CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2021: the Top 10 finalists
The voting results were narrow, and we are now down to the 10 best of the best
CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2021 began back in April, with thousands of Canadian musicians from every province and territory entering their best original song. Your votes were cast and counted, we listened to every single song, and you helped us pick our national Top 100.
After another week of voting with extremely close results, we have whittled that list of 100 artists down to the best of the best: the Top 10 finalists for CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2021, our hunt for Canada's best undiscovered musical talent.
Below, you'll find the finalists in two categories: finalists as decided by CBC Music producers (seven spots), and finalists as decided by your votes (three spots) in alphabetical order.
1. Finalists as decided by CBC Music producers
BLK, 'Got It' (Toronto)
BLK is made up of Bexk, Lilac X and Korahjay, three woman from Toronto who have burst onto the Canadian R&B scene with their debut single, "Got It."
Elyse Saunders, 'Free' (Peterborough, Ont.)
Recently nominated for both female artist and rising star at the Country Music Association of Ontario Awards, Elyse Saunders' perfect summer song "Free" has already earned more than half a million streams on Apple Music and more than 100,000 views on YouTube.
Jhyve, 'Down' (Scarborough, Ont.)
In 2018, Jhyve was nominated for the Juno Award for best R&B/soul recording alongside Jessie Reyez and Daniel Caesar. And while those two have since taken off, Jhyve is now poised to be Toronto's next great R&B star.
Michaela Slinger, 'Masquerade' (Vancouver)
This West Coast indie pop songwriter has a huge sound and a knack for wickedly catchy choruses. Michaela Slinger arrived on the scene in a big way earlier this spring with the release of her debut album, Panorama.
Rachel Cousins, 'Aftermath' (Portugal Cove, N.L.)
Rachel Cousins has been building her career for years, recently winning the 2020 Music Newfoundland and Labrador Award for pop artist of the year, adding to several other regional music award nominations and impressive chart positions. Her Searchlight entry, "Aftermath," is a soaring piano pop ballad.
Riell, 'First' (Edmonton)
This electro-pop star on the rise is no stranger to competition, having won a Western Canadian Music Award for electronic artist of the year in 2020, the grand prize in the electronic category of the John Lennon Songwriting Competition in 2019, and first prize in the 2019 U.S.A. Songwriting Competition for the dance/electronic category.
The Royal Foundry, 'okay?' (Sherwood Park, Alta.)
A cross between Arcade Fire and Echo & the Bunnymen, this Alberta band has created a soaring alt-rock anthem that rings perfect for our times. This year also marks the Royal Foundry's fourth time in the Searchlight Top 10!
2. Finalists as decided by popular vote
Anna B., 'Goodbye' (Woodstock, Ont.)
Anna B. is our youngest participant in Searchlight 2021, a Grade 11 student from Woodstock, Ont., who got voted in to the Top 10 on the strength of her passionate and original piano pop ballad "Goodbye." Despite her young age, she has already performed at a Toronto Blue Jays game and has plenty of experience singing and performing in musical theatre.
Argel Monte de Ramos, 'It Doesn't Matter' (Surrey, B.C.)
This Filipino-Canadian singer/actor rocketed to the top of the vote column with his electro-pop anthem "It Doesn't Matter." Turns out, in this case, the votes do matter!
Treh Lamonte, 'I'm Finessin' (Montreal)
A graduate of the Recording Arts Canada, this born-and-bred Montreal R&B artist racked up the votes with his hook-filled electro-hip-hop-style song entry.
Now it's up to our panel of celebrity judges to decide which one of these artists will be the ultimate winner of Searchlight 2021, as well as choose the four runners-up, all of whom will win great prizes. The winning announcement will be made on Tuesday, June 22.
The grand prize-winning artist will receive a prestigious placement in the Allan Slaight Juno Master Class in Toronto, five days of recording at Studio Bell at the National Music Centre in Calgary, a Play MPE distribution deal, and a Toyota prize pack of studio time and musical instruments. Read more about our prizes here.
Voters, your job is done! No further voting will count. Now all we can do is wait until the winner is announced. Congratulations again to our Top 10!