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Honey Jam 2018 Finalists Announced

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Honey Jam has announced the 13 artists who will be performing at its annual concert, which is taking place at the Mod Club in Toronto on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. For 23 years, Honey Jam has fostered the development of up-and-coming female artists, resulting in successful alumni such as Nelly Furtado, Melanie Fiona, and Jully Black.

All 2018 artists will receive the following:
– attend a free music industry workshop at Harris Institute

– receive one-on-one vocal and performance coaching from celebrity coach Elaine Overholt of Big Voice Studios

– have their original songs played on Radio

– promotion on honeyjam.com for 1 year

– participate in a mentor cafe

Some artists will be chosen to receive these additional opportunities:
– $5000 in equipment from Yamaha Canada

– song demo sessions at Slaight Music Studios

– the opportunity to take part in the Artist Entrepreneur program offered by Canada’s Music Incubator (CMI) at CoalitionMusic. It is a 10-week professional development program that delivers high-level, customized music industry mentorship for emerging artists of all genres.

– perform at the CNE

– perform at TD Union Subway Concerts

The 2018 artists are:
Kelsey Vaz
Kelsey Vaz is a 23 year old R&B singer/songwriter from Ottawa, based in Toronto. She started making music at the age of 7, replacing karaoke songs with her own words. In 2017 she released my first single called Focus, followed by 4 more into 2018 which have been heard on The Move 93.5 Toronto Take Over and Spotify playlists like Viral Hits Canada and New Music Friday.

Her main inspiration throughout the years have been Stevie Wonder, Brandy, Kendrick Lamar and Jojo. Mixing sultry R&B with the energy pop and the bounce of hiphop. Her most recent achievements have been performing in choir for Daniel Caesar in his 5 back-to-back shows in Toronto, headlining a sold out show at Ppl Nightclub in Ottawa, and writing 2 top 100 songs in the CBC Searchlight competition.

Emily Schultz
Emily Schultz is a singer-songwriter and seasoned performer. Born and raised in the arts community of Edmonton, Schultz has since made her way to Toronto to pursue a life of music. At the age of 24, her style is that of earthy and acoustic soul, led by a strong voice and powerfully honest lyrics. Schultz has played such local venues around Toronto as the Rivoli, Lee’s Palace, Supermarket and The Orbit Room, along with having a consistent residency at the Shangri La Hotel. Emily and her original content were recently featured on Much Music in association with 5 Gum’s 5-episode mini series, “On in 5,” where she worked with Allie-X to record and perform an original song. She is continuing to write and is working on her first EP, which will be available in the fall.
Preyé Itamunoala
Preyé is a 23-year-old African Soul artist known for her impressive, dynamic and enchanting vocals in addition to her soothing poetic songwriting style. Inspired by a wide array of incredible artists such as Yanni, Louis Armstrong, Enya, Lauryn Hill and Stevie Wonder just to name a few, Preyé’s music shows mature, intense and soulful attributes evident in her singles “Mortia” and “Pieces of Me.”

Sabrina Soares
Sabrina Soares’ debut 2016 EP “Plan A” is a hooky, hip-swiveling nod to jazz, pop, country and the funky Brazilian rhythms that color her unique heritage. Born to Brazilian parents in Sydney, Australia, Sabrina grew up singing Bossa nova with her dad before starting to write her own songs at age 13. Mixing sincere and relatable diary-entry style lyrics with exceptional self-taught guitar playing, Sabrina is a full-time musician who has abandoned all considerations of a university education in order to be an active participant in music.

Sabrina’s style continues to evolve, incorporating more sounds of R&B influenced by artists such as Lauryn Hill, Jhene Aiko, Drake, among others. Sabrina has recently moved to Toronto for the next stage of her career, which includes recording her next album.
She’s only got a Plan A: she’s all in, and you will be too.

www.sabrinasoaresmusic.com

Chloë Rabideau
Chloë Rabideau is a 20-year-old singer-songwriter from St. Catharines, ON. She started performing at age of 3, busking for ice-cream money with her karaoke machine on the docks of a local beach hot-spot. She has since developed her songwriting and performing abilities, gigging all over the Niagara region, solo, and with various bands. In 2015, She released her first EP of original songs, with funding help from FACTOR and Ontario Arts Council. In the past few years, Chloë has been less active in the performing realm; while recovering from a vocal nodule removal surgery, she has been writing up a storm and learning about production and healthy vocal technique, working with producers and teachers in Niagara and Toronto. She is currently in the studio, excited to be finishing up a series of singles to be released throughout the summer 2018.

