Tag: C.J. Allen

MADE Launches Variety Talent Competition

MADE and the producers behind The Shot have announced the launch of Eye4Talent — a variety talent competition open to acts of all ages.

Eye4Talent is bringing the variety talent competition format back to Canada by showcasing unique performers from all across our country. The series is set to be a true celebration of creativity and talent, open to and featuring singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, acrobats, impressionists, magicians, ventriloquists, choirs, animal acts and the best that technological entertainment has to offer along with an array of other hopeful stars, all vying for a dream package that could launch the career of Canada’s next big star,” MADE said in its announcement.

The first season of the show, which is meant to be a sister platform to The Shot, will take place in March and April 2019.  Unlike The Shot, which limits the participants’ minimum age requirement at 16 years old, Eye4Talent will be open to acts of any age and will go beyond just singers and vocals.  Talents of any sort and kind are encouraged to apply — even those that might be outside the norm of traditional performances; for example, producers are hoping to find new forms of technological entertainment that will “wow” audiences.

“It’s time we did something like [Eye4Talent],” said C.J. Allen, managing director of MADE and executive producer and judge for The Shot, “it’s what Canadian talent needs and there’s an enormous gap in the market.  It’s been years since Canada has had a prominent talent discovery platform open to variety acts of any kind.”

Canada’s Got Talent, the Canadian spin-off of the international Got Talent franchise, was cancelled by CityTV in 2012.  Eye4Talent aims to fill the void that was left behind even though it won’t be televised.

“We continue to believe that we can best serve the interests of the artists and the talent by an experience not hindered by the rules of television,” said Allen, “our mandate is to create experiences for our participants and to get them in front of new audiences and Eye4Talent is going to do that in some very exciting ways.  I can’t wait for us to get going with it and to see what sorts of unique, undiscovered talent is out there waiting for us.”

In the coming weeks, Allen says, Eye4Talent will announce the judging panel or “The Eyes” who will carry the show next year.  The judges will preside over the first three rounds of the competition before turning the responsibility of choosing a winner over to the audience at the Finale.  Also unlike The ShotEye4Talent will offer a cash prize and the opportunity for the winning act to perform a headline show at a prominent Canadian entertainment venue.

Do you think you have what it takes to be seen by the judges?  Acts are encouraged to submit an audition video at www.musicexperiences.org/eye4talent/ showcasing the best of their performance.  Those selected to advance will be invited to the Stage Auditions with the judges and a live audience in March 2019.

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.

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