April 7, 2015 (Toronto, ON) – The Canadian Country Music Association® (CCMA®) is pleased to unveil the top six finalists for the 2015 CCMA Discovery Program. The finalists are: Meaghan Blanchard (P.E.I), Raquel Cole (B.C.), (Ray Gibson (B.C.), Maddison Krebs (Alberta), Sykamore (Alberta) and Katia Zuccarelli (Ontario). Now in its third year, this national initiative was created to educate and support Canadian country music artists in their pursuit of a career in the music industry.
“The CCMA Discovery Program has grown and evolved every year since its inception,” says Don Green, President of the Canadian Country Music Association. “We are so proud to have this program recognized and supported by the country music industry from coast to coast. Over 40 professionals in the business took part in the meticulous jury process that whittled down over 170 applicants to the six finalists that will start their journey with us in just a few short weeks. There is no shortage of musical talent in Canada; we’re thrilled to be the springboard for six emerging artists in their career development.”
The 2015 CCMA Discovery Program finalists will be flown to Toronto for their Music Industry Discovery Week, running April 26 through May 1. During this week, the finalists will learn, in-depth, about the music business and artist development through industry-led panels and seminars; live performance training from Tom Jackson Productions; vocal coaching from voice consultant, Tamara Beatty; an industry showcase opportunity and more. Each finalist will also be paired with an established Canadian country artist for a mentorship program which will take place during the summer months. Finally, during Country Music Week 2015 in Halifax, taking place from September 10 to 13, the finalists will perform at a public CCMA Discovery Showcase. An industry-led jury will select the winner of the 2015 CCMA Discovery Award as part of the event.
The winner of the 2015 CCMA Discovery Award will receive music video funding, subject to the standard terms in the VAP agreement (courtesy of CMT Canada); support from SOCAN; production and recording (courtesy of Barrytone Studios); cash prizing (courtesy of Galaxie); a guitar (courtesy of Gibson); other industry-related prizing (courtesy of Strut Entertainment), and a performance spot on the 2016 CMA Music Festival Global Artist Party showcase in Nashville.
More information on the top six finalists for the 2015 CCMA Discovery Program:
Meaghan Blanchard (Hometown: Hunter River, PEI)
Meaghan Blanchard is a singer-songwriter who grew up in the rolling hills of beautiful Prince Edward Island and is as vibrant as her red-headed curls. Blanchard recorded Changing Things, her first collection of songs, at the age of only 18. She has twice won the ECMA Country Recording of the Year: once in 2011 for her second recording, Chasin’ Lonely Again, and again in 2014 for her most recent album, She’s Gonna Fly.
Facebook: MeaghanBlanchard | Twitter: MeagBlanchard | Instagram: meaghanb22
Raquel Cole (Hometown: Vernon, British Columbia)
B.C.’s Raquel Cole ended 2014 on a high note by opening numerous fall shows for Grammy award-winning band, Diamond Rio, on their arena tour. Cole is quickly becoming recognized as a gifted guitarist and songwriter. Her song, “It’s For Real This Time” was recently featured on Sirius XM’s The Highway. She is currently opening shows for Josh Turner on his U.S. tour, with upcoming stops in the northeast, including the Best Buy Theatre in New York, NY. Cole is confirmed to perform at Canadian Music Week this spring.
Facebook: raquelcolemusic | Twitter: raquelcolemusic | Instagram: raquel_music
Ray Gibson (Hometown: Maple Ridge, British Columbia)
If you haven’t heard of Ray Gibson, you’re one of a few. With nearly 40 thousand followers on Instagram and Twitter combined, and over 750,000 views on YouTube alone, it’s easy to say Gibson has a committed fan base and blossoming online presence. Gibson has performed over 60 shows throughout British Columbia over the last few years, including a recent after-party in Kamloops for international country stars Florida Georgia Line.
Facebook: raygibsonmusic | Twitter: raygibsonmusic | Instagram: raygibsonmusic
Maddison Krebs (Hometown: Okotoks, Alberta)
Young and effervescent Maddison Krebs displays an uncanny, nuanced and very real sensibility for writing and singing in a vintage style. With a sound often compared to the timeless classics created by legends of country music, Krebs continues to master the nostalgic style she has such an acute awareness of – a sound that hasn’t been mainstream for over 50 years. From deep, sorrowful heartache to unbridled optimism, her song delivery and vocals will surely make you remember the name Maddison Krebs for years to come.
Facebook: maddisonkrebsmusic | Twitter: maddisonkrebs | Instagram: maddisonkrebs
Sykamore (Hometown: Carseland, Alberta)
Noted for her superior writing skills and raw performance style, Alberta-based Sykamore released her debut album PETAL last summer. Having performed and shared bills with Canadian music heavyweights such as Lindi Ortega and Adam Cohen, Sykamore recently received first prize in the ATB Financial All-Albertan Song Contest, with her original song, “Heaven In The Pines.”
Facebook: sykamoreproject | Twitter: sykamorejordan | Instagram: sykamore
Katia Zuccarelli (Hometown: Port Credit, Ontario)
Toronto-based Katia Zuccarelli is certainly an artist to watch for. With several of her songs being produced by Rob Wells, known for his work with Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and the Backstreet Boys, Zuccarelli is positioning herself in good company. With an admirable online presence and strong followings on social media, Zuccarelli’s star is on the rise.
Facebook: katiazuccarelli | Twitter: katiazuccarelli | Instagram: katiazuccarelli
About the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA):
Established in 1976, the CCMA is a membership-based, not-for-profit organization committed to the promotion and recognition of Canadian country music. Built upon the foundation to educate, elevate and celebrate Canadian talent, the CCMA progressively heralds the spirit, community and creativity that country music fosters through year-round initiatives, culminating every fall with Country Music Week and the Canadian Country Music Association Awards.
Communications Lead, CCMA