Music

CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2021: the winners

Check out the grand prize champ and our 4 runners-up in this year's contest.

Check out the grand prize champ and our 4 runners-up in this year's contest

The winners have been declared in CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2021! (CBC)

After some long and very careful deliberation, our judges have made their decisions: the winners of CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2021 have been announced!

Yes, winners. This year, unlike any other, we have one grand prize winner and four runners-up, all of whom will receive fabulous prizes fine-tuned to take their careers to the next level and beyond.


Grand Prize winner: Jhyve, 'Down' (Scarborough, Ont.)

A song that was written at a career low point has carried Toronto R&B artist Jhyve to the summit of Searchlight 2021.

In 2018, this guitar-playing singer-songwriter was nominated for the Juno Award for best R&B/soul recording alongside Jessie Reyez and Daniel Caesar. Now, with a new EP out in 2020 (Rapture) and this 2021 Searchlight win — beating out nearly 2,500 other artists — Jhyve is poised for widespread acclaim.

I feel like I want to find a mountaintop and scream off it.- Jhyve, upon learning he had won CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight

"That's amazing. That's amazing! That's so amazing. I'm actually at a loss for words," responded Jhyve when he learned he had won Searchlight 2021. "I feel like I want to find a mountaintop and scream off it."

"'Down' was written in one of the hardest times in my life," Jhyve confirmed about his Searchlight-winning song. "I was working with a record label that I was having creative differences with, and a personal relationship that was really big for me had ended earlier that year. 'Down' represented the low, a breaking point. It's kind of crazy to think that something that came from such a dark place has had such an impact on people. It makes me feel like it wasn't for nothing. It's kind of poetic." 

Jhyve has won CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2021 grand prize, which includes:

1. Allan Slaight Juno Master Class and Juno Awards experience

By winning Toyota Searchlight, Jhyve has earned a spot in Canada's premier talent development program — the Allan Slaight Juno Master Class — for a week in Toronto (or its virtual equivalent), surrounded by the music industry's best. It will all culminate in a live industry showcase, plus a trip to Canada's national music awards in 2022. (COVID restrictions may apply.)

2. A recording residency at the National Music Centre in Calgary

Studio time is expensive, but by winning Toyota Searchlight, Jhyve will spend five days in Calgary at the National Music Centre's Studio Bell, and be given access to more than 300 musical instruments, a recording studio and a recording engineer to create his next album.

3. Play MPE Distribution Deal 

Jhyve's single or album will get a full promotional distribution campaign sent out by the most widely used secure digital distribution system available in the music industry. Play MPE is used by all major labels, as well as thousands of independents, promoters and artists globally.

4. CBC-TV/radio/digital feature on your song/band

Jhyve's winning song and story will be turned into a cross-platform Toyota Searchlight feature hosted by CBC Music Top 20 host Grant Lawrence. The feature will air nationally on CBC Television, CBC Radio One, CBC Music and on digital platforms. Jhyve's song will also be featured on the CBC Music Top 20.

5. Prize pack courtesy of Toyota Canada

  • $2,500 worth of recording studio time. 

  • $2,500 worth of musical equipment/instruments.

Runners-up:

Elyse Saunders, 'Free' (Peterborough, Ont.)


Michaela Slinger, 'Masquerade' (Vancouver)


Riell, 'First' (Edmonton)


The Royal Foundry, 'okay?' (Sherwood Park, Alta.)

Our Toyota Searchlight runners-up will each receive these prizes courtesy of Toyota Canada:

  • Play MPE distribution deal for their single.

  • $1,000 worth of recording studio time. 

  • $500 worth of musical equipment/instruments.

Congratulations to all of our winners and a huge thank you to every artist who signed up to CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2021, and to everyone who voted. See you next year!

Questions? Email searchlight@cbc.ca.

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