Mar 05, 2020


Edmonton-based Mohawk singer/songwriter Shawnee takes the Searchlight 2020 title

March 5, 2020 — Revealed this morning on q with Tom Power, CBC Music announced Edmonton-based pop artist Shawnee as the winner of the SEARCHLIGHT 2020 competition. With more than a thousand original songs submitted from applicants in every province and territory across Canada, the winner was decided through a combination of public votes and an industry panel. Shawnee is a two-spirit, Mohawk artist who advocates for Indigenous youth, mental health and the LGBTQ2+ community, using her music to empower and inspire others. Born and raised in Welland, ON and currently based out of Edmonton, she took this year’s top SEARCHLIGHT title with her powerhouse submission “Building a Wall.” 

Upon learning that she had won SEARCHLIGHT 2020, Shawnee told CBC Music, “I am completely overjoyed and excited. Making the Top 10 to me was an opportunity I was grateful for, and I never expected to be chosen as the winner. I feel overwhelmed with pride thinking back on my journey and feel gratitude for the support. I can't wait to celebrate, starting at the CBC Music Festival in May and to take these opportunities to continue growing as an artist.” 

Shawnee is the first Indigenous artist to win the SEARCHLIGHT competition. Prior to entering, she was already gaining notice as an influential, rising star having been named one of the “11 non-binary musicians you need to know” by Billboard. She has shared the stage with Lady Gaga and Tegan & Sara and performed at NYC World Pride (2019) and Canada Day in Ottawa (2019). In 2017, Shawnee donated the proceeds from her single “Warrior Heart” to We Matter, a charity in support of at-risk Indigenous youth.   

As part of the SEARCHLIGHT grand prize, Shawnee will take part in Canada’s premiere artist development program: the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class. This includes a performance spot at the 2020 JUNO Master Class music industry showcase in Toronto, a five-day industry mentorship week, and a trip to the 50th anniversary of the JUNO Awards in Toronto where she will perform at JUNOfest.  

“We are honoured to have Shawnee join the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class as this year’s Searchlight winner,” said Allan Reid, President and CEO, CARAS, The JUNO Awards and MusiCounts. “Shawnee is a refreshing and undeniable talent and we’re elated to welcome her into the program.” 

Shawnee has also earned a five-day residency at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, with access to recording studios, professionals, and a historic instrument collection that spans more than 450 years of technology and innovation, in addition to a performance slot at this year’s CBC Music Festival at Toronto’s RBC Echo Beach on Saturday, May 30.   

For more information on CBC Music’s SEARCHLIGHT competition, please visit cbcmusic.ca/searchlight.


About CBC Music
CBC Music connects Canadians with the very best in music. Available through the CBC Listen app, online, on radio and in television specials throughout the year, CBC Music privileges Canadian artists and songs. Offering over 200 free music streams, CBC Music draws from all genres and classifications with knowledgeable hosts and programmers. Home to the JUNO Awards and your favourite music from across the country, discover the next great act with CBC Music. For more, visit www.cbcmusic.ca.

For more information, please contact:
Teaghan Hawke, CBC