Kalsey Kulyk of Hudson Bay, a cancer survivor, is one of the eight semifinalists in this years SiriusXM Top of the Country competition.
From coast-to-coast, these rising stars will be moving forward in the competition with a chance to win $25,000 and more, stated SiriusXM.
SiriusXM Canada, the country's leading audio entertainment company, has announced the eight semifinalists competing for the title of Canada's next big country music star in the third annual Top of the Country competition. The competition is in partnership with the Canadian Country Music Association® (CCMA).
From the Hudson Bay-born protégé of a former Fleetwood Mac producer, to a former The Voice contestant, the 2020 SiriusXM Top of the Country semi-finalists are:
Don Amero (Winnipeg), Raquel Cole (Vernon, B.C.), Carolina East (South River, N.L.), Nate Hall (Toronto, Ont.), Brittany Kennell (Beaconsfield, Que.), Tyler Joe Miller (Surrey, B.C.), Kelly Prescott (Almonte, Ont.) and Kulyk.
Kalsey Kulyk resides in Hudson Bay and has been honing her craft since the time she could talk. Her first talent show was at the age of three. Her first guitar was at thirteen. Shortly after, she won her first competition.
Then everything changed. In high school, Kulyk fell ill and couldn’t seem to get well. It was cancer. Kulyk was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and underwent six months of chemotherapy. “I lost all my hair, but got a lot of song inspiration, because there were a lot of people I got to meet during chemo. I’d run home and write about their incredible stories. I had to get it all out, and I wanted to give that voice to people.”
Once she recovered she pursued her passion for music with even more determination. She worked with Fleetwood Mac producer, Richard Dashut, and made trips to Nashville for meetings and to write.
All of her work did not go unnoticed. Kulyk was invited to participate in both the Canadian Country Music Association’s Discovery Artist program, as well as Ole’s “On the Spot” competition. She won both.
Winning the Ole contest came with both publishing and record deals, and Kulyk found herself back in Nashville to launch her career. “I’m really excited about the music that I have now. I feel it really encompasses everything about me and who I am, and what I want to give to my audience. I grew up around a lot of old school and ‘90’s country music - Lee Ann Womack, John Prine, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Emmylou Harris, Jason Isbell - and I think that can be heard in the overall style of my music,” said Kulyk on her website.
"From concert and tour cancellations, to delayed studio sessions and albums, the Canadian country music community has truly demonstrated resilience this year," said Jeff Leake, director, music programming, SiriusXM Canada. "Even though the competition looks a little different than in previous years, we are confident that the talented group of musicians we've selected will rise to the occasion and seize the experience."
"We're proud of how we've come together as a community and that SiriusXM has stepped up to provide even more artists the opportunity to grow from this incredible program," said Tracy Martin, President, CCMA.
The 2019 Top of the Country competition crowned Maniwaki, Quebec's Matt Lang as the winner. "I am so proud to be part of Canada's tight-knit country music community," said Lang. "Last year's Top of the Country competition allowed me to connect with so many amazing peers, mentors and fans, all while performing at some of the country's biggest events. The next group of semifinalists are in for a real treat."
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, Top of the Country will be formatted differently in 2020 and will extend across two years. The semifinalists will be featured during this year's Country Music Week 2020, a virtual experience happening later this fall. Then, later in 2021, three finalists will be chosen from a nationwide public vote and a winner will be crowned at Country Music Week 2021, following a live show featuring the artists and a major headliner. The winner will receive a $25,000 grand prize, a SOCAN songwriting trip and more.
Extending throughout the year, participants will take part in an industry mentorship and content creation series. The eight semifinalists will capture live recording sessions right from their home and continue to receive valuable virtual mentorship sessions from industry professionals and artists throughout 2020 until in-person meetings and regular studio sessions can safely resume.
SiriusXM Top of the Country, in partnership with the CCMA, is part of SiriusXM's ongoing commitment to promoting and elevating the best in emerging Canadian music. SiriusXM continues to offer a leading platform for Canadian artists through its significant financial contributions and North American-wide reach of over 60 million listeners.
SiriusXM offers country music across more than 10 dedicated channels including CBC Country, The Highway, The Garth Channel, Kenny Chesney's No Shoe's Radio, Willie's Roadhouse, Prime Country and more.