original Sin" (Montreal)
– Kellie Loder, "On This Drive" (St. John's)
– Lost Cousins, "Drift" (Kingston)
– Devan and Khalid, "No Ribbons" (Toronto)
The other five that made it through by being handpicked by our judges — Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Operators), Jenn Grant, and Saukrates — in no particular order are:
– Scary Bear Soundtrack, "Fault Lines" (Nunavut)
– Shy Sharity, "Sparkles" (Vancouver)
– Ivory Hours, "I Won't" (London)
– Hillsburn, "Farther in the Field" (Halifax)
– Mika-Dawn, "Oil Man" (Winnipeg)
Scroll through the list below to discover things you may not know or would have never guessed about this amazing coast-to-coast-to-coast cross-section of Canadian musicians.
So what happens next? Our Searchlight final four will be announced on Tuesday, May 12 (the top vote-getter, plus three judges' picks). The Searchlight 2015 winner of best new artist in Canada will be announced on Friday, May 15!
Vote now for your pick in the final four!
Ottawa: Lost Cousins, "Drift"
Fun fact: this harmonious indie-rock five-piece from Kingston, Ont., just released their debut EP, which was produced by Darryl Neudorf, the audio mastermind behind Neko Case, Blue Rodeo and Sarah McLachlan, among others.
Vancouver: Shy Sharity, "Sparkles"
Fun fact: Shy Sharity has a huge pop sound, and has already been a success in the entertainment business for years, having appeared in films alongside actors like Ryan Reynolds and William H. Macy. She's also the singing voice of Aria Blaze on My Little Pony.
Montreal: The Fall Line, "Original Sin"
Fun fact: This Searchlight band might owe part of their existence to Searchlight! Leader Ryan Stotland used the 2013 competition to find other artists he could collaborate with to bring his songs to life. Hence Emily Skahan, of 2013 Searchlight finalist Motel Raphael, is a member of this band! They've also had two of their videos go viral in a big way.
Toronto: Devan and Khalid, "No Ribbons"
Fun fact: This duet-duo worked together with fellow finalists Lost Cousins on their Queen's University campus to get out the student vote that put them both into the national top 10. They even performed the Queen's University anthem!
Quebec City: Orange O'Clock, "Can't Fight the Feeling"
Fun fact: This Sherbrooke, Que., power trio is no stranger to winning contests where the prize involves $20,000. Back in 2012, they won a local battle of the bands called Sherbrooklyn where first prize was $20,000. Can they do it again on a national scale?
Halifax: Hillsburn, "Farther in the Fire"
Fun fact: Hillsburn singer-songwriter Paul Aarntzen once spent half the year living in a vegetable-powered RV parked on the edge of a Texas swamp infested with alligators. He has a master's degree in writing, and has written a book of short stories and a graphic novel.
Windsor/London: Ivory Hours, "I Won't"
Fun fact: From London, Ont., this bright pop band delivers the goods in a big, shiny way on "I Won't." If you follow CBC Music contests, you may remember Ivory Hours from Rock Your Campus, where they placed in the top five.
St. John's: Kellie Loder, "On This Drive"
Fun fact: Originally from Badger, N.L., and starting out as a drummer, Loder is now a Juno-nominated singer-songwriter/guitarist. She is currently on her way to Ireland to film a video for her Searchlight song, "On This Drive."
Iqaluit: Scary Bear Soundtrack, "Fault Lines"
Fun fact: Amazingly, this is Scary Bear's second straight year defying the odds, the numbers and Canadian geography to make the national top 10. Is this the year the band from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, goes all the way?
Winnipeg: Mika-Dawn, "Oil Man"
Fun fact: you might find this as hard to believe as we did, but apparently it's true: Mika-Dawn, the singer-songwriter from tiny Pilot Mound, Man., didn't realize she had signed up for the Searchlight contest! She was creating her own artist page on CBC Music, clicked on the Searchlight button, and now she's a judges' pick in the national top 10! Incredible!