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Searchlight Standouts: 6 R&B acts you should hear

Judith Lynch

For us here at CBC Music, Searchlight continues to be the musical gift that keeps on giving. We discover artists that we very likely would never hear about otherwise. Previous Searchlight competitions introduced us to R&B artists from coast to coast, including Montreal's Patrick Lehman and Edmonton's Nuela Charles — artists we continue to enjoy and support today.

In the list below we highlight six artists who perform in the spectrum of rhythm and blues who caught our collective ears.

Don't forget to vote for your favourite Searchlight artists here.

Who: Jay Harmony
Song: "All Gone"

Why: Jay Harmony lays her smooth vocals over an infectious reggae vibe which is not something we get from a lot of Searchlight contestants but we certainly welcome. More please.

Who: Keon Love
Song: "Relax"

Why: “Relax” by Toronto’s Keon Love is a mature effort that, with just a little bit of help on the production side of things and a clean edit, could be a legitimate contender for radio play.

Who: Loveland
Song: "Aloe Hotel"

Why: The opening notes of Loveland’s "Aloe Hotel" immediately reminded us of Jeff Buckley’s "Everybody Here Wants You" and while Loveland's song is not 100% Buckley-esque, the groove laid down here is undeniably sexy. We think Jeff would approve.

Who: Reeny Smith
Song: "Survive"

Why: Nova Scotia’s Reeny Smith is the real deal. “Survive” has a distinct Alicia Keys vibe to it with Smith skillfully accompanying herself on piano.

Who: Tec-La
Song: "Grade 4"

Why: The video for Tec La’s “Grade 4” is a simple locked off shot but that allowed us to focus on her voice. And what a voice it is. We were on the edge of our seat waiting for her to unleash the pure vocal power that her smooth, soulful rumble alludes to.

Who: Young Soul
Song: "Act Like You Know"

Why: Last year Montreal surprised us with a number of acts just killing it in the R&B game and this year is no different. Young Soul has one foot firmly planted in hip-hop but he’s no stranger to the R&B tip and he excels in both genres. Once this man catches a break, look out. He’s going to be everywhere.