Tag: The Shot

Where Are They Now? Season 4’s Jonathan Farrington

Jonathan Farrington came into his audition in Season 4 with a brilliant swagger and followed it up with an amazing vocal performance.  Jonathan was the first contestant to come to The Shot from outside Canada, having come to audition from the Bahamas.  Here’s what Jonathan had to say about his experience with The Shot and what he’s doing now:


What was your favourite part of The Shot?  What did you take from doing it?  How did The Shot help you grow as an artist?

My favorite part about The Shot was meeting so many amazing artists. It was a great way to get an appreciation of different genres and styles. The Shot helped me to be a more versatile artist experimenting with songs that I would not normally have performed back at home in the Bahamas.


How was The Shot different from any of your other experiences with performing or doing other competitions?

The Shot was different because I saw a genuine concern from the coaches and their entire team to help artists achieve their musical dreams without trying to swindle them.  It was a very real and pure experience.


What advice would you give someone who is thinking about auditioning for Season 6?

I would say do it.  You really have nothing to lose but everything to gain when you enter a competition like this.


What have you been doing since The Shot?

I’m now studying acting at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, New York.  Acting is another passion of mine and just like music it has the power to touch people on so many levels. I decided to invest in enhancing this skill. I’m still performing when I get free time from school and currently writing new material for futuristic projects.   I’m also writing a screen play and stage play.  I’m also enrolled in the New York Vocal coaching academy where I am studying to obtain my certification in vocal coaching.


Where can people find you or hear your music online?

Through Instagram: lfarrmusic, facebook:jfarrmusic, youtube: Jonthan Farrington and sound cloud:jfarrmusic.

Where Are They Now? Season 5’s Jayde Taylor

Jayde Taylor has a lot to give: from her confident presence to her beautiful vocal to her phenomenal songwriting ability.  Jayde auditioned for the judges in Season 5 and had this to say about her experience and the advice she has for anyone thinking about auditioning for Season 6:

What was your favourite part of The Shot?  What did you take from doing it?  How did The Shot help you grow as an artist?

My favourite part about doing The Shot was the networking.  I loved meeting everyone that was involved and working with them.  Everyone is just so supportive of one another and it’s really great to make those connections with people who must want to see you succeed.

I learned not to be so hard on myself during the process. Things are going to go wrong behind the scenes and on the stage, it’s life and it happens.

The Shot helped me grow in terms of my collaborative skills. We all got to work together and give each other feedback, learn from one another, push each other and that is really what it’s all about.

How was The Shot different from any of your other experiences with performing or doing other competitions?

The Shot was the least competitive competition I have ever taken part in. The whole time we were rooting for everyone. It was never about winning or losing for any of us. We were just there to learn and have fun.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about auditioning for Season 6?

My advice would be … you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  I still talk to the friends I made [while part of The Shot] and we are always commenting and sharing each other’s material on social media, just because we are excited about everything everyone is doing. I gained a whole network of people I trust and adore and that is honestly a very rare occurrence in this industry, and I have The Shot to thank for that.

What have you been doing since The Shot?

I’ve been recording a new bundle of singles and getting a project ready to be released very soon!

I’ve also been buying music business books and studying that side of the industry.

Where can people find you or hear your music online?

 @itsjaydemusic on all social media.  itsjaydemusic.com to be launched soon

Where Are They Now? Winner of Season 2 James Downham

Season 2 winner James Downham has been one of The Shot’s most vocal and active ambassadors since taking home the trophy back in March 2015.  Since his winning performance of Tim McGaw’s “Live Like You Were Dyin'”, James has started a band, been writing and recording new music and has called The Shot the breath of air that brought new life into his passion for music.  Here’s what James had to say about his experience on The Shot and where he’s been and what he’s been doing since the big win:

What was your favourite part of The Shot?  What did you take from doing it?  How did The Shot help you grow as an artist?

 I think the best thing that I got out of participating in The Shot was becoming part of a community of people who are supportive of each other, who have a sincere desire to see others succeed, and cheer them on as they move forward.

