Searchlight 2020: standout artists

These are some of the artists our producers have earmarked as early favourites in Searchlight 2020

Check out these early favourites from this year's search

Naya Ali is a Montreal-based Ethiopian rapper taking part in Searchlight 2020. (Naya Ali)

Yes, we're still in Round 1 of voting, but Searchlight is all about discovering great new artists at every stage of the contest. We hope you enjoy all of these early Searchlight 2020 standouts as much as our producers have.

Please note: none of these artists are guaranteed to move forward in the contest so please keep those votes coming! You have until Thursday, Feb. 13, at 3 p.m. E.T. to cast your Round 1 votes. The Top 100 will be announced on Wednesday, Feb. 19. The winner will be declared in March. Here's what they will win

Cape Cartel, 'The Matador' (Montreal)

Possibly the catchiest song in Searchlight 2020. If you enjoy hard-charging, highly melodic indie rock in the vein of Hollerado or Plants and Animals, look no further. 

Shauna Seeteenak, 'Letter to Myself' (Iqaluit) 

Great flow, great melody, great beat, great message. It all morphs into a truly catchy chorus from this Nunavut hip-hop artist. 

Ru Manyonga, 'A Good Ride' (Edmonton)

What a stunning voice from this young Edmonton musician. Our producers have this beautiful song on repeat.

Terez, 'La. La. La.' (Toronto)

This is the debut single from this accomplished young pop singer who already has more than 100,000 followers and splits her time between Toronto and Nashville. 

Rachel Cousins, 'Wanna Love You' (St. John's)

A stellar pop singer-songwriter from Newfoundland who has returned for another run at Searchlight, armed with a stunning new track. 

Rob Murphy, 'O La La' (Cape Breton)

If you dig the Band, Joel Plaskett or Blue Rodeo, chances are you will love the natural, rootsy delivery of Rob Murphy on this very catchy and well-produced song.

Naya Ali, 'Get it Right' (Quebec City)

A major standout from last year's Searchlight, this Ethiopian-Canada hip-hop artist is back in a big way with her song entry "Get it Right," which showcases her flamboyant personality and unparallelled flow.

Capri Everitt, 'Girl Stand Up' (Vancouver)

This talented young singer holds a Guinness World Record for travelling to 80 countries and singing the national anthem in each one — in the countries' respective first languages! The feat was to raise money for orphaned children: Everitt's mission is to empower girls to stay true to themselves.

What if Elephants, 'ETA' (Montreal)

A Searchlight favourite from previous years is taking another run at the title. What if Elephants always bring creative production, great vocals and an amazing-sounding recording. We're thrilled the band is back, especially with a song this good. 

Jess and Tay, 'Into Tomorrow' (Hamilton)

A very high-quality and single-worthy country song. The vocals of lead singers' Jess and Tay blend perfectly. A definite contender!

Autumn Kings, 'Want You to Stay' (Windsor)

There's a huge sound coming from Windsor, and it's not the ice breaking up on the Detroit River. Autumn Kings are an accomplished alt-rock band with a ground-breaking hometown buzz that has led to the Detroit Red Wings playing the band's ultra-catchy and highly melodic tunes at the Little Caesars Arena. 

Liv Wade, 'Right on Time' (Salt Spring Island, B.C.)

A lovely song with a soaring chorus from this West Coast Métis folk singer-songwriter. Highly recommended for fans of Sarah Harmer or Jenny Lewis.

Kate Stevens, 'Meant for Me' (Calgary)

It's great to see this award-winning Calgary singer's talents back in Searchlight for another year, as she delivers a new single that showcases her intimate mix of emotive folk, jazz and soulful pop.

Ludic, 'My Love' (Vancouver)

This young West Coast trio is all about original grooves; they're like a fresh, funky cross between Mac DeMarco, Stevie Wonder, and Ween.