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Pop Songwriter LU Takes Grand Prize in Canada's Walk of Fame 2018 RBC Emerging Musician Program

Chosen by a selection committee of music industry experts, Canada’s Walk of Fame announced today that LU, of Ajax, ON is the Grand Prize winner of its sixth annual RBC Emerging Musician Program, as part of Canada’s Walk of Fame Emerging Artists Programs and Scholarships. The program, valued at more than $100,000, provides musicians with the opportunity to grow and develop their skills and industry connections, and take their budding music careers to the next level.

Five talented artists were selected from more than 800 hopefuls from coast-to-coast who submitted applications that ranged across all genres of music. Submissions to the program more than doubled in 2018.

The winners and finalists of this year’s RBC Emerging Musician Program are:

Grand Prize Winner: LU – Ajax, ON
Second Prize Winner: Bones & Bridges – Etobicoke, ON
Finalist: Alexandria Maillot – Courtenay, BC
Finalist: Eric Brandon – Burlington, ON
Finalist: What If Elephants – Montreal, QC

“Our country has had such an impact on the global music stage, and it’s exciting to see the next generation of musicians who are eager to prove themselves on that stage. The RBC Emerging Musician Program is the perfect vehicle for artists ready to take the next step in their careers,” says Jeffrey Latimer, CEO of Canada’s Walk of Fame. “We're thrilled with the growth of the program in 2018, and we’re looking forward to working with the winners in the coming months. Thank you to everyone who submitted this year.”

As the Grand Prize winner, LU will receive $20,000, private studio recording time, introductions to industry executives and album art cover design. She will attend the Canada’s Walk of Fame Awards Show on December 1 at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts and will perform at the 20th Anniversary Gala at the Fairmont Royal York.

The pop songstress described her passion for crafting meaningful and impactful music, saying, “I never realized that I was doing anything different as far as creating music goes until someone pointed out that I had a gift. I find myself writing about the things that I was afraid to say out loud for so long...music has given me a voice.”

With a focus on self-love and inclusivity, LU states, “It’s important to me that all women know there is room for them no matter what career or life path they choose. As a black pop Canadian artist with Congolese roots, I’d like to continue to release music my way, and kick down the doors for all girls and women to follow.”

A cash prize of $6,000 will be awarded to Toronto-based group Bones & Bridges for Second Prize, and cash prizes of $4,000 each will be awarded to the three Finalists. All participating artists will gather in Toronto on November 7 at The Great Hall where they will take part in industry mentorship sessions and perform during the RBC Emerging Musician Showcase.

RBC’s continued support of the RBC Emerging Musician Program is part of their focus on helping artists in the early stages of their careers through the RBC Emerging Artists Project. “For many hopeful musicians, catching a break in the music industry is challenging, and that’s why we’re thrilled that through the RBC Emerging Artist program we are able to support young Canadian artists as they advance on their career journey,” says Valerie Chort, VP of Corporate Citizenship at RBC. “This year, RBC and Canada’s Walk of Fame are celebrating six successful years of working together to shape the future of Canadian artists. Congratulations to all 2018 winners - your incredible passion, talent and excitement are truly inspiring.”

In addition, Canada’s Walk of Fame announced the two recipients of the Canada's Walk of Fame Emerging Musician/ Metalworks Institute Scholarship this year. Asmahan Smelt and Abhishek Venkatachalam will both receive $10,000 tuition scholarships towards any full-time diploma program or online certificate course bundle at Metalworks Institute of Sound & Music Production.

“Metalworks is proud to support the great work of Canada’s Walk of Fame and their groundbreaking Emerging Artist initiatives, opening doors and providing opportunities to Canada’s amazing young artists eager to make their mark on the world stage,” says Gil Moore, CEO of Metalworks Studios.

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Mike Raine is the Senior editor of Canadian Musician.