Rising star Michela Sheedy continues to impress judges with her gritty voice. This time she gained accolades at a popular dance hall in Calgary.
After performing three numbers at the Country 105 Lammle’s Rising Star Talent Search semifinals at Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall on March 10, 20-year-old Sheedy received a standing ovation from one of her judges – the only ovation that night.
She beat out the evening’s other five performers and is moving on to the finals.
“My nerves were building a little bit because I wanted to do well,” she said. “Everybody was so talented. It’s so hard to be in competition because you are rooting for everybody as well.”
Sheedy is not new to the talent search scene. She competed in the Stampede Talent Search for four years, the Ponoka Stampede Talent Show two years ago and was among the top six contenders in the Nashville North Star at last summer’s Calgary Stampede.
“It puts me in a setting where I can be critiqued for my work,” she said. “I feel that’s really invaluable because I want to constantly improve what I’m doing. The relations I build are really important in this industry as well.”
Sheedy learned about the Rising Star Talent Search on Facebook, and auditioned last month.
“It’s a really big deal to me just because I’m getting to perform on a stage that I’ve always wanted to perform on,” she said. “My mom always talked about going to Ranchman’s when she was in university and I go there sometimes to watch my fellow artists perform. It was something I always wanted to do.”
Sheedy didn’t expect to hear if she was selected as one of 30 semifinalists until after the second round of auditions.
She was surprised to receive a call two days following her audition – even though many of the 75 singers to audition hadn’t performed yet.
Last week, the young woman wowed the judges with her renditions of Play Something Country by Brooks & Dunn, Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks and her own original l Forgot to Remember You, which she wrote with Okotoks country musician Tanya Ryan.
Sheedy was backed by Okotoks musicians Mike Sands and Jonathan Lagore on guitars, as well as a Calgary drummer Adam Casey and Lethbridge bass player Ray Banman.
Sheedy not only had support on stage, but in the audience as well.
“I had over 40 friends and family come out to support me,” she said. “It feels really good looking out to the crowd and seeing your mom and best friend dancing.”
Sheedy has been sharing her vocal talent with the community since performing in talent shows in elementary school.
She picked up a guitar at age 12 and three years later was posting herself on YouTube.
While busy studying public relations at Mount Royal University and working part-time in High River, Sheedy performs whenever she can at open mics in Longview, Okotoks and Calgary.
In the last year Sheedy began writing her own music with help from local musicians Ryan and Maddison Krebs, and plans to release an album in the near future.
“I’m working with as many people as I can to hopefully to put two minds together and make something awesome,” she said.
Sheedy said while the Okotoks and Calgary areas are filled with talented musicians, it’s her voice that sets her apart from others.
“It’s a little bit more grittier than what most females are doing, primarily in the industry,” she said. “I’m trying to put a bit of an edge to it. I tend to gravitate more towards songs that are done by male country artists. I feel like me putting a spin on them and making them a little bit more feminine sets me apart.”
Sheedy is set to compete against five other finalists, who will be selected during semifinal rounds the next four weeks, on April 13 at 7 p.m. at Ranchman’s.
The winner will receive various prizes including an opportunity to perform at the Country Thunder Music Festival in Calgary this summer and a free recording at the award-winning MCC Recording Studio in Calgary.