Calgary radio station Country105 is looking for the next country music star, and Golden local Travis Pickering hopes it will be him.
The radio station opened a contest on July 17, which ran until July 25 at midnight, inviting people to vote on their favourite country artist from the submissions. One of the top six finalists is chosen by popular vote, and another five are chosen by a panel of judges. The first round of winners are announced on July 25.
The six performers will then take the stage at the historic King Eddy in Calgary on July 30, and a panel of judges will then choose a final three artists to go on to the next round.
The finals take place on August 7, only 10 days before Country Thunder Alberta, a popular country music festival in Calgary.
The winner of the finals will have their chance to play at the festival with artists like Tim McGraw, Terri Clark, Travis Tritt, Steve Earle, Lonestar, and more.
“If I could get on stage with some of these amazing acts, then it’s all good,” Pickering said.
Pickering is a bit wary of contests like these, and had seen the link online a few times before he considered trying it out. Since the contest isn’t solely based by popular vote, he thought he might have a chance at getting up on the big stage.
“I gave it a shot, checked my e-mail, and saw that my video was in there,” he said. “I try to take a shot at everything I can.”
Sometimes, contests that are won by votes are more of a popularity contest, and not a true indication of talent, he added. Coming from a small town, it can be difficult to rally up the votes, but since this contest is also being judged, he thought it was worth it.
Another reason Pickering decided to enter the contest was to promote himself on a different platform.
“It’s just mostly getting your name out there,” he said. “It’s nice to see how you stack up… It’s still being posted on a site that gets a lot of attention.”
He has been playing music for more than a decade, writes his own music, plays solo, covers songs, and plays in a band with his father and others.
If Pickering moves on to the next round, he hopes to perform some originals that will impress the judges.
“I think they’re very competitive and very marketable,” he said.
By the end of August, Pickering and his family will be moving to Calgary to live full time, and he hopes it will help boost his music career.
“Calgary is kind of the hub for me for country music,” he said.
In the mean time, he is working with a producer out of Nashville, Tenn., U.S., to work on his music.
The two places go hand in hand as the country music capitals of Canada and the U.S.
Pickering will find out if he has been chosen to move on to the next round of competitions out of 28 contestants on Thursday, July 25.
Find out more about the competition and other artists that are vying for Country Thunder stardom by visiting. www.country105.com/ctstarvote.