Aug-05-2017 ~ Hailey Benedict: an unstoppable force
  • Hailey Benedict holds the 2017 trophy as winner of the youth category K-Days Talent Search.
    Hailey Benedict holds the 2017 trophy as winner of the youth category K-Days Talent Search.

A new K-Days Talent Show winner has been crowned – St. Albert country-pop singer Hailey Benedict, 14.

The win came as a surprise to Benedict who had participated in the talent competition three times previously, but struck out at finals.

Strumming a lone acoustic guitar, the singer-songwriter made her mark performing a mash-up of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Feeling Good adding her own individual twist.

“It was so amazing, even just to be performing with so many talented people, and to be recognized was pretty cool,” said Benedict.

The Paul Kane High School student performed in the youth category’s semi-finals with more than a dozen competitors. She beat out experienced faces such as pop singer Lia Cole, winner of the Canada 150 Songwriting Challenge.

Only four performers advanced to the finals: Benedict and three regional dancers.

“I didn’t think I’d win especially with three dancers. It was really hard to compare. Everyone had different styles. One was hip-hop. One was lyrical and the other was a duo. It was humbling to be with them and I feel any one of us could have won.”

Benedict receives a $2,000 cheque and bragging rights for a year.

Could life be any sweeter? Well, it just might.

Benedict is performing at Big Valley Jamboree this weekend and competing on the ATB Homegrown Talent Stage. If the plucky singer makes it to the Sunday finals, she has a chance to win a $3,500 recording package from the Edmonton-based Hands Up! Music. In addition she is given the opportunity to open for Sunday headliner Jason Aldean.

On the forefront of country music in St. Albert, Benedict has sung at the three-day country music festival since she was nine.

“I love the environment. It’s such a great time. It’s really important for an artist to be surrounded by all that music. It’s helped me find who I am as an artist and it’s good experience – the singing, the songwriting, the mentoring.”

Benedict will apply some of her earnings to attend Canadian Country Music Week held this year in Saskatoon from Sept. 7 to 10.

She is performing at two non-sanctioned events: the Diamonds in the Rough Show at the Radisson Hotel on Friday, Sept. 8 and the CCMA Windup Show also held at the Radisson on Sunday, Sept. 10.

But mostly, the young recording artist hopes to rub shoulders with Canada’s rising celebrities such as Dallas Smith, Brett Kissel, Jess Moskaluke and Madeline Merlo.

“It’s going to be super awesome. To be around all that great music, it’s going to be an experience I’ll never forget. And I want to be able to soak it all in and learn as much as possible. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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