Edmonton's Nuela Charles first appeared on CBC Music’s radar during our 2013 Searchlight competition, when she rocketed to the finals on the strength of her great song “Unfortunate Love.”
Back then, our own Andrea Warner called her "the future queen of Canadian soul." Charles's debut album, Aware, won the inaugural Edmonton Music Prize in 2013. Her second album, The Grand Hustle, landed Charles her first Juno nomination in 2018.
When the 2019 Juno nominations were announced on Jan. 29, Charles was thrilled to find herself with two nominations in as many years: this year, she's nominated for adult contemporary album of the year for her latest record, Distant Danger. And she’s keeping some pretty impressive company.
"Being a part of a category with Michael Bublé, Jann Arden, Molly Johnson and Whitehorse is pretty crazy,” Charles told us. “It gives me a sense of belonging and validation in an industry where I find myself regularly questioning my place, and whether my music is even resonating with people. I couldn't be more proud of the work that my little Edmonton-based team accomplished.”
Celebrating the 2019 nomination on Instagram, Charles cited CBC and her 2013 Searchlight run as the beginning of it all.
“I still remember the first time you played my song on CBC nationwide for the Searchlight contest years ago. Kicked it all off!"
Other Searchlight alumni who have either won or been nominated for Juno Awards include the Jerry Cans, Iskwé, and the Dead South.
Who will be the next Searchlight artist to break through to the Juno Awards? Voting and judging for Searchlight 2019 begins on Tuesday, Feb. 5. The winner will be declared on Thurday, March 7.