Now that Justine Giles has heard the announcement about being chosen to represent northern Ontario in the 2017 Searchlight Awards, she is going to have to get used to a little more attention.

The Sudbury singer-songwriter will be representing northern Ontario in CBC Music's annual Searchlight Award, a contest that recognizes unsigned regional artists as voted by listeners.

But Giles isn't letting the pressure of a national audience get to her. Before the Searchlight announcement, Giles reached out to her followers with a hearty thank you via Twitter.

"We're in this together," Giles said. "It's not about make or break it, I've learned that over the years. You're the person, the people that are making this happen with me."

The process of making music for her fans has been the real reward, she said.

"I'm so thrilled with the response and support," she said, "but it's not always about winning a prize. It's about connecting with people."

"It's about collectively sharing stories, relating through music, healing," she said.

"It's a powerful, beautiful thing."

Click below to hear Justine Gile's interview on CBC's northern Ontario afternoon show Up North.