Skip to main content

The hunt for canada's next undiscovered talent.

Learn About Searchlight
Shawnee Kish 'Building A Wall' - 2020 Searchlight Winner

Vote Now

Well here we are! After receiving almost 2,500 songs, it’s time to vote on all the entries to this year's Searchlight. Remember, only the fifty songs with the most votes will advance to the Top 100 round. The other fifty are selected by our industry judges.

This round of voting ends Thursday May 20 at 3Pm ET. Our tool allows one vote in a 24 hour period per computer. Good luck and thanks for the great music!

Meeth The Judges

Industry 101

Alongside every successful musician is an industry mentor guiding the way. We've assembled six music business experts to get you the information you'll need in a series we call Industry 101.

Get ready for Toyota Searchlight 2021.

Our hunt for Canada's next great undiscovered talent.

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 Monday, April 19, at 9 a.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 using 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 audio of your song only, not the video. And with expanded prizes, Toyota jumps in as the title sponsor this year to support the search.

The Toyota Searchlight 2021 grand prize is bigger than ever before:

1. Allan Slaight Juno Master Class

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 award show in 2022. (COVID restrictions may apply.)

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 dynamic 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. There will be 4 Toyota Searchlight runner-up prizes:

  • Play MPE distribution deal for your single.
  • $1,000 worth of recording studio time.
  • $500 worth of musical equipment/instruments.

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

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

  • The submission period starts on Monday, April 19, at 9 a.m. ET and ends Monday, May 3, at 3 p.m. ET. This is when all entrants can register for Toyota Searchlight 2021 and upload a song.
  • Round 1: Voting begins on all eligible songs on Tuesday, May 11, at 3 p.m. ET and ends Thursday, May 20, at 3 p.m. ET.
  • Round 2: Top 100 revealed and voting begins on Top 100 Tuesday, June 1, 3:00 p.m. ET and ends on Tuesday, June 8 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
  • Round 3: Top Ten revealed on Tuesday, June 15 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
  • FINAL: Judges reveal Grand Prize Winner and Runners Up on Tuesday, June 22 at 9:00 a.m. ET.

Toyota Searchlight 2021's winner will be decided by a combination of audience voting and choice picks from 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 in May.

Toyota Searchlight 2021 is also a chance to engage and grow your online fanbase to support you — right to our winner's seat. 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 Toyota Searchlight 2021? 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 2021? Get your best original song uploaded to YouTube today and enter on Monday, Apr. 19, on this website. Good luck!

CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight 2021 is brought to you in part by Toyota.

Toyota Searchlight2021 Frequently Asked Questions.

Do you have a question about entering Searchlight? Find the answers here.

Find all the answers to the most commonly asked questions about Searchlight below.

How do I enter Searchlight?

Registration for Searchlight opens on Monday, April 19, 2021. In order to enter, you need to upload your song to your own YouTube page as part of the submission process. Once this has been completed, you can fill out the entry form, on this site once submissions open.

My video is on YouTube, but not on my account. Can I still enter?

To enter, you must be the owner of the YouTube account where the song exists, or the song must be uploaded on behalf of your record label. If your song is deleted on YouTube after you have entered, this will void your entry. It is important to perform the upload yourself and ensure that your video cannot be tampered with, or be in an agreement with a label who is managing your songs for you.

I don't have a video, can I upload a song?

There are a number of tools available to help you create your entry. All that you'll need is an image of your band, an MP3 file and your YouTube account.

Please go to audioship to upload your song.

There are step-by-step instructions that will guide you through logging into your Google account, selecting your YouTube account, uploading your MP3 file and uploading your band image.

Once this has been completed, you can fill out the entry form, on this site once submissions open (April 19th to May 11th)

Do I lose rights to my song?

No, the song will always be yours. By entering, you agree to our rules and regulations, though, which allows the CBC to use your song for broadcast and editorial purposes.

Help! I found a problem with my entry, can I change it?

If you have found a problem with your entry, we are not able to make any changes to it. You will need to re-enter with the correct information before the submission deadline, and contact us at searchlight@cbc.ca to have the incorrect entry removed from the contest before voting starts. Please be warned that the link for sharing and voting will change so be careful before you share the link with your fans!

Why should I ask people to vote for my song?

Because advancing in the contest will be partially based on popular vote. The rest of the artists who advance in Searchlight — and the ultimate winner — will be determined by a judging panel. Use your social channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and ask people to vote for your song. Don’t forget to tag it #Searchlight2021, but don’t worry if you don’t have a big social reach — the judges will be listening for great songs throughout.

How can I vote?

To vote you will need to go to our voting page where all the entries are listed. Each video will have a button to vote, along with options to share the page on social media. Our hashtag this year is #Searchlight2021. You can also tag us @cbcmusic to let us know who you’re voting for.

What will the winner of Searchlight get?

The winning artist(s) of Searchlight 2021 will receive a prestigious placement at the weeklong 2021 Allan Slaight Juno Master Class in Toronto, as well as an industry showcase to cap your week. The winning artist(s) will also win a trip to Canada’s national music awards show in 2022. The Grand Prize also includes weeklong recording residency at Studio Bell in the National Music Centre in Calgary, a Play MPE Global Music Promotion Distribution Package, and funding for instruments and studio time courtesy of Toyota Canada.

Are there any key dates I need to keep in mind?

