Winning Searchlight would help us out in just about every way imaginable. For starters, the prizes sound amazing, and we're always too broke to buy gear, so that alone would be huge
—Mike Bilenki, musician
CBC Music's Searchlight contest is looking for the next big Canadian music star. Hundreds of entries have been received and narrowed down to 20 finalists in each of 24 different regions across the country.
Performers are now canvassing for votes online because when the next round of voting wraps up, each region will be represented by just five artists.
Local act the JD Edwards Band entered the contest for one simple reason. "We want to reach out to more people in Manitoba and across the country," JD Edwards explained.
Competing with singer/songwriters, country and rock and pop acts is Amir Amiri and his writing partner Richard Moody, who've made it to round two with their exotic sound and unusually titled, Moody Amiri aka Theran project.
"I have been in Canada close to two decades I have had a privilege of living in different places," Amiri said. "In my experience Canada is an unique place and my music is very much the reflection of the place we are living," he explained.
Meanwhile, Take Me to the Pilot (yes, their name is based on the Elton John song) sounds like they could be on the same tour with Hedley or Simple Plan. Mike Bilenki of the group says, "Winning Searchlight would help us out in just about every way imaginable. For starters, the prizes sound amazing, and we're always too broke to buy gear, so that alone would be huge."
The winners receive $20,000 in music equipment courtesy of Yamaha Music Canada. Voting for the top five closes at 10:59 pm CT on March 3.
You can listen to all 20 of the Manitoban artists still in the running on CBC Music.
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