The Shot was a true catalyst for my music career. It gave me the confidence boost I needed to do something I’d been yearning to do for a long time. Truthfully, there was nothing stopping me but myself and my own self-doubt. But joining a community of wonderful singers, artists, and fantastic supports from the community, and seeing others who were pursuing the same path, helped to remove the fear and the doubt.

How was The Shot different from any of your other experiences with performing or doing other competitions?

 I’d never participated in a competition like The Shot before. I honestly expected it to be very different. I thought it would be more competitive – as in, each participant looking out only for themselves, and looking to win. That’s not at all what I experienced.  I think the difference was the coaching and mentoring aspect, and spending time with the other participants. The whole event was framed as a development opportunity (perhaps as much self-development as artist development). Regardless of the outcome, anyone who wanted to learn and grow as a person and as an artist had the opportunity to do so, and to make some friends for life.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about auditioning for Season 6?

 Do it. Only good things can come out of it. Be prepared to work hard – during and after Season 6. The opportunity is whatever you make of it.

What have you been doing since The Shot?

 Wow! I’ve now put together 2 bands (The James Downham Band and my newest project, the Durham County Band). I’ve released 3 songs to radio across Canada (2016’s “Don’t Talk To Girls” and current James Downham release “Fly Away”; current Durham County Band release “Valentine’s Day”); I’ve been gigging, recording, and having fun! Durham County Band’s album will be coming out summer 2018 and I’m really excited about it!

 Where can people find you or hear your music online?

 Search for artists James Downham and Durham County Band in all the usual places… iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Music, Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, and all the rest! www.jamesdownham.com and www.durhamcountyband.com

Questions REVEALED: What the Judges Might Ask You in Auditions

Earlier in the week, big changes to The Shot format for Season 6 were announced by producers in what might be the biggest shift for the hit competition since opening to singers age 16 and over from anywhere in the world.

The sixth installment will focus more heavily on development and mentorship of artists and will take a more “Dragon’s Den-like” approach to the singing competition format.  Auditionees can expect for their vocal performance to still play a big part in the judges’ decision to put a singer through to the next phase in the process but those stepping in front of the panel can also expect to be asked more in depth questions about who they are as an artist, their aspirations and how serious they’ve been and intend to be about pursuing a career in music.

While auditions are still several months away, the production team has already begun drafting a list of questions for the judges to potentially pull from when interviewing a hopeful contestant.

We’ve managed to snag a copy of the list to share with those who have already applied or are planning to apply for auditions this September.  Here’s a sample of those questions:

  1. How long have you been performing?
  2. Do you or have you work/ed with a vocal coach or received any sort of training?
  3. What is the largest audience you’ve ever performed for?
  4. How often do you perform in public?
  5. Do you write your own music?
  6. Have you released any of your original music?
  7. Who or what inspires you to do music?
  8. What’s your social media following like?
  9. What made you want to do The Shot?
  10. Where do you see yourself, musically, in 3, 5 or 10 years time?

This is just a portion of the list and these questions may not be verbatim when they’re asked later this year but we expect the judges to pull some inspiration from the suggestions.

Along with the questions above and others, performers will be asked to tell the judges about themselves and their backgrounds.

Whether the questions will come before or after an artist’s performance hasn’t been revealed yet but knowing the judges and their propensity for liking to switch things up,  don’t be surprised if they aren’t held to a formal structure.

The Shot is now accepting video audition submissions for Season 6 and applications are open for the live, in-person auditions on September 8th, 2018.

‘Big Changes’ Coming to The Shot Format for Season 6

THE SHOT has undergone a number of changes and developments over the years, particularly the decision to open the competition to anyone age 16 and over from anywhere in the world, but this year’s latest may be the biggest yet.

The Shot has continued to be Canada’s fastest growing platform for aspiring talent, but amid the rise of other singing competitions — both independent and televised, the show has had to adapt its format if it’s to keep up its success.

Last year’s installment of the hit competition saw producers allow, for the first time, video auditions to be submitted in order to open the opportunity to audition to a broader array of applicants.

