Halifax's Aquakultre Wins CBC Music's 2018 Searchlight Competition

Live this morning on *q with Tom Power*, CBC Music announced Halifax hip-hop, singer-songwriter aquakultre as the winner of the Searchlight 2018 competition. The annual contest to find Canada’s next big music act was narrowed down from over 2,000 entries from every province and territory by a combination of public votes, a Canadian music industry panel, and three [celebrity judges](

Recognized by the local music scene as the “best new rapper to come out of Halifax in 20 years” (The Coast Magazine), aquakultre, also known by his given name Lance Sampson, earned the 2018 Searchlight title with his song “Sure.” The 25-year-old is a plumber by trade and a self-taught musician who started writing music to overcome a challenging past.

“It’s all about being unique, and standing out from the crowd,” said Searchlight judge Allan Reid, president & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards & MusiCounts. “As soon as we first heard aquakultre and the combination of hip-hop, acoustic guitar, and his soulful voice, we knew it was something special.”

Upon finding out he had won Searchlight, Sampson said “This is crazy! I’m really excited about going to the Juno Awards in 2019 in London. I just want the world to hear the music is all. I think they need to.”

New to this year’s grand prize, aquakultre will take part in Canada’s premiere artist development program: the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class. This includes a performance spot at the 2018 JUNO Master Class music industry showcase in Toronto, a trip to the 2019 JUNO Awards and a performance during JUNO Week. He has also earned a one week residency at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, with access to recording studios, professionals, and a historic instrument collection that spans over 450 years of technology and innovation, in addition to a performance slot at this year’s CBC Music Festival at Toronto’s Echo Beach.

For more information on CBC Music’s SEARCHLIGHT, visit

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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