Jasmine Kiara
18-year-old independent RnB artist Jasmine Kiara had her first single ‘Real Love’ produced by Eddie Bullen (Grammy nominated, Juno Award Winning). With the recent release of her first original EP, Golden Girl, she is ready to dominate the Canadian music industry. As a SOCAN member and professional songwriter, Jasmine has been writing, recording and performing her own music since the age of 15. She is confident in her ability to compose and produce her own original music.

At 16 years old she began receiving airplay in Toronto for her original music, on mainstream radio stations such as G98.7. Her song ‘Real Love’ has most recently been featured on the ‘Made In Toronto’ segment of 93.5 ‘The Move’ radio station. Using her original music, which ranges from R&B/Soul to Pop genre, she has performed at a large variety of events and audiences; including music festivals such as Irie Music Festival in Mississauga’s Celebration Square, and most recently headlining the Mirikai Fashion Show fundraiser in Toronto for Sick Kids Hospital. In every performance she is a true musician, able to perform acoustic sets with her guitar or piano, or sets with backing tracks, choreography & back up dancers – all with impeccable vocal range, control and musicality.

Malaika Khadijaa
Malaika Khadijaa is a 15 years old French Immersian 10th grade student from Whitby, Ontario. Currently taking both vocal and piano lessons, she loves to sing, play piano and guitar. She has performed at events like the Planet Africa Excellence awards, Black History month events, Whitby Idol, a Durham College basketball game, OVJF, churches, school events, recitals, and cafes and libraries around Whitby. Malaika is self managed with help from her parents and teachers. Her inspirations are artists like Daniel Caesar, Jorja Smith and Nai Palm.

Denver
Toronto-based singer-songwriter & producer Denver R&B/soul music style is influenced by the styles of Dinah Washington, Anita Baker, and Feist. Denver ventured into music professionally after singing backup vocals for R&B singer & friend TiKA in March 2017 after receiving many requests that evening for links to her music leaving people stunned to she had no music to offer. Denver began producing and writing in July 2017 after returning from an inspiring trip to Hawaii.

Denver’s self-produced songs highlight instances of affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. Denver combines honest confessions of regret and loss with 6-string acoustic therapy in “Rewind” and describes states of bliss induced by the simplest of touch in “Body Sangin’”which is co-produced by Zlender (known for Hotline Bling, For Free). Denver’s haunting “Like Water”, provides a testimonial of love from a higher power manifested in nature throughout her time on the Islands of Honolulu and Maui. “It was overwhelming for me to experience the cycles of nature that were taking place and to acknowledge that I was not only a mere witness but a willing a willing participant. Total submission. Nature’s power was out of my control. So powerfully, yet with ease. I believe that this is what love from a partner is like too, and I hope you experience that with my music.”

www.listentoDenver.com

Avita
Avita is a Canadian pop singer/songwriter and recording artist. As a child Avita explored all genres of music, being a winner in Canada-wide competitions for her performances and winning over 75 vocal certificates, trophies and scholarships by the age of 16. Although she was heavily trained in opera and classical music, Avita loved performing in local popular genre competitions and writing her own material. She took part in numerous choirs, musicals, bands and groups, winning the Kiwanis Bowl, scholarships, Provincial recommendations and runner-up in the Youth Talent Search, Canada. Avita plays 5 instruments and went on to study Honours Opera at Western University where she graduated. During her time in University however, Avita was winner of CMTC’s Canada wide competition, after which she travelled to Nashville to record her original song “Home is Home.” This single not only received Canadian radio play in heavy rotation, but also earned Avita the prestigious honour of placing top 15 in the International Songwriting competition. Avita has placed in many major songwriting competitions such top 12 CMT songwriting competition and top 2 CBC songwriting competition. She most recently won the “Star Quality Award,” at Miss Universe Nationals for her vocal performance.

Avita has a heavy online presence with over 80,000 views on YouTube, and weekly updates for audiences. Avita is inspired by many musical influences. Alicia Keys and Adele for their touch of jazz, Taylor Swift for her breathy, romantic and synthesized magic, and James Bay for his soulful vibe. She also deeply appreciates Halsey, Coldplay, Duo Lipa, Ingrid Michaelson, Jasmine Thompson and The Chainsmokers – all of whom she believes influences her unique sound. Her music is best described as romantic pop/rap, with a hint of jazz attitude. Avita can be next seen playing CK Summerfest, and is excited to release her upcoming EP and to tour in 2019, and hopes that they will enjoy the honest lyrics and playful beats as much as she does.

www.iamavita.com

Alisa Konda Kovac
Alisa Kanda Kovac is a 21 year-old pop and jazz artist based in Toronto. Her creativity was evident at a young age when she wrote her first song, “Midnight” about losing a job she never had. Growing up, Alisa was always exposed to the arts, she played the trumpet, violin, and piano, played “Angry towns person 1” in her school play, and of course, sang her favourite songs every chance she got. Alisa’s passion for performing is evident the moment she sings a single note. Her jazz influences include Peggy Lee, and Ella Fitzgerald. Her pop influences include Demi Lovato and Meagan Trainor. Alisa fuses both pop and jazz sounds engaging audiences of all ages.