The biggest upcoming change, producers say, is that Season 6 will have a greater emphasis on mentorship and the development of artists.  No longer will singers need to wait until the mid-way point of the program to find out which judge will mentor which group of hopefuls or to start the mentoring process.  The judges will be informed of which category they will mentor at the end of auditions, the announcement will be made at the start of the Callbacks and mentorship will begin immediately.  In addition, the judge/mentors will have autonomous control over how their groups develop and which acts advance to future stages of the competition in contrast to past seasons where advancements were decided by the judges collectively in closed door deliberations.



Producers also acknowledge that the perception of The Shot has been a challenge and that if there’s a comparison to be made with one of the many television concepts, it isn’t with shows like The VoiceAmerican IdolThe X-Factor or even CTV and Scott Borchetta’s new platform The Launch.  Instead, Season 6 of The Shot will have more of a Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank feel to it.

Auditionees for Season 6 will find their auditions to be more oriented toward having the judges get to know contestants, asking more questions and diving deeper into an artist’s journey and where they are or see themselves going in their music career.  Similar to the business pitch competition shows, participants in the auditions phase will be pitching their product: their personality and their talent.  While the vocal performance will still be the ultimate determinate for advancing to the next round, how a candidate responds to questions will also play a part in the final decision.

“It’s called the music business for a reason,” says executive producer C.J. Allen, “and everyone knows it’s not easy.  It’s arguably the hardest business to get into; to be a break-out artist, to get people to pay attention to you — whether your goal is to get signed to a label or go DIY, you need to be able to express to people … a label, a manager, an agent, even your fans or potential fans … what sets you apart and makes you different from everyone else.  It’s an incredibly important skill to have: one that I think many artists struggle with and so for many of the performers that come in to audition, it’s going to be a challenge but one that they’ll learn from and be all the better for when they’re actually in a real deal situation.”

The change to the concept is also set to create a balance between the art and the business.  While the judges won’t be dishing out multi-million dollar investments, they will be using their experiences and expertise to help finalists prepare for that possibility.  The Boot Camp weekend, for example, which has been traditionally used to set a series of challenges and tasks for participants, will be dedicated to preparing the artists for the brand new Showcase event where the finalists will have the opportunity to perform for an audience of music industry professionals including label representatives, agencies and producers who have been invited by the judges.



The new Showcase event also adds a new twist to what used to be the “Finale”: no longer will the judges deliberate to determine a ‘Top 4’ selection of finalists followed by an audience and online vote for a winner; instead, online voting will open immediately following the Boot Camp and will stay open for two weeks in order for a ‘People’s Choice Artist’ to be chosen and announced at the Showcase.  The judges will also choose a ‘Judges’ Choice’ award recipient and all finalists will receive a token of recognition for their success.  The ‘People’s Choice Artist’ recipient will also receive a VIP pass to Canadian Music Week 2019 which includes access to networking events, keynotes and workshops at the annual week-long conference.

The Showcase will culminate with a post-show event that will offer artists the chance to be introduced and personally meet-and-greet industry insiders and explore the possibility for future collaborations.

“This is the sort of platform artists have been looking for,” said Allen, “a genuine ‘kick at the can’ that doesn’t promote itself as ‘discover[ing] music’s next wave of superstars.’  It’s not that simple.  Artists need a dedicated team, a community around them to achieve success and that doesn’t come from a show that only works to serve its own interests.  The Shot is unique, nothing like this has ever been done before; it’s about opening doors and creating opportunities for everyone in the business: the artists primarily but we’re also an awesome, free scouting vehicle for the labels, for the agencies, for producers looking for exciting new acts … we do the work of scouting, finding and to a small extent prepping the talent during the month we have to work with them, but the endless possibilities and opportunities are in the hands of the artist and the business.”

Hopefuls looking to take their ‘shot’ can submit video auditions now or apply to perform for the judges at the Live Auditions on September 8th, 2018.



