We caught up with K-Days Talent Search contestant Hailey Benedict to see how things are going for the talented musician who competed in 2017.
Alberta is full of people who are bursting with talent—both hidden and cultivated. The K-Days Talent Search is devoted to providing a platform for these skilled individuals and aims to give gifted entertainers a chance to earn the public attention they deserve.
For over 25 years, the K-Days Talent Search (KDTS) has been a place where singers, dancers, pianists, jugglers, and more come together to showcase their passion, learn from industry professionals, and connect with others.
Q & A
Q: Since you competed in K-Days Talent Search (KDTS), what have you been up to?
Hailey Benedict: Since winning the 2017 K-Days Youth Talent Search, I have continued keeping busy writing, performing and making music more than ever!
I have received some amazing opportunities to perform at numerous large-scale festivals and venues such as Big Valley Jamboree, the Alberta Country Music Awards, the CFR, Winspear Centre and the Jack Singer Concert Hall. I also was fortunate to return to K-Days to perform on both the Tim Hortons main stage (where I opened for the Canadian country band Doc Walker) and last summer returned as part of the Alberta Music Showcase! My music has also enabled me to travel outside of the province; I performed at two non-sanctioned events for the Canadian Country Music Awards in Hamilton Ontario, and recently traveled to Nashville, Tennessee where I performed at the infamous Bluebird Cafe. I was also honoured to receive my first ever Edmonton Music Award for Rising Star in 2019 and most recently was named the Horizon Youth Artist of the Year at the 2019 Alberta Country Music Awards. Most recently, I began the exciting venture of releasing two new singles ‘Rise to Your Fall’ and ‘Next Time Around’ to Canadian country radio and experienced my first radio tour across Alberta.
Q: What did the KDTS experience mean to you? What did you learn?
Hailey: I first started competing in the K-Days Talent Search when I was just 10 years old! This competition quickly became one of the highlights of my summer each year. I loved watching and learning from all the performers and acts. There was always such diversity among the competitors and, as a young performer, I always felt inspired to learn and collaborate with the various artists. I am still close friends with many of the contestants to this day and we all have a special bond that connects back to K-Days.
I also always appreciated that after performances, artists received feedback and mentorship to help them grow and improve. Special skills such as this, along with skills that came from the interview process became valuable information that I have been able to carry forward in my professional career development.
Q: What is your favourite thing about K-Days?
Hailey: What isn’t there to love about K-Days? For any age there is something to do, see or experience. I loved the rides, the food and of course, the live music. It is a thrilling experience for any age and a place where you can come together and meet new people, as well as enjoy time with those closest to you.
Q: What is one thing you can’t live without?
Hailey: I definitely couldn’t live without my guitar. I play it almost every day and it is also my absolute favorite instrument to play on stage. Aside from piano, most of the songs I write are also primarily written with my guitar. I love how there is constantly something new you learn with an instrument.
Q:During COVID-19 have you picked up a new hobby, or found a favourite show on Netflix?
Hailey: I always wanted to learn how to skateboard, so with the extra time I have picked up penny boarding! I also started watching the Netflix show ‘Outer Banks’ and it’s been a good way to help pass some of the time during quarantine.
Q: During COVID-19 have you had to alter how you practice your talent?
Hailey: As performing artists and musicians, we rely heavily on live performances. Unfortunately, when COVID-19 hit, it had a dramatic impact on the music industry as a whole and like most artists, almost all of my previously scheduled shows and galas were cancelled. Although it is possible to do live streams and shows online, it is not the same as performing for a live audience. In practicing, I have used a lot of virtual programs such as Youtube, Zoom and Skype. The most positive outcome, however, is that I have been able to take the extra time away to song write more and connect with other songwriters and artists around the world. I am really looking forward to when I will be able to share all these new songs with a live audience again!
Q: What steps did you take (contests, bootcamps, joining associations, hiring managers, etc.) that you would recommend to others looking to become serious in their chosen talents? If you attended specific camps/lessons or are a part of associations, please state them for viewers reference.
Hailey: From a young age, I took lessons in guitar, piano and voice (pop, classical & musical theatre) at Visionary Centre for the Performing Arts and entered as many contests as I could to help gain experience working with people and performing on stages. I also attended various songwriting and performance-based workshops at the ACMA & CCMA Award weekends, which included sessions with international performance coach Tom Jackson, and NBC’s ‘The Voice’ vocal teacher, Tamara Beatty. I am also an active member of Alberta Music Association, along with the ACMA & CCMA and a registered songwriter through SOCAN. I continue to work with artists from various backgrounds and genres to continue to learn and grow as a professional artist and person.
Q: What would you recommend to aspiring artists/musicians/dancers who want to further their presence in the industry locally?
Hailey: One thing I would strongly recommend is getting involved in the community. Some of the best and most rewarding experiences and opportunities I’ve had in my career have been using my music to give back to others and I’m grateful for all them. Entering competitions, such as the K-Days Talent Search, can also be a huge exposure to showing your talents locally and beyond. Above all else, work hard, be humble and be passionate about your craft and dedicated to the things you love and collaborate with as many people as possible!
Q: Where can we find you next? (Live or virtually how can viewers support you?)
Hailey: I released a brand new single ‘Next Time Around’ which is now available on all streaming platforms and will be played on Siruis XM’s CBC Country Channel! Please feel free to reach out and connect, I’d love to hear from you all!
Looking back and catching up with past contestants gets us even more excited to see Alberta’s talent next year!
Be sure to check out K-Days.com for updates on the competition and how to apply.