Searchlight: The hunt for Canada's best artist starts today

Searchlight, CBC Music and Radio One's third annual nation-wide talent search, officially launches Monday. Submissions will be accepted until midnight ET, March 29.

Submissions will be accepted online until midnight ET, March 29

Searchlight: the hunt for Canada’s best new artist officially launches Monday, March 16 on CBC Music and CBC Radio One. Submissions will be accepted at www.cbcmusic.ca/searchlight until midnight ET, March 29.

The hunt for Canada's best new musical artist kicks into high gear today with the official launch of Searchlight 2015.

CBC Music and Radio One have teamed up for the nation-wide talent search that is one-part showcase and one-part contest.

Musicians of any genre can enter their music in the contest, and fans can tune in to their local CBC Radio One afternoon show to vote on their favourite act.

The regional winners will move on to a national contest, hosted by Q on CBC Radio, where fans can still vote for their favourites, but the bands will also have to impress a panel of celebrity judges who will help decide the ultimate winner.

Meet the judges

This composite shows the three celebrity judges for Searchlight 2015: Dan Boeckner, Saukrates and Jenn Grant. (Troy Fleece/Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)
This year's just-announced judges include one of Toronto's foremost hip-hop pioneers, a British Columbia ex-pat responsible for some of the best indie groups to come out of Montreal over the last decade, and one of the East Coast's most beloved singer-songwriters.

Dan Boeckner

Dan Boeckner’s resumé reads like an indie music fan’s desert island playlist. Between Wolf ParadeHandsome Furs, Divine Fits and now Operators — his latest synth-tinged, hook-laden musical project — the British Columbia-born, Montreal-bred musician has established himself as one of the most respected and creative minds in Canadian rock. Boeckner was twice shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize and has more than 10 critically acclaimed releases under his belt.


A longtime anchor in Toronto's hip-hop scene, Saukrates has collaborated with some of the most well-known names in the genre, including Drake, Nelly Furtado, Nas, Common, Redman and Xzibit. As a producer with multiple Juno nominations to his name, Saukrates has worked with such Canadian mainstays as k-os, Swollen Members, Jully Black, Kardinal Offishall, Choclair, Classified and Shad. You can even look up just about any Canadian major label rap release from the past 20 years and find him present, as performer or producer. His most recent release, Amani, was nominated for a 2015 Juno Award. 

Jenn Grant

Prince Edward Island native Jenn Grant is one of Canada’s most beloved singer-songwriters. Now based in Halifax, she has charmed audiences at home and abroad with five celebrated albums of varying styles that have jumped effortlessly between irresistible pop songs and intimate folk ballads. In just the last few years alone, she has won multiple East Coast Music Awards and, most recently, earned nominations for two 2015 Juno Awards, including songwriter of the year.

How to enter

Musicians and fans can head to CBCMusic.ca/Searchlight to enter and hear the many acts who have already entered.

Voting starts on March 30, and the winner will be announced live on Q on May 15.

The winner will get $20,000 in gear from Yamaha Canada Music and a gig at the CBC Music Festival in Toronto. But many acts will win just by entering. The exposure to fans and other bands have helped people to find more and better gigs, new opportunities to collaborate, sponsorship or even record deals.

With files from Mike Miner, CBC Music


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