Shopé, a Nigerian-Canadian hip-hop artist from Toronto, has won Searchlight 2019.
When we announced our annual hunt for Canada's best undiscovered, Juno-ready musical talent back in January, we received thousands of original Canadian songs, entered from every province and territory. With your voting help, we took that huge list of songs down to a top 100, then a top 10. Then our celebrity judges took over.
Shopé was announced as the Searchlight 2019 winner on Thursday, March 7, on q with Tom Power. With his internationally crafted sound, Shopé's musical narratives weave tales of poverty, determination and love, while skillfully blending Afropop, hip hop, and soulful R&B. Shopé means to "make joy" in his native Nigerian.
Shopé's full name is Mosope Adeyemi, and he's a substitute teacher by day. It's a job that allows Adeyemi the flexibility to pursue his musical career, which has taken him to Africa, Europe and the United States. He is married with a son, and another child on the way.
When he found out that he had won, Shopé said on q that he's "beyond honoured. Beyond grateful. It's incredible validation that this journey I set out on 10 years ago isn't a fool's errand. At the end of the day when you truly believe something and you're willing to work hard for it, you can achieve it."
For winning Searchlight 2019, Shopé receives a prestigious placement in the Allan Slaight Juno Master Class, five days of recording at Studio Bell (home of the National Music Centre in Calgary), a performance at JunoFest at the 2020 Juno Awards in Saskatoon, and a performance at the 2019 CBC Music Festival in Toronto.
Here's what the judges had to say:
“We are looking forward to having Shopé join the Allan Slaight Juno Master Class as this year's Searchlight winner. Shopé's voice and songs are unique and we can't wait to connect him with mentors who can help him on his journey." — Allan Reid, president and CEO of CARAS, the Juno Awards and MusiCounts
“Shopé has shown a tremendous amount of focus and dedication to his pursuits as a hop-hop artist to date. He has an impressive performance history both nationally and internationally and has garnered the attention of listeners all over the world. I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes next with this incredible opportunity.” — Jess Knights, National Music Centre
“Shopé is an authentic, bold artist, firmly rooted in his personal and artistic expression. It is with joy that we present Shopé as this year’s CBC Searchlight winner.” — Vanessa Adora, Warner Music Canada.
"I was charmed by the directness of Shopé's voice. I think Canada will really respond to his music." — Kai Black, CBC Music
Shopé will next be seen as part of the 2019 CBC Music Festival in Toronto in May.