Searchlight

Get ready for Toyota Searchlight 2022, our hunt for Canada's next great undiscovered talent

CBC Music's annual talent search returns with revved-up prizes for aspiring musical artists.

CBC Music's annual talent search returns with revved-up prizes for aspiring musical artists

Toyota Searchlight returns on April 20, 2022. (CBC)

Toyota Searchlight is CBC Music's long-running hunt for Canada's undiscovered musical talent. Could that undiscovered talent be you? Or a Canadian musician you know?

Starting on Wednesday, April 20 at 3:00 p.m. ET, all you have to do is upload an audio file or video to YouTube — what you consider to be your very best original song in any genre.

You'll be able to sign up with our new easy-to-use Toyota Searchlight entry form. Get a head start by uploading your best song (audio or video) to YouTube now, before the competition officially opens.

Please note that you will be judged on the following:

  • Your potential for success in the Canadian music industry.
  • Your vocal performance, quality of music and lyric composition.
  • Our judges' impression of your song and your career to date.
  • Your social media engagement and streaming numbers.

Please also note that the quality of your song will be judged on audio, not video. 

There are a few other exciting changes to Searchlight 2022 that we want to give you a heads up on:

  • Public voting will only occur in the opening round.
  • Three artists will make it into the next round, which will be the Top 100, based on the popular vote. The other 97 artists will be chosen by our judges. 
  • After being voted into the Top 100, the three top-voted artists will each receive Fan Choice Awards (see below for more details).
  • The Top 10 artists and winners will also be chosen by our judges.

And with expanded prizes, Toyota has pulled into our V.I.P. parking as our title sponsor to once again support the search.

CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2022 grand prize is bigger than ever before:

1. Allan Slaight Juno Master Class and Juno Awards experience

By winning Toyota Searchlight, you will have earned your 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 cumulate in a live industry showcase, plus a trip to Canada's national music awards in 2023. 

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

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

3. Play MPE distribution deal 

Your 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

Your 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.

5. Prize pack courtesy of Toyota Canada

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

6.  Gift certificate courtesy of Long & McQuade

  • A $1,000 gift certificate from "Canada's music store," Long & McQuade, for anything including instruments, equipment  rentals, repairs, lessons. 

7. CBC Music Festival performance

  • Your own performance slot at the next CBC Music Festival.

8. There will be 4 Toyota Searchlight runners-up that will each receive these prizes courtesy of Toyota Canada

  • Play MPE distribution deal for your single.
  • $1,000 worth of recording studio time. 
  • $500 worth of musical equipment/instruments.
  • A $1,000 gift certificates from Long & McQuade, Canada's music store, for anything including instruments, equipment  rentals, repairs, lessons.. 
  • A one-hour meeting with a mentor from Canada's Music Incubator (CMI) to help address your immediate music business challenges or questions. CMI is a Toronto-based national not-for-profit organization specializing in professional development, ongoing mentorship and live events for artists, managers and music companies.

9. Our new Fan Choice awards 

This year, fan voting for Toyota Searchlight will only occur in the opening round. The top three vote-getters from our opening round will receive: 

  • An automatic placement in our Top 100.
  • A $1,000 gift certificates from Long & McQuade, Canada's music store, for anything including instruments, equipment  rentals, repairs, lessons.
  • Play MPE distribution deal for your single.
  • A one-hour meeting with a mentor from Canada's Music Incubator (CMI) to help address your immediate music business challenges or questions. CMI is a Toronto-based national not-for-profit organization specializing in professional development, ongoing mentorship and live events for artists, managers and music companies.

Check out more details on prizing and rules and regulations here.

Here's how it's all going to roll out:

  • The song submission period begins on Wednesday, April 20, at 3 p.m. ET and ends May 5 at 3:00 p.m. ET. This is when all entrants can register for Toyota Searchlight 2022 and upload a song. 
  • Opening Round: Voting in this round only begins on all eligible songs on Thursday, May 19, at 3:00 p.m. ET and ends Monday, May 30, at 3:00 p.m. ET. You can vote once a day for your three favourite artists to make it into our Top 100.
  • The Top 100 will be revealed on Wednesday, June 8, at 3:00 p.m. ET. Three artists will make it through by popular vote, and the other 97 will make it through by internal judging by a team of music industry experts. 
  • The Top 10 will be revealed on Tuesday, June 21, at 8 a.m. ET. All 10 artists will be chosen by our judges.
  • Winners: our judges will reveal one grand prize winner and four runners-up on Tuesday, June 28, at 8 a.m. ET.
  • Toyota Searchlight 2022's winners will be decided by a panel made up of our producers and celebrity judges: a cross-section of the best that the Canadian music industry has to offer. This year's judges will be announced soon.

Toyota Searchlight 2022 is also a chance to engage and grow your online fanbase to support you — right into our Top 100. Together, CBC Music and Toyota are proud to support Canadian music and help give aspiring artists right across the country for a chance to fulfil their artistic dreams. We are committed to supporting Canadian music, gender and racial diversity in the music industry, and recognizing the distinct communities where artists really come from. 

So why should you enter CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2022? Besides our amazing grand prize, your song could be showcased on CBC Radio One, CBC Music, Radio 3, CBC Digital, and CBC-TV at any point during the contest.

Are you ready for Toyota Searchlight 2022? Get your best original song uploaded to YouTube today and enter on Wednesday, April 20, at cbc.ca/searchlight. Good luck!

Everything you need to know about Toyota Searchlight 2022 can be found here.

CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2022 is brought to you in part by Toyota.

Questions? Email searchlight@cbc.ca.

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