CBC Searchlight Winner: Desirée Dawson
What: Soul, Folk
Where: White Rock, BC
The Muso Project
What: R&B, Soul
Where: Toronto, ON
Husband and wife team Edward Monzon and Rachenne Rogozo are the core of Toronto acoustic-soul group The Muso Project. Since forming in 2008, the duo has released three albums, including their latest, 2014’s Dare Yourself. One of the songs from that record, “Thousand Times,” was selected as the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize winner for Session One in the R&B category.
In addition to being a staple of their hometown music scene, the pair has also successfully licensed tracks from Dare Yourself for television use. One listen to their track “Miss Melody” or the funky, bass-driven “Dare Yourself” and you’ll quickly realize that the attention and acclaim are indeed warranted.
What: Soul, Rock
Where: Hamilton, ON
With big names like Steve Bigas (Taj Mahal) and Daniel Lanois (U2, Bob Dylan) credited as producers on Dirty Cheat, the debut EP from Hamilton’s Laura Cole, some might be drawn to her music out of curiosity alone. The good news, however, is that Cole has the goods to warrant your time.
Cole’s vocal talent is simply undeniable, showcasing influences from the likes of Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, and Amy Winehouse. She pulls no punches throughout Dirty Cheat, choosing to exercise the demons of infidelity on the appropriately named title track while “Death Row” solemnly (yet also somewhat playfully) documents the end of a relationship. “These songs are my catharsis,” she says. “Honest stories I am telling because I have nothing to hide.” Combined with her talent, Cole’s honest approach to her subject matter is sure to resonate with music fans from coast to coast.
What: Folk, Roots, Soul
Where: Calgary, AB
Drawing influence from musical luminaries like Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews, the music of Calgary’s Brent Tyler is breezy, relaxed, and, perhaps most notably, incredibly melodic.
Growing up, Tyler divided his time between sports and music before ultimately choosing to pursue the latter as a hobby. At age nine, he taught himself how to play guitar, something that has no doubt been a factor in his uniquely fluent, percussive-style of guitar playing.
To date, Tyler has two full-length efforts (2002’s Better Way and 2010’s In Rhythm) and one EP in 2014’s This Breath, to his credit. He is due to release a new studio album, Love Myself, in May and it’s likely to impress.