Stepping into the searchlight

After a life surrounded by music and 21 years of playing it himself, Adam MakBain decided it was time to enter his first competition. The CBC Searchlight competition is a singer/songwriter contest searching out Canadian talent across the country.

He grew up in a musical home, watching his dad play music all his life and eventually picked up the guitar himself.  MakBain has been writing songs for two decades. ”I’d say it was Nirvana that really inspired me, the music of Kurt Cobain,” he said.

The contest sees Canada divided up into 24 regions with mainland Nova Scotia being one. The first stage of the competition is the regional semi finals, from there it goes to the regional finals which is the top three, then the national semi finals and the national finals before the winner is declared.

“This is the first time I’ve ever done (a competition,)” MakBain said.

”For this, it was a lot different; being a songwriters contest I thought it was interesting.”

He noted that he has never really had an interest in entering singing competitions like Canadian Idol but the premise of a songwriters contest encouraging original works interested him enough to apply.

“Just in the last few weeks I’ve written about a dozen new songs and I also had a pile of songs I was recording for a new album,” MakBain said about choosing his song. “I just picked it out, it really stood out.”

The song that MakBain entered in the contest is called Heart That’s on a Sleeve.

With the contest run by public voting and then voting from a panel of judges as well MakBain is hoping that people will connect to his song and send him through to the next round. He mentioned that the public is about to vote every day for the song they like the most. Voting for the contest began on February 14 and will continue until February 27.

“The writing is honest, it’s pure, it’s something real and I think writing really lacks that these days,” he said.

MakBain credits his friend and manager Charlene Pentz with pushing him to enter the contest and helping him with the video. A technical error on the competition’s website nearly caused MakBain to miss the deadline to submit songs, but Pentz was able to get his submission in with little time to spare.

“This is my first video I’ve ever shot,” he said. During the process he had to learn how to shoot a video and use all of the editing software as well.

For anyone looking to vote for MakBain in the competition you can find links on his facebook page by searching his name or go to http://www.cbcmusic.ca/searchlight/entries/1/0/0/30/Adam%20makbain.


Pictou County resident Adam MakBain hopes that his song Heart thats on a Sleeve will bring him to the national finals of the CBC Searchlight songwriting competition. Voting for the competition is public based so MakBain hopes that the county will help support him as well. (Submitted photo)

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Heather Brimicombe
Heather Brimicombe is a Pictou County native and graduate from the University of King's College in Halifax with a Bachelor of Journalism Honours degree as well as a combined major in Sustainability. She has previously won a Canadian Communities Newspapers award for a multimedia feature and was part of a team nominated for a Canadian Association of Journalism data award in the investigative category. Photography, art, sports and outdoor activities are all hobbies of hers as well as crafting, and baking.