CORNER BROOK — Emma Peckford has only recently given a thought to a music career, but now it has already taken flight.
The young Corner Brook singer’s rendition of Iron and Wine’s song “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” soared above the competition at the third annual Statoil NewFound Talent Contest.
The 15-year-old claimed top honours in the 19-and-under MusicNL contest staged at the Masonic Temple Theatre in St. John’s Tuesday evening, outshining a field of 16 aspiring musicians.
“They announced my name, and just like the cliché, my jaw literally dropped,” Peckford said Wednesday while still in St. John’s.
“It was completely crazy. I never expected that, but it was amazing.”
Although it appears she has grown confident in her singing ability over such a short time, she wasn’t sure this particular contest was most suitable for her. She was one of only four people to perform a cover song, but she did put her own twist to the tune. Peckford also played guitar during her performance.
“I was kind of nervous I wouldn’t do as well because I don’t write songs,” she said.
- Read more special articles:
- Amelia Curran, Ennis top MusicNL awards
- Musicians bring passion to CBC MusicNL songwriters' circle
- First MusicNL awards given out in Gander
- ‘Lacked originality and needed professional development’
It proved not to be a deterrent for the judges.
While winning the contest had not yet sunk in, she was already contemplating how the prizes could help propel her musical career.
She received a two-song demo production at a $2,500 value, a website domain for a year valued at $2,000, 50 complete retail-ready demo packages at a $550 value, a music video production valued at $500, a $150 gift certificate from Long and McQuade, a $150 gift certificate from Fred’s Records, and two MusicNL Week conference delegate passes and a one-year MusicNL student membership at a $250 value.
She will be working with Chris Kirby of Dipole Productions — along with Groove Den Studio and The Blue Room — on the demos, and she is already excited about the opportunity to produce songs with professional arrangement, recording and mixing.
“I’ve never done anything or worked with anybody this big before, so it will be a really cool experience,” Peckford said.
She expects to start on productions sometime in the new year, excited about creating a profile within the industry. She has only been singing for about a year and one-half, and it has been fairly small time to this point.
Peckford said she first stepped on stage at the Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival in Norris Point and has been a regular at the Mr. H Presents events around western Newfoundland.
She has opened for St. John’s-based rock band Rocket Rocket Ship and played at the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fundraiser.
“It just blossomed really quickly,” she said.
Performing in her first singing contest was nerve-racking for the teenager. She did have her experience of playing guitar in music festivals to fall on, but she said this was much different.
She will be performing at the MusicNL conference in Gander this weekend. She will be joined there by Justin Martin, the second-place winner, Joseph Coffin, who placed third, and Hannah Banana, the judge’s choice award recipient.