Get to know Jhyve, CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2021 grand prize winner
Learn the story behind this year's Searchlight winner
Last week, an up-and-coming R&B singer/guitarist/songwriter named Jhyve beat out nearly 2,500 other participants to become the grand prize winner of CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2021. Shortly after he was crowned champion, we caught up with the friendly, gregarious musician to get to know him a little better.
Congratulations on the huge win! Can you tell us a little more about "Down," your winning song?
Thank you! Yeah, for sure. "Down" was written in one of the hardest times in my life. 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. The more it sinks in, the more it's kind of hard to grasp.
What prompted you to enter the song into Searchlight?
When I applied for this, I knew there were going to be so many people submitting songs, but you do it hoping that people hear your art, and that they connect with it. That's all I think that any of these artists want, that somebody out there is going to hear their song and go, "Whoa, what is that?" But there was also a side of me that was like, "Oh man, we made Top 100, but we're not going any farther than that." And then we made the Top 10 and I'm like, "The Top 10? What is this? No way, let's just see what's happening here. Could this actually happen?' I'm just really grateful that people have heard the song and decided that my song meant that much to them.
We made the Top 10 and I'm like, 'The Top 10? What is this? No way, let's just see what's happening here. Could this actually happen?'- Jhyve, 2021 Toyota Searchlight grand prize winner
Can you tell us a little bit about your background? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Scarborough and Brampton to Kittitian parents. From as young as I can remember, mom was singing. Now she sings in the Toronto Mass Choir. And back in the day, dad was a DJ. I still remember having to carry all of his DJ equipment to the car to help him get on the road, carrying all of his CDs and records and stuff like that. So music was always there. For me and my twin — we're the oldest of five — there wasn't ever a time where music wasn't a part of something happening at home. My parents didn't push it on us, but music was around, always in the background, and it wasn't until much later that I decided to give it a shot for myself and it's been an inspirational journey, and this is another chapter in that amazing story.
Dad was a DJ. I still remember having to carry all of his DJ equipment to the car to help him get on the road, carrying all of his CDs and records and stuff like that. So music was always there.- Jhyve, Toyota Searchlight 2021 grand prize winner
Your Toyota Searchlight grand prize win isn't your first taste of success — you were nominated for a 2018 Juno Award in the category of R&B/soul recording alongside Jessie Reyez and Daniel Caesar. What was that experience like?
That one felt just as surreal as this, actually. You don't really see it coming and then when it happens it's like, "Whoa!" Sometimes moments serve to remind you that you are where you ought to be. Especially with music. Sometimes it feels like you've written your billionth song and day after day you're just pushing, pushing, pushing, just hoping to see a little more of the light at the end of the tunnel, and sometimes you get these moments where you're reminded that you are closer than you think, and you gotta keep going, and the Junos was that moment for me in 2018, and now Searchlight has done that again.
Is there anything else you want to add?
Yeah, I want to thank my management, they are so amazing and they believe in me, up and down, through everything, they help push me forward as an artist and as a person and I'm so grateful for them. Also my parents, my family, my friends, my support system. I have amazing people around me and I wouldn't be able to do a fraction of the music I do without being blessed by those people who push me and encourage me. And a huge thanks to all that voted! There's so much talent out there and I'm so grateful to have been chosen.