  • The Submission Period starts on Monday, April 19 at 9:00 am ET and ends Monday, May 3 at 3:00 pm ET.
  • Round 1: Voting begins on all eligible songs on Tuesday, May 11 at 3:00 pm ET and ends Thursday, May 20 at 3:00 pm ET.
  • Round 2: Top 100 revealed and voting begins on Top 100 Tuesday, June 1, 3:00 pm ET and ends on Tuesday, June 8 at 3:00 pm ET.
  • Round 3: Top Ten revealed on Tuesday, June 15 at 3:00 pm ET.
  • FINAL: Judges reveal Grand Prize Winner and four Runners-Up on Tuesday, June 22 at 9:00 am ET.

Can I edit my entry once it's submitted?

No. If your entry has an error in it we cannot edit any information in it. Instead, please submit a new entry form and email us at Searchlight@cbc.ca to let us know we should delete your first entry.

Toyota Searchlight2021 prizes.

CBC Music's annual hunt for Canada's next undiscovered talent is back for 2021!

If you're an ambitious Canadian musician with a great original song, our Toyota Searchlight 2021 prize package will provide you with incredible opportunities to take your career to the next level of songwriting, album production, marketing, networking and live performance. Check your incredible list of prizes below.

The Grand Prize

Allan Slaight Juno Master ClassAllan Slaight Juno Master Class:

As the Grand prize Winner, you will have earned your spot in Canada's premier talent development program — the Allan Slaight Juno Master Class in the fall of 2021 — for a week in Toronto or virtual equivalent, surrounded by the music industry's best plus a trip to Canada's national music awards in 2022.

This prize includes:

  • Return airfare for up to four band members to Toronto to attend the Master Class, hotel accommodations, and a per diem. All travel and accommodation will be pending government COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions.
  • A performance spot at a music industry showcase night in Toronto. Dates and location TBA, pending government COVID19 guidelines and restrictions.
  • A trip to the biggest award show in the canadian music industry in 2022 (dates TBA), including accommodation and return airfare pending government COVID19 guidelines and restrictions.

National Music Centre's Studio BellA 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.

This prize includes:

  • A five-day residency at National Music Centre (NMC) in Calgary, Alberta for one artist / a group of up to four musicians.
  • Access to the NMC’s recording facilities for up to 10 hours each day, including access to an engineer, a technical assistant, and to the NMC’s vast collection of musical instruments.
  • Return airfare and accommodation.
  • Residency must be initiated by Nov. 30, 2021.

Play MPE GlobalPlay MPE Global Distribution Package:

The Grand Prize winner of Toyota Searchlight will receive a curated full-service global music promotion distribution campaign for one release (single or album) by the most widely used secure digital distribution system in the music industry.

This prize includes:

  • Single or album distribution across all territories to radio programmers, music curators, media, bloggers, music supervisors, and more.
  • A dedicated email blast to Play MPE’s global marketing email lists sent to over 39,000 music industry professionals (record labels, music promoters, radio programmers, music curators etc.)
  • A feature blog post on Play MPE Book.
  • An interview with David G. on Play MPE’s YouTube channel.
  • A post across all Play MPE social media channels promoting the winner and their release.

CBC TV / Radio / Digital feature on your song / band:

Your winning song and your story will be turned into a dynamic Toyota Searchlight feature hosted by CBC Music Top 20 host music Grant Lawrence which will air nationally on CBC Television, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, and on digital platforms.

Toyota Searchlight Prize Pack Courtesy of Toyota Canada:

  • $2,500 worth of recording studio time at the studio of the performer’s choice provided by Toyota.
  • $2,500 worth of musical equipment/instruments provided by Toyota in partnership with Yamaha Music.

Four Runners Up will each win

Play MPE Global Music Promotion Distribution Package:

Two promo distribution packages for each runner-up to promote your single to be used within 1 year of winning.

Toyota Searchlight Prize Pack Courtesy of Toyota Canada:

  • $1,000 worth of recording studio time at the studio of the performer’s choice provided by Toyota.
  • $500 worth of musical equipment/instruments provided by Toyota in partnership with Yamaha Music.
  • $500 Sync Licensing Fee for a 1-year license for Searchlight promotion across CBC and Sponsor channels provided by Toyota.

We'd like to give a huge thanks to our Toyota Searchlight 2021 prize partners — Toyota Canada, the Juno Awards, the National Music Centre of Canada, and Play MPE Distribution — for making these incredible career opportunities possible.

Be sure to read our Toyota Searchlight Rules and Regulations for complete prize details.

Toyota Searchlight 2021 Key Dates.

If you’re planning to enter CBC Music’s Toyota Searchlight 2021 contest, you’ll need to keep an eye on our key dates.
Good luck!

  • Key Dates
  • SubmissionsApril 19 @ 9am
    to May 3 @ 3pm
  • VotingMay 11 @ 3pm
    to May 20 @ 3pm
  • Top 100 VotingJune 1 @ 3pm
    to June 8 @ 3pm
  • Top 10 RevealedJune 15 @ 3pm
  • WinnersJune 22 @ 9am

Submissions:

The Submission Period starts on Monday, April 19 at 9:00 am ET and ends Monday, May 3 at 3:00 pm ET. This is when all entrants can register for Searchlight 2021 and upload a song.

Voting:

Voting begins on all eligible songs on Tuesday, May 11 at 3:00 pm ET and ends Thursday, May 20 at 3:00 pm ET.

Top 100 Voting:

Top 100 revealed and voting begins on Top 100 Tuesday, June 1, 3:00 pm ET and ends on Tuesday, June 8 at 3:00 pm ET.

Top Ten Finalist:

Top Ten revealed on Tuesday, June 15 at 3:00 pm ET.

Winners Announced:

Judges reveal Grand Prize Winner and four runner up prize winners on Tuesday, June 22 at 9:00 am ET.