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Meet Dani Elle, 2016 CCMA Discovery Program finalist

Melody Lau

The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Discovery Program was created in 2013 as an initiative to help support new artists pursue careers in country music. Each year, participants chosen for this program are brought together to learn about the music business from industry insiders and artist mentors, with finalists putting their newfound knowledge to use at the CCMA Discovery Showcase at Country Music Week.

This year, the CCMAs will take place in London, Ont., on Sept. 11, and the Discovery Showcase will take place on Sept. 8. Here, we will spotlight some of this year's up-and-comers slated to perform.

Name: Dani Elle
From: Pitt Meadows, B.C.

Dani Elle is a 20-year-old songwriter who hails from the small town of Pitt Meadows, B.C. The aspiring country artist is already cutting her teeth in the music industry by winning last year's Chevy Tailgate Contest, and now she's putting her skills to the ultimate test by recording her debut EP. Fans can get a taste for Dani Elle's great singing through her uploaded cover songs on YouTube, including the one below of Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert's "We Were Us."

Among the many CCMA-nominated artists this year, Elle relates most to High Valley, telling the Canadian Country Music Association that "the lyrics to their songs have a similar tone to my style of writing and it just clicks with me." But perhaps an even bigger idol for her is legendary artist Loretta Lynn. "She has this persona of being super classy but also sassy and I think it's the perfect combination," Elle explains. "Her songwriting is so just, 'tell it like it is,' and I love that and I strive to write like that."

Elle has her eyes set on a big 2017, with a debut single in the works and completing her EP.

Watch the 2016 CCMA Awards on Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m NL), live on CBC Television.