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Searchlight 2017: Get to know finalist Jaryd Stanley

Kerry Martin

You watched, you voted, and now, it's time to get to know the Searchlight 2017 final 4. Leading up to the April 9 finale broadcast on CBC TV, we'll help you get acquainted with each of the artists vying for the title of Canada's best new music act.

Get to know Toronto via Rothesay, NB singer-songwriter Jaryd Stanley, the popular vote winner for Searchlight 2017.

Tell us a little bit about your song.

"The End" is about a breakup, and inspired by events I've experienced and also experiences of people I'm close to. It started as a simple guitar riff I found myself playing over and over every time I picked up a guitar. I played it so much I figured I should write something to it. I kept trying different ideas and nothing seemed quite right, so I left it. A few months later I found myself playing the same riff, and that's when I found the melody that is now the chorus. From then, I wrote the rest within minutes. The melody and lyrics clicked, and I felt I had finally written the song I had been searching for since I first played the riff. It's a very simple song when it comes down to it's components. Writing this song was big for me, because I had never written anything like it before. I find it hard to classify this song in a certain genre, which is probably my favourite thing about it. It's a pop song, but has influences of R&B and soul, while still feeling like the work of a singer-songwriter.

What inspires you to write music?

So many things, but mostly it's my love of music. I just love music, and music has done so much for me. It's my therapy. Writing keeps me sane and allows me to express myself in ways I wouldn't otherwise be able to. It has helped me through some of the tougher moments in my life, as I know it has for others. I've had people tell me my music helped them. If my music can help not just myself, but others, then I think that's really cool.

Who are your musical idols?

First and foremost my parents, and especially my dad. He was in a kids group called Kids At Heart while I was growing up, and to this day I still think he has the best tone of voice there is. I was always at his shows, and we always had tons of music in our house. My parents have a huge passion for music, and certainly passed it on to me.

Joel Plaskett is big for me. Growing up on the East Coast, he's a musical icon. I find so much to relate to in his music. He's also a storyteller before anything, which is something I try hard to emulate. He puts so much of himself into his music, and that's a hard thing to do. There isn't a song of his I don't like. There's no one like him.

Ed Sheeran is another one. I am often compared to him, and it's not because I copy him, but more so because we are admittedly similar, although he was more than likely doing it first, much more successfully, and on a much bigger scale. While he was making his first album I was making similar music, and singing it to my cats. I think he's crazy talented and definitely envy his work ethic and continuity.

Finally, Carole King and especially her album Tapestry. I came across her music only a few years ago, but it has resonated with me in a big way. Her music is so genuine. She found a way to write very popular music, some of the best known songs of all time, while keeping her songwriting and storytelling integrity. She was a lyrical genius and melody mastermind.

If you were to describe your sound to somebody in one sentence, what would that sentence be?

Maybe a multi-faceted singer-songwriter with a twist. Seriously this is the hardest question.

What is your favourite thing about playing music?

There's no better feeling, simple as that! Taking something which at it's core is extremely personal, and putting it out for all to see, is simultaneously terrifying, exciting and therapeutic.

If you could play a show with anybody, who would you pick?

Ed Sheeran. There are so many people I would want to play with. I just feel that he and I are very musically like minded, and could do a lot of really cool things together onstage, if given the chance! Joel Plaskett is a very close second.

What's your favourite musical memory so far?

The first time I heard people sing my own songs back to me. I had only released a couple of songs at the time, and I played the Horseshoe Tavern on a Monday. Although It was mainly people I knew, there were also people I didn't know singing my lyrics back to me. That's a type of recognition I hadn't had before, and something I'll never forget.

The Searchlight finale airs Sunday, April 9 at 6 p.m. (6:30 NL) on CBC-TV and at