Whatever happens results-wise, it's a real boost to have such support.
—JP Hoe, finalist
The top five musical acts from Manitoba have been chosen in CBC Music's Searchlight contest. And now those five are battling it out to see which act will face the finalists from other regions across Canada.
JP Hoe who has seen a fair amount of success here in Manitoba is looking to develop a strong fan base across the country.
JP Hoe (Joey Senft)
"As an independent artist with no record label support, the Searchlight Contest would give me the chance to work on new songs for the next record at home," said Hoe, who answered questions from the road. He was making a 24-hour drive back to Winnipeg from an eastern tour that took him out to Toronto and down to Wisconsin.
"The contest also gives me quality exposure to the Canadian audience, something that costs very real dollars otherwise. This is a very difficult and expensive business, I think I have the experience to make good use of this contest and maximize any resulting success," said Hoe.
Erin Propp (Pauline Boldt)
Jazz singer Erin Propp
admits she is a reluctant entrant to the contest. But a friend of hers who has always been very supportive of her career convinced her to enter "just for the sake of some free buzz on social media, which has proven a reality," said Propp.
University of Brandon student Mason Weselowski
is still pretty new to the business. But that hasn't stopped him from making the top five in Manitoba.
Mason Weselowski (CBC Music)
"I could have never anticipated that people would respond the way that they have in voting and spreading the word about my music," said Weselowski, 22.
And that's the thing about Searchlight, it is the discovery of new music. Across the country, new and established acts are finding fans and music fans are discovering new favourites. And artists are not only encouraging votes for themselves, they are thrilled for their friends as well.
"My good buddy JD Edwards
is also in the mix and I'm just thankful so many fans and friends took the time to keep clicking," said Hoe.
JD Edwards Band (CBC Music)
"If we make it through the rounds and find ourselves winning this contest we will be able to use the prizes to hopefully further our careers and maybe take JD Edwards Band to more national and international stages," said Edwards.
Rounding out the top five is soldier Sgt. Elton Adams
. He's seen international stages in his tour of duties and even performed with Blue Rodeo for Canadian troops in Afghanistan.
Elton Adams (CBC Music)
Voting for the regional finals is open until Thursday, March 7 at 10:59 pm CT. The Searchlight winner will receive a $20,000 Yamaha Canada Music prize pack. Voters can also enter for a chance to win one of five $1,000 credits toward Yamaha Music gear.
"Whatever happens results-wise, it's a real boost to have such support. People are good. Well, the people that voted for me are good, the others, they're suspect," joked Hoe.
Searchlight is a contest to find Canada's next big musical star and the winner is decided by public online voting.
You can listen to the Top 5 Manitoban artists still in the running on CBC Music
. Winnipeg musicians taking over the small screen.