P.A. high schooler takes home singer-songwriter prize at Search for