Where Are They Now? Season 5’s David Boyd Janes

David Boyd Janes is on a mission: to bring country music to Toronto.  As City Boy Country, David’s energy and enthusiasm for his music was evident the moment he walked into the audition room and carried him into the finals of Season 5.  Having just returned from recording in Nashville, we asked David about his experience with The Shot and what’s next for this passionate performer:

What was your favourite part of The Shot?  What did you take from doing it?  How did The Shot help you grow as an artist?

“This one is almost impossible to answer as I have so many favourites!  I will try to keep this reasonably short.  I love how personal the whole experience was!  From the first day of auditions, the judges offered a meet and greet at the end of the day!  Season 2 champion James Downham even showed up to greet us. As an aspiring country artist, I was so thrilled to meet him. The show really helped reignite my passion for music and encouraged me to get back out there and pursue my dreams and passion.”

How was The Shot different from any of your other experiences with performing or doing other competitions?

“I really appreciate that The Shot legitimately gives everyone a Shot!  Regardless of age, style, or genre of music, everyone got their ‘Shot’. I personally connected with the whole cast and crew.  It felt more like “artist development” then a competition to be honest. It wasn’t about winning or losing, it was about learning and growing!  Best group of people.”

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about auditioning for Season 6?

“This is simple.  DO IT!  Do it now!  The Shot changed my life and launched my music career into outer space!  No one is going to do the work for you. YOU need to put the time and effort into it. The Shot is a platform to help launch your career and get you the exposure needed to get the ball rolling.  The Shot was EXACTLY what I needed. It gave me the chance to get back out on that stage, find my purpose, my passion and reignite my drive to make music my full time job!  The entire crew, behind and in front of the cameras, was incredibly supportive and became more like
family as we got closer to the top 10 finale.”

What have you been doing since The Shot?

“So much!  I haven’t stopped since I left the stage.  During my intro video I said “I would walk away from everything I had today to start making music my full time job”  I did exactly that!  Funny enough, my first song in the top 10 finale was “Walking in Memphis” by Lonestar.  Now, I’m just days away from Walking in Memphis for real!  C.J. Allen (Judge) and Rick Barker (Founder of Music Industry Blueprint, formerly manager of Taylor Swift), gave me the best advice!  “Hire a band and treat this like a business”.  That’s exact what I did!  After a meeting with C.J. a few days after the finale, I went home and began my search.

3 months later I’m so proud to say I’ve put together and hired a 7 piece county band.  I’ve written 15+ original songs, and 7 of them are being recorded down in Nashville at Blackbird Studio early February.  Our single will be released to radio early April and we have our eyes locked on doing a showcase at this years CMW (Canadian Music Week) held in Toronto.”

Where can people find you or hear your music online?

Our Instagram is updated daily and can be found at: @cityboycountryband
Our website is: www.cityboycountry.com
Our Twitter is: @1cityboycountry

In-Person Audition Tips from Judge C.J. Allen

Singing auditions, especially in front of judges who are critiquing your performance, can be a harrowing and nerve wracking experience.  Despite the butterflies and uncertainties, The Shot tries to make auditions as much of a pleasant opportunity for contestants by promising constructive criticism and feedback no matter what the result.  For those preparing for their audition or perhaps for those still thinking about auditioning for Season 6, coach and judge C.J. Allen – the veteran judge on the panel – offers these tidbits of advice and things to keep in mind as a contestant is on their way into the audition room:

