Searchlight 2020: meet our national top 10 finalists
The voting results were close, but we have whittled the list of 100 artists down to the best of the best
Searchlight 2020 began back in January with Canadian musicians from every province and territory entering their best original song. Thousands of votes were cast and counted, and you helped us pick a national top 100 last week.
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 Searchlight 2020, CBC Music's hunt for Canada's best Juno-ready musical talent.
Below, you'll find the finalists in two categories: 1. finalists as decided by CBC Music producers (seven spots) and 2. finalists as decided by your votes (three spots).
1. Finalists as decided by CBC Music producers
Autumn Kings, 'Want You to Stay' (Windsor, Ont.)
Capri Everitt, 'Girl Stand Up' (Vancouver)
This ambitious teenaged singer-songwriter is unbelievably talented. She was called "one of the 16 girls who changed the world" after she made the Guinness World Record for singing the national anthem in 80 different countries — in each country's native language!
Josh Sahunta, 'Be Alone' (Edmonton)
This raw and emotional R&B/pop artist has already done plenty of touring in Canada, the U.S.A. and the U.K. Sahunta draws upon his influences of John Mayer, Ed Sheeran and the Weeknd to create a vivid and intimate pop sound.
Kendra Kay, 'How It's Done' (Elkhorn, Man.)
Hailing from tiny Elkhorn, Man. (population: 479), 23-year-old Kendra Kay delivers a huge country sound that has already netted her several awards and a live appearance at a CFL halftime show. That's how it's done!
Ludic, 'My Love' (Vancouver)
Fronted by guitar virtuoso Ayla Tesler Mabe and backed by brothers Max and Rhett Cunningham, this wildly original indie-jazz-funk-fused band seems poised for a major breakthrough.
Naya Ali, 'Get it Right' (Montreal)
A wicked flow from this Montreal-based Ethiopian rapper Naya Ali, one of the most impressive talents in the Quebec hip-hop scene.
Shawnee, 'Building a Wall' (Edmonton)
This powerhouse singer was named as one of "11 Transgender and Non-Binary Musicians You Need to Know" by Billboard after stirring performances at World Pride NYC and Canada Day in Ottawa.
2. Finalists as decided by popular vote
Little Destroyer, '21' (Vancouver)
Like a West Coast Metric, this Vancouver power trio hits hard with dark, confident and accomplished electronic-pop rock.
Cory Gallant, 'Where You Come From' (O'Leary, P.E.I.)
This P.E.I. traditional country singer knows that home is where the heart is. He recently won two Music PEI Awards, including Entertainer of the Year and Best New Artist, and has recorded a duet with Georgette Jones, daughter of one of country's royal couples: George Jones and Tammy Wynette.
Maci Wood & Rich Roach, 'Unsaid' (Niagara Falls, Ont.)
At 15 years old, Maci Wood is the youngest finalist in Searchlight 2020. A few years ago, after an audition for a Niagara-area talent show, she formed a songwriting and performing duo with her teacher, Rich Roach, and now here they are as Searchlight finalists.
Now it's up to our panel of celebrity judges to decide which one of these artists will be the ultimate winner of Searchlight 2020. The winning announcement will be made live on q on CBC Radio One on Thursday, March 5.
The winning artist will receive a prestigious placement in the Allan Slaight Juno Masterclass in Toronto, five days of recording at Studio Bell at the National Music Centre in Calgary, and performances at the 2020 CBC Music Festival and the 2021 Juno Fest at the 50th Juno Awards in Toronto. Read more about our prizes here.
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!