Canadian Musician

CANADIAN MUSICIAN BLOG Searchlight Contest Back & Bigger for 2016

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

2015 Searchlight winners Orange O’Clock

2015 Searchlight winners Orange O’Clock’s annual Searchlight contest is back, and this year it’s even bigger. Beginning Monday, Feb. 29, musicians of all types – including solo artists, duos, and groups from all genres – are encouraged to enter via All applicants must submit a video of themselves performing one original song, as well as one high-quality MP3, before Wednesday, March 23.

In an interesting twist this year, the competition will come to life on CBC-TV, as the top four finalists compete on a live broadcast for the Searchlight title, judged by three celebrity judges. Musicians will also get the chance to have their entries listened to by a Searchlight industry judging panel, which includes music programmers, journalists, label representatives, managers, prominent hosts, publicists and more.  Prizing includes $20,000 towards music equipment (plus an additional $5,000 in audience prizes) from Yamaha Canada, a performance opportunity on CBC Radio One’s q, a performance slot on the CBC Music Festival (including flights and accommodations) and a Canadian Musician Magazine Career Booster package valued at $25,000, from media partner Canadian Musician Magazine.

 Searchlight is a listener’s choice competition that engages musicians and listeners alike.  Now in its fourth year, past winners have included Orange O’Clock (2015), Lauren Mann and The Fairly Odd Folk (2014), and Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case (2013).

The competition phases are as follows:

Regional Contest:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 16 – Contest announcement
  • Monday, Feb. 29 – Submission period opens
  • Wednesday, March 23 – Submission period closes
  • Wednesday, March 30 – Regional round one contest opens
  • Wednesday, April 20 – Regional round one contest closes (top 10 contestants from each region move on to final regional level)
  • Monday, April 25 – Regional round two finals opens
  • Friday, April 29 – Regional finals close (one finalist from each region advances to the national levels)

National Contest:

  • Tuesday, May 3 – National contest opens (top 25)
  • Monday, May 9 – National contest closes. Regional finalists narrowed down to top four (three selections via Celebrity judges + one most popular vote received = four finalists)
  • Week of May 16 – Top four finalists announced on CBC Radio One’s q
  • Week of May 23–May 27 – Top four finalists compete on on CBC-TV special to become the SEARCHLIGHT 2016 winner
  • Saturday, May 28 – SEARCHLIGHT 2015 winner plays Festival in Toronto

For more information about Searchlight, visit and follow on social media using #Searchlight.

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