  1. Be prepared!  This point would seem incredibly obvious but make sure you understand what’s expected of you: read the rules and know the process, have two songs picked and rehearsed, show up early and be prepared to sing straight away.
  2. Know the show.  There’s no excuse for not being familiar with the show you’re auditioning for.  Know that if you pass your audition, you’re expected to come to the Callbacks the next day.  Know that if you pass the Callbacks, you’re expected to come to Boot Camp the following weekend.  Research the coaches: understand their strengths, skills and if asked, who you’d like to work with as your mentor.
  3. Always give yourself plenty of time to learn your songs.  Rehearse in front of friends or family and ask for their feedback.  Record yourself rehearsing and watch it back.  You can learn an awful lot about yourself as an artist and as a performer from just watching a recording of yourself performing.  Not everyone likes to watch themselves but trust me, it’s an amazing tool to help you grow!  Don’t come into your audition and act is if you’re surprised that you’re being asked to sing.  You should have picked your songs and have practiced them long in advance so choosing, or acting as if you’re choosing, the song on the spot is a big no, no.  You should rehearse your songs until you can sing them in your sleep.
  4. When you’re up there and performing, whether it be in an audition or sometime further along in the process, if you make a mistake while singing … do not stop!  Just keep going!  Don’t let your body language or face reveal the fact that you’ve made a mistake.
  5. Come in to the audition room with confidence!  First impressions are key.  Be confident even if you’re terrified.
  6. Don’t apologize for your singing or performance!  Not for any reason.  Make no excuses.  Always be professional.
  7. Dress for an audition in a smart/casual but professional way that shows who you are.  An audition is like a job interview.  That doesn’t mean going to the extreme of wearing a three piece suit or evening dress (unless that’s part of who you are as a performer) but also don’t come in in a hoodie with the hood up over your head and hat covering your face.  We want to see unique but we’re also looking for someone who is going to represent The Shot and us judges.  If you want to see and hear more about dressing in a way that represents who you are as an artist, watch David Boyd Jane’s audition video.  We gave him a hard time about his cowboy hat.  That said, you can also watch David’s audition if you’re looking for a great example of #5 in this list.
  8. Be friendly but don’t be overly talkative.  Smile and be personable.
  9. Move!  Don’t feel as though because the mic is on the mic stand or because the mic stand is in a certain place on the stage that you can’t take the mic off, move the stand out of the way and make use of the space.
  10. This may also seem obvious, but when you are coming in to audition, know that we are looking for something particular.  While we don’t make it clear what exact type of voice it is that we’re looking for (oftentimes because you may not know until we hear it), you may be told that you are phenomenal but still not “right” for the show.  As you prepare yourself for your auditions, make sure you remember how amazing you are.  The fact that you’d put yourself out there to be “judged” is huge!  Be proud of yourself for doing that and remember that you are the only thing standing between you and your dreams.  You have it within you to be great, so let’s see it!

C.J. Allen is the President and Managing Director of Music & Artist Development Experience (MADE) and is a former manager, tour manager and concert promoter.

Where Are They Now? Season 4’s Trevor Dubois

Trevor Dubois, who goes by the stage moniker of ‘Charlie The Kid’, got one of the big, loudest and most well-deserved standing ovations from the judges and his fellow contestants at the Season 4 Callbacks back in November 2016.  To look at him, you’d think Charlie was just another hipster with a guitar but that isn’t the case at all.  His original song … ‘Song About a Cup’ got laughs, “awes” and received wide praise from the panel.

The performance earned Charlie a spot in the Finale and notoriety as one the most talented, charming and engaging contestants that The Shot has had in its previous five seasons.  Here’s what Charlie has to say about his experience and where he is now:


What was your favourite part of The Shot?  What did you take from doing it?  How did The Shot help you grow as an artist?

“Favorite part of The Shot for me was getting to mingle/learn from/and interact with the other contestants, volunteers and mentors.  As a musician there are so many ways to go about what you’re doing and everyone has their own style and ideas. Learning from everyone was great, and the mentors really helped to shed light on what I was doing wrong, and what I was doing right.  Get some perspective.  I love perspective.”


How was The Shot different from any of your other experiences with performing or doing other competitions?

“[The] two things that stood out to me were that the judges/mentors seemed to genuinely care about us as singers, performers, people, and even friends.  They worked with me after hours during The Shot, and I have continued to get help from them from time to time.  [The second thing] was the attitude of all the contestants: everyone seemed to want everyone else to succeed. No BS, we were all happy for each other’s success, giving each other tips, wanting the best for everyone. Really didn’t feel like a ‘competition’ at most points. I have made many friends in this experience.”


