An Abbotsford singer is among 30 artists who were picked from more than 20,000 applications to appear on the second season of the CTV hit music series The Launch.
Ben Cottrill’s episode was aired on Feb. 27, showing him vying for a chance to record an original song under the mentorship of Vancouver legend Bryan Adams, Quebec pop star Marie Mai, and Scott Borchetta, the music industry icon who discovered Taylor Swift.
Each week, The Launch features five unsigned emerging artists who audition before a panel of music industry legends.
Two of the acts are selected to advance to the second stage of the competition, where they are given 48 hours to record their own versions of an original song, working with producers to adapt the song to suit their individual style.
They then perform that song in front of a live audience, and the mentors select a winner, whose song is released across the country immediately after the episode airs.
Cottrill, 21, released his second EP, Spice-Box – a collection of folk- and rock-tinged songs – last summer, and applied online for a spot on The Launch.
He said the process was “fairly rigorous,” with multiple videos and long-form questions required.
Cottrill said he had little to no expectations that he would be chosen for the show.
“I was in disbelief when they first contacted me in the summertime, which began a long process that I enjoyed every step of,” he said.
On the show, he auditioned for the panel with the songs Let It Go by James Bay and Mercy by Shawn Mendes.
He said the mentors had him try Mercy a second time with a slower pace, and they really enjoyed it.
Cottrill was not selected as one of the two for the final stage — the winner was Maddie Storvold of Edmonton – but he said the experience was a “brilliant foray into the mainstream music and media business.”
“Working with Bryan and Scott was simply a pleasure I would have never expected. You don’t imagine these kinds of connections being made, and to have them intentionally working with you to improve your performance and artistry is such an honour,” he said.
Cottrill said the show also provides contacts and opportunities that would otherwise be nearly unreachable.
“Even for those who are not chosen, the show truly does help ‘Launch’ an artist’s career into the next chapter of their journey,” he said.
Cottrill has many years of busking, touring and songwriting under his belt. His first break came with a spot in the Canada’s Walk of Fame Emerging Artists’ Program in 2015, when he was named among seven winners selected from 300 submissions.
He also earned a Fraser Valley Music Award nomination in 2017.
Locally, he has performed at venues that include the Jam in Jubilee concert series and Field House Brewing.
Cottrill plans to release his first full-length album in the spring/summer, followed by a cross-Canada tour with festival dates and bookings into the fall.