2018 Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class top ten finalists announced

The top ten finalists for the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class have been announced.

Created as a program to help emerging Canadian talent become fully realized JUNO winners by CARAS and Slaight music, the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class invites three winners to a week of mentorship in Toronto, studio time at the Slaight Music Recording Studio and showcase performances at the 2018 JUNO Awards in Vancouver.

The process to select the finalists for the Master Class started in June, when artists across the country submitted their entries.  The judges that will select the three winners in September are JUNO nominated artists, producers and music industry executives.  This year’s judges include Arkells’ Max Kerman, Kardinal Offishall and CARAS president and CEO, Allan Reid.

The top 10 finalists are a diverse list of talent from across the country. Let’s take a look at the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class 2017 nominees:

A.Y.E. (Calgary, AB)

According to CBC.ca, Jahimba Hutson, AKA A.Y.E, is “an artist to listen to before everyone jumps on the bandwagon.” A.Y.E. celebrates his diverse upbringing (his father is a rasta reggae performer) and influences (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley, Nas, Linkin Park, are just a few examples) through soulful and hypnotizing hip-hop beats.

Caveboy (Montreal, QC)

Defining themselves as “dreampop,” the music of Caveboy is soothing, fearless and comforting.  The trio, consisting of Michelle Bensimon, Isabelle Banos and Lana Cooney, have become staples at festivals across the country.  From Osheaga, Pride Toronto and Hillside; and even to Los Angeles where they were spotlighted at SOCAN & CIMA’s Pre-Grammy celebration of Canadian Excellence alongside Kaytranada and Donovan Woods.

Elise LeGrow (Toronto, ON)

Taking inspiration from the rock and blues artists that once represented Chess Records, Elise LeGrow is making waves with her stripped down and reworked covers of classics by Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Her upcoming debut album, Playing Chess, was produced by S-Curve Records founder Steve Greenberg, R&B legend Betty Wright, and studio wizard Mike Mangini; who previously came together to produce Joss Stone’s Soul Sessions.

Featurette (Toronto, ON)

The dreamy electronic sounds of Featurette made headwaves in 2015 when they unleashed their two part EP Crave Vol 1 and Vol 2.  The Toronto duo have been featured in NOW! Magazine, and Exclaim! and have had their debut single Broken on key rotation at radio stations across the country.

Ivory Hours (Toronto/London, ON)

Hailing from London, ON, and now based in Toronto, Ivory Hours presents a bright, alternative pop-rock atmosphere that is uplifting and joyful. Their latest release, Dreamworld, explores themes of modern love, feminism and spirituality in a post-religious age.

Nice Horse (Calgary, AB)

Proud to call the Alberta Prairies home, Nice Horse is described as “The Zac Brown Band in miniskirts; the Runaways at a hoedown, the Spice Girls on a whiskey bender.” Consisting of Kaley Debra, Katie Marie, Brandi Caroline and Krista Lee, the good time country artists are ready to take on the world, with their 2017 debut EP, A Little Unstable.

Nuela Charles (Edmonton, AB)

The James Bond-esque cues of Nuela Charles have been heard across the world. From the FADER, to the UK press, Charles’ “Crumbling Down” is drawing comparisons from Amy Winehouse to Etta James.  With twelve TV placements following her debut album, Aware, Charles is well on her way to join the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Feist and Joni Mitchell as Canada’s next great female singer-songwriter.

The Katherines (Vancouver, BC)

Combining ‘90’s R&B, with hints of folk, EDM and ‘60’s pop, The Katherines (consisting of Kate Kurdyak, her sister Lauren and, life-long friend, Kaitlyn Hansen-Boucher) are definitely not afraid to mix genres.  Their latest release, To Bring You To My Heart, features collaborations with Steve Bays (formerly of Hot Hot Heat), Hawksley Workman, and Fake Shark’s Kevvy Mental.

The Treble (Winnipeg, MB)

“For us, Modernaires was about painting a picture. Each song is a moment in a larger story,” says the Treble lead singer Mark Brusegard, of the band’s 2017 debut album.  Dark, alt-rock that blurs the line of country,, the Treble explore the highs and lows of Canada’s long highways and the relationships formed along the way.  In 2011, the band created, 24 Shows in 24 Hours. The event has since been held four times even branching out to Toronto in 2014, and has raised over $15,000.

Good luck to all the talented nominees!

Born and raised with thoughts and aspirations of becoming a famous bassist in Sarnia, ON; Emily Plunkett now lives in Gatineau, QC, and considers National Capital Region home sweet home. A product of the Beatles, MuchMusic and the Southwestern Ontario summer festival circuit (circa 2000), her interest and love in concert photography came almost completely by accident when her journalism program at Algonquin College required courses in photojournalism (and she quickly realized that photos taken at concerts using a DSLR are enormously better than ones she was taking on a point-and-shoot she bought for a trip to England). She is extremely proud of the fact she has seen Sloan in some form or another 25 times.

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