Desirée Dawson

CBC Searchlight Winner: Desirée Dawson

What: Soul, Folk

Where: White Rock, BC


CBC recently wrapped up its latest Searchlight Competition, in which they sought to uncover some of Canada’s best up-and-coming talent. When the dust settled, Vancouver indie-soul songstress Desirée Dawson emerged victorious, beating out upwards of 2,000 artists from all across Canada. She took home a significant prize, which included a $25,000 Canadian Musician Career Booster prize pack in addition to $20,000 in instruments from Yamaha Canada Music, a slot playing the 2016 CBC Music Festival, and more.

Born in Vancouver and raised in White Rock, BC, Dawson with ukulele strung over her shoulder, Desirée can lay claim to a number of successful singles that predate her Searchlight win. Her track “All In My Head” has racked up almost one million plays on Spotify, while another song, “Come Alive,” was released on Armin van Buuren’s Aramada Records imprint.

Dawson recently spent time in Jamaica, where she was writing songs for her upcoming debut EP.

Asked what inspired her to enter the Searchlight competition this year, Dawson said she felt it was the right time after sitting on the sidelines watching other contests pass her by.

“It felt like time to allow the music I create to be heard by more than just a few people here and there,” she says. “The contest gives so much in the way of exposure, as well as emotional and financial support to up-and-coming Canadian artists. It is just so amazing.”

Dawson would probably be first to acknowledge competition was fierce and, perhaps most importantly, diverse – much like the fabric of Canada itself.