A Mount Uniacke musician is competing for a $20,000 grand prize that would help launch his career to the next level.
TJ King, 23, is one of six finalists in the Casino Nova Scotia Artist in Residence program.
“Through the Artist in Residence program, Casino Nova Scotia is giving the selected candidate a life-changing opportunity that will nurture their artistry and help them develop the necessary business skills needed to survive in an industry that is competitive and always changing,” said Scott Long, Executive Director of Music Nova Scotia, in a press release.
King, who formed a band four years ago, released an EP with six original songs last summer. Originally inspired to pick up a guitar by his father, King intends to find a way to share his music with much larger audiences now that he’s found his own sound.
He’s getting ready to release his first full-length album, featuring what he describes as “inventive country rock,” in September.
“Right now we’re in the middle of polishing up a really hot single that we’re going to release across Canada,” said King.
“We’re planning to basically blow the doors off of country radio.”
Known locally for his energy on stage, King threw his hat in the ring for the Casino Nova Scotia contest knowing support from the corporation would give him the added exposure he needs to develop a fan base outside of Nova Scotia.
“Money and backing is a huge thing for a striving artist,” he said.
If awarded the grand prize for the contest, King intends to use the money to pay for the making of his album, the release of his top single and the production of a video.
“It will directly fund the next 12 months of my career,” said King, who also works full-time as a carpenter.
King will join the other finalists — Ambition (hip-hop, Halifax), Jessie Brown and The Black Divine (rock, Halifax), Kim Harris (pop/folk, Halifax), Pretty Archie (Country-bluegrass, Cape Breton) and The Brood (experimental, Halifax) — at Casino Nova Scotia’s Harbourfront Lounge in Halifax June 6 for a showcase. The concert is free of charge.
An online voting campaign that will be considered when the winner is selected from the six finalists will run through to June 6. Votes can be cast at http://musicnovascotia.ca/CNSAiRvoting.