The CBC’s annual search for Canada’s undiscovered musical talent has begun, and three artists from the Northwest Territories are asking for your vote to help them progress.
Andrea Bettger, Abe Drennan, and Nathan Knox have each entered songs in CBC Searchlight 2020, joining more than a thousand entries from other parts of Canada.
The winner, chosen by a mix of public voting and a panel of judges, receives a week-long masterclass, a week at a recording studio, and the opportunity to play at festivals, among other benefits.
But Knox says even making the latter stages of the contest – which is first cut to 100 shortlisted entries, then a top 10 – can have huge benefits.
“If you make the top 10 you’re going to get radio bits, you’re going to get on television. There is no quicker launchpad,” he told Cabin Radio’s Lunchtime News.
Go vote! Head to CBC Searchlight (and select NWT from the dropdown)
Voting opened on Tuesday and you’re able to vote once per day. The first round of voting continues until Thursday, February 13.
Once the top 100 entrants have been chosen, a second round of voting runs from February 19 till February 25. Judges then choose between the top 10 and declare a grand prize winner on March 5.
“It is so incredibly easy to vote. I want to make sure everybody goes online and votes for all three of us, every day,” said Knox.
“Stay home from work. Don’t go to school. There are a thousand entries here, it’s going to take you some time to go through them all.”
Listen to all three tracks on the Lunchtime News podcast from the 11:30 mark.
Knox’s entry, entitled Running on Empty, is “a simple love song,” he says, “about the ups and downs of anyone’s relationship.”
Fellow Yellowknife musician Bettger’s submission is named Here’s One. Bettger co-wrote the song with Pat Braden – her band on the track includes Ben Russo on mandolin, Braden on Chapman Stick and vocals, Al Bee on drums, and Adrian Dolan on accordion and mandola.
Inuvik musician Abe Drennan submitted a track named Spirits Soared from his latest album, The Iglu Sessions. “The song commemorates the lives of the Neville-Lake children, Daniel, Harry and Milly and their grandfather Gary Neville, who died in a tragic car crash caused by a drunk driver,” Drennan wrote.
He said all proceeds from downloads of Spirits Soared would be given to not-for-profit Many Hands Doing Good, created in memory of the children.
While the deadline has passed to enter Searchlight as a musician this year, Knox urged others to enter next year’s contest.
“Next year I’d love to see a hundred entrants from the North,” he said. “There is so much great talent here.”