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Searchlight Playlist: 10 young musicians you need to hear

Monika Platek

Don’t let their age fool you, these young artists have aspirations and musicality that is far beyond their years. One of the Searchlight trends we’ve noticed is that the talent is younger and better than ever.

These teens aren’t afraid to get raw and emotional when it comes to their songwriting. Just by listening to the lyrics of these songs, you’ll get the sense that they really came to compete in this year’s Searchlight competition.

Let us know which young musician impressed you most and remember to cast your vote before Monday, February 27th at

Who: Victoria Azevedo
Song: "Right Here"
Age: 14

About: You’ll get lost in Victoria Azevedo’s powerful voice from the moment you hit play on "Right Here." She says she has been singing since as far back as she can remember and it shows in the maturity of her voice at 14 years old. This teen is serious about music and is currently enrolled at the Etobicoke School of the Arts. "Right Here" is a song that will stick with you long after your stop listening.

Who: Nicky MacKenzie
Song: "Cobblestone Midnight"
Age: 16

About: Keeping it on Canada’s West Coast, 16-year-old musician Nicky MacKenzie is from Saltspring Island, B.C. and she has a voice that will draw you in immediately. "Cobblestone Midnight" may be the catchiest song on this list. MacKenzie says she feels lucky to be growing up in a community that nurtures her interest in music.

Who: Erika Fowler
Song: "Stay"
Age: 16

About: Fowler sings with such ease and grace in this song entitled "Stay." She has been writing songs for over three years and has performed twice at the Winnipeg Folk Festival through the Young Performers Program. If you find yourself forgetting she’s just sixteen as you listen to this, we’re guilty of the same thing.

Who: Matterrs
Song: "No Place For Us"

About: Matthew Bacik (aka Matterrs) discovered the beautiful sound of piano keys when he was three and has been driven by his passion for music ever since. This song addresses his concerns for the environment and it serves as a sample of his socially-conscious songwriting. Can you think of any striking resemblances between Matterrs and another young Canadian superstar? We sure can.

Who: The Static Shift
"Common Bliss"

About: These youngsters feel like old souls as they take us back in time with their groovy style and rocking sound. This Calgary-based trio of Mitchell Brady, Keone Friesen and Isaiah Stonehouse met at a rock band camp and the rest is history. It seems like what they found in common has led to music bliss. We think you'll enjoy this psychedelic song.

Who: JC

About: He may be the oldest member on this list at the young age of 22, but JC is an early Searchlight standout with this insanely catchy song. This Ottawa-based rapper says he has used music to "transcribe" his life since he was a little kid. While this song could easily become a club anthem, JC says his goal is to "help influence and change the world for the better" with his rhymes.

Who: Ashley Sienna
Song: "Time is Ticking By"
Age: 13

About: Ashley Sienna feels like time is ticking by at the young age of 13 years old and encourages us to make the most of it in her Searchlight entry. This singer-songwriter from Niagara Falls, Ont. has been writing her own songs and performing at local community events for the past two years. She brings us to the famous Falls in this video and shows us her playful side.

Who: Vikki Gilmore
Song: "Empty Past"
Age: 19

About: Vikki Gilmore is a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Montreal who likes to draw on her surroundings for inspiration. She describes the songs on her first EP as being "journal entries from the past few years and a tribute to my city and home." This song’s simplicity and honesty is all part of Gilmore’s desire to write songs about the "human experience."

Who: Jayde Taylor
Song: "Still on my Mind"
Age: 17

About: Jayde Taylor hails from Peterborough, Ont. and she says she has been singing since she was a toddler. At the age of 10, she started to learn how to play the piano and guitar and has never looked back. Now at 17, Taylor writes songs that are relatable and reflective like her entry "Still On My Mind."

Who: Ashley Pater
Song: "Who She is Now"
Age: 13

About: Ashley Pater is a singer-songwriter from Surrey, B.C. and her silky smooth voice will trick you into thinking she’s much older than that. She has been busy performing at local community events and working the audition circuit doing some modeling and acting on the side. Her comfort in front of the camera shows as she owns every lyric in this Searchlight entry.

More to explore:

Searchlight 2017: 8 family bands to hear