What advice would you give someone who is thinking about auditioning for Season 6?

“Be yourself, take risks, be kind to everyone you meet, and work harder than everyone you know.”


What have you been doing since The Shot?

“I used to bus tables.  Then I made it onto The Shot.  Now I’m playing music for a living.  Coincidence?”


Where can people find you or hear your music online?

“I am performing under the name Charlie the Kid, so online at charliethekid.com, or live at one of many performances happening around the GTA and Ontario, which can be found on the website!”

Teresa Nocita-Cirillo Elevated to Resident Vocal Director

Producers are excited to announce the appointment of Teresa Nocita-Cirillo to the role of Resident Vocal Director for Season 6 of The Shot in September.  Teresa first joined The Shot in Season 5 as a guest judge for the Boot Camp.  In her role as Resident Vocal Director, Teresa will work hands-on with contestants as they move through the process and will provide vocal coaching and mentorship for performances.

“We’re very fortunate to have Teresa joining the team for Season 6,” said executive producer C.J. Allen, “Teresa’s wealth of knowledge, experience and training is going to be a huge help to the contestants in September and adding Teresa’s expertise really enhances the opportunity for growth for the singers we work with.”

Since the 1990’s, Teresa Cirillo has provided professional vocal instruction to developing artists and performers throughout Canada. Teresa studied Voice Technique and Musicianship at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and has studied under several notable Canadian vocal coaches.

An accomplished musician, Teresa has performed professionally throughout North America and Europe. She has performed in a band since the age of 13 and now performs across Ontario as the lead vocalist for the funk/soul band, The Chasers.

Recently, Teresa has toured Canada and the U.S. coaching developing artists, sitting on panels alongside Grammy Award-Winning producers and large label management, and producing vocals for many emerging artists. Teresa has just begun writing a book on her own, highly-requested vocal technique, “The Vocal Compass.”

In addition to being a well-respected performer and vocal coach, Teresa is a successful entrepreneur. As the owner of her own music school, Studio E Music and Arts, Teresa continues to cultivate a new generation of musicians, artists, and instructors in her hometown of Hamilton, Ontario

Micah Barnes Joins Panel for Season 6

Producers of The Shot are thrilled to announce the addition of Juno-nominated jazz singer-songwriter and vocal coach Micah Barnes to the Season 6 judging panel in September 2018.  Micah will sit alongside returning judges Jessie T, Danya Dixon, Juneyt Yetkiner and C.J. Allen.

A former member of the a cappella group The Nylons, Micah has toured the world as both as a solo artist and with bands that also included Loud Boy Radio.  Working together with producer Brad Daymond (N’Sync), Micah released the Loud Boy Radio album and received critical acclaim and the attention of Rolling Stone Magazine.

Returning to the jazz oriented songwriting of his earlier years has resulted in a series of critically acclaimed solo recordings including his most recent “New York Stories” (eOne Music) which saw Micah returning to tour across Canada solo and with his trio. Micah’s “New York Stories” pays homage to the rich musical history of the Big Apple with songs that describe a long distance romance using the rhythms of the Cotton Club, the Brill Building, The Apollo Theatre and classic Broadway.  The first single “New York Story” shot to the top of the Jazz charts in both Canada and the USA and resulted in Micah being named the Toronto Indie Awards best Jazz Act of 2014.

Micah is also a highly respected vocal coach who has coached on CBC TV’s “How To Solve A Problem Like Maria”  and counts Emmy award-winning actress Tatiana Maslany  (“Orphan Black”) among his clients.

“Adding Micah to the panel is going to add a whole new level of insight, skill, talent and experience to our already great group of judge-coaches,” executive producer C.J. Allen said of the addition of Micah to the dais, “Micah came in to work with our contestants in Season 5 and everyone fell in love with him.  The chance for our contestants to work with Micah is an awesome and exciting opportunity.”

Video audition submissions and in-person, live audition registration for Season 6 are now open at www.musicexperiences.org/theshot/.


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