Alisa can be seen performing all over Toronto and the GTA with the Toronto All- Star Big Band (TABB). These venues include the Old Mill, the Mississauga Living Arts Centre, The Palais Royale, the Lula Lounge, and the Beaches International Jazz Festival. The TABB performs music from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s including Motown and RnB charts. She has also done background vocal work with the band for the great Jackie Richardson and Billie Newton Davis.

Alisa also spent the last year a part of The University of Toronto’s award winning Acapella group, Tunes. Beats. Awesome. She is currently studying music at Humber College and improvisational comedy at the Second City.

Alisa is excited to be performing under her own name and to be collaborating with other artists in the following year. Watch out Bublé! Follow her on Instagram and like her FB page to stay updated!

Cinzia Abbate
Cinzia has spent years building a strong catalog of songs bursting with emotion in every lyric. Her angelic voice paired with her heart wrenching writing style is sure to pull at one or more of your heart strings. A strong belief of letting the worlds events and connections happen naturally has allowed this musical career to blossom with genuine relationships that resonate within the music created.

With the recent band Cinzia & The Eclipse; the quartet have found the sweet spot between today’s pop music and alternative rock that has been taking crowds by storm at every concert they’ve played.. Recently formed less than a year ago, Cinzia & The Eclipse are leaving no soul untouched with their live performance and soon debut single release.

Courtney Taylor
Courtney Taylor is a singer/songwriter hailing from Markham, Ontario. She started writing songs at the age of 14. In 2011 she graduated round six of The Remix Project (a creative arts program that fosters young artists by building their platform) and has since performed in various locations in the downtown core. Some notable venues include: CBC Radio, The Hard Rock Café, Horseshoe Tavern and The Rivoli. She has collaborated and performed alongside Canadian singers/songwriters Jocelyn Alice and Jully Black. Her major influences include Sade, Amy Winehouse, John Mayer and Lianne La Havas. Courtney is currently working towards recording her original music and plans to release an EP in the near future.

Wolfgang Gray
Wolfgang Gray is a Jazz pianist, vocalist and composer who is currently studying Jazz Piano at Humber College. Wolfgang’s original musical repertoire features a mix of R&B, jazz and soul vibes.
Starting her journey with the piano at the age of 13, Wolfgang was deeply inspired by her father, who promised her that one-day her skills would exceed his own. Gray’s music promises nothing less than to beautifully tease apart the order within the chaos.
Some teachers she cites inspiration from include Bernie Senensky and Jeff King; both renowned Toronto Jazz musicians. For her improvisation classes, Wolfgang worked with Juno Award winning saxophonist Jeff King. Both these mentors shared a carefree and highly spirited approach to playing that can be heard in Wolfgang’s music.

Wolfgang throws down deeply moving sets and commands the attention in every room. She has played numerous shows in support of women and girls at risk. Be it co-hosting the Cat Call fashion show in support of Redwood Women and Children’s Charity, or a Sexual Assault Awareness show in support of the Barbara Schlifer Clinic, or an International Women’s Day Show in support of Because I Am A Girl – Wolfgang makes a clear statement that her art is made for those who need inspiration and enlightenment.

Lu
Lu is a singer-songwriter with a unique approach to pop music. Her voice is quirky, jagged and breaks boundaries with its soaring peak. She challenges listeners with bubblegum-tuned ears by giving them super-catchy pop melodies, and honest lyrics sung in her own idiosyncratic style. Her professional music career began in 2013 when she co-wrote a song with DVSN and Stephen Kozmeniuk. The song was pitched, and placed on Jennifer Hudson’s third studio album. Since then, Lu has expanded her professional network, and has worked tirelessly at building her career as an artist. Her distinct sound, inventive songwriting, and vivacity have landed her in rooms with industry vets such as BabyFace. 2018 has been one of Lu’s busiest years yet. A few of her recent accomplishments include: being featured in AfroPunk magazine alongside Karena Evans and DJ Lisa Monet, placing in the top 3 for the It’s Your Shot Canada-wide talent competition, participating in Canadian Music Week, performing at TD Celebrates the Junos and attending a writing workshop with BabyFace, James Fauntleroy, and MarcLo. This summer Lu will be releasing her debut single titled Don’t Count Me Out. While writing the record, honesty was her secret weapon. She expresses her vulnerabilities in a way that will really resonate with listeners. It’s a song that demonstrates her musical ability, and solidifies her presence among those to watch in 2018.

For more information, go to www.honeyjam.com/artists.

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Mike Raine is the Senior editor of Canadian Musician.