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: TwoShine County
No strangers to the CCMA Awards, Daron Schofield and Dennis Hann of TwoShine County return this year to perform at the Discovery Showcase in London. The two artists, who made their debut in 2014 with the single "Make It With You," attended the CCMA Awards that same year for the first time and, in their online biography, they discuss the positive experience they had. "We were a little intimidated going to the CCMAs but it seemed like everyone we met there had heard about us," Schofield says on the duo's site. "That was a real eye-opener, having had experience in the rock world where there's so much competition. Being part of the country scene in Canada really does feel like being part of a family."
While TwoShine County does pull from both rock and country influences, Hann notes that they look up to Keith Urban the most. "A lot of what TwoShine has become has closely to do with our mutual appreciation for some of our favourite country guitar players and writers," Hann explained to the Canadian Country Music Association. "Keith Urban definitely strikes a chord with us as he is a prolifically awesome guitar player and one hell of a writer."
Other artists TwoShine County hope to eventually work with include Dean Brody — "We could all just head out to the lakeside, put on our sunglasses, get a nice big fire going, swap some stories and disappear from the hear and now, and by morning, we'd have a song" — Tim Hicks and Steven Lee Olsen.
Like many country artists trying to make it big, Hann and Schofield spent some time down in Nashville writing music but, funny enough, some of their best writing sessions in the country music capital were with fellow Canadians.
"It's so uplifting to know and be reminded that the level of talent in Canada absolutely does match that of our friends south of the border," Hann says. "And our scene of creators and artists is continually growing at such a fast pace, and is seeing the rise of so much amazing Canadian talent."
Hann and Schofield say that a full-length album is "in the cards" for next year, but 2017 will definitely be filled with more recording, new songs and lots of touring.
Watch the 2016 CCMA Awards on Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m NL), live on CBC Television.