When an up and coming Okotoks singer/songwriter enters the stage at a popular Calgary dance hall tomorrow, she’ll be crossing her fingers that the third time’s the charm.
Twenty-two-year-old Michela Sheedy is making a third attempt competing in the Country 105 Rising Star Talent Search at Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall on Calgary’s Macleod Trail after reaching the semi-finals the past two years.
Sheedy gained semi-final status again this year on Feb. 24. She plans to step on the stage for the finals `March 15 at 8 p.m. with a new trick up her sleeve.
“Instead of going with what I think the judges want, I’m going to go with what I believe is my best work,” she said. “Instead of trying to fit into a mold, I’m going to really show them who I am, show them my personality and what I have to offer as a musician.”
In last month’s semi-finals, Sheedy was among 20 musicians selected from approximately 100 to compete in the finals throughout March.
“It’s something I think about all year,” she said of the talent search. “I gather songs and I think about what’s the best strategy to attack this competition and hopefully come out on top.”
Sheedy is counting on two originals and one cover to do the trick this time around.
The originals include a song she wrote a couple years ago called After Midnight and another she co-wrote last year with Calgary singer/songwriters Chard Morrison and Scott MacKay. As for the cover, she’s keeping that one under wraps.
“I’ve performed these songs at other competitions and performances and the audience reaction has been really positive,” she said. “Plus, they’re songs that mean something to me and I hope that can translate to the audience as well.”
Sheedy is preparing to release the single I Make Bad Look Good this spring.
“It’s all about self-empowerment and it doesn’t matter what anybody has to say about you, what really matters is how you view yourself and if you feel good about yourself,” she said. “That’s all that should really matter to other people as well. It’s a song musically and lyrically that I believe is some of my best work.”
Sheedy is not new to the talent-search scene. She competed in the Stampede Talent Search for four years, placed in the top 10 finalists in the Ponoka Stampede Talent Show in 2014 and was a finalist in the Nashville North Star competition in 2015 and 2016. Last summer, she performed at the legendary Calgary Stampede Coca-Cola Stage, Country Thunder and Big Valley Jamboree.
In Okotoks, Sheedy began sharing her vocal talent in school talent shows since picking up a guitar at age 12 and posted herself on YouTube as a teen.
When she has some free time from her studies in public relations at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Sheedy is making a name for herself as a musician in southern Alberta.
Despite the wide range of talent surrounding Sheedy in the big city, it’s her voice that sets her apart.
And it’s gained plenty of attention.
In her first year in the Rising Star Talent Search, Sheedy was selected as runner up and in the second year made the final six despite suffering from a cold, giving her the honour of performing at the Country 105 Country Thunder Music Festival in Calgary last summer.
“I’m going to keep trying until they’re sick of me,” she said of the competition. “I feel very confident.”
Sheedy is well aware of what she’s up against.
“They have videos of every performance online and everybody is super talented so it’s going to be tough,” she said. “It’s anybody’s game at this point.”
With the semi-finals tomorrow, Sheedy is upping the ante to be at her best when it’s time to step on the stage.
“I’m getting lots of rest, lots of practising,” she said. “I’ve got my band together and we’ve been rehearsing really hard trying to be in tip-top shape to impress the judges.”
The winner of the talent search will receive the opportunity to perform on the main stage at Country Thunder this summer and at Ranchman’s events, as well as a day recording at MCC Recording Studio, flights, accommodations and two delegate passes to the CCMA Awards in Hamilton, and a $1,500 shopping spree at Lammle’s and the potential to be endorsed by Lammle’s for a year. The winner of the Best Original Song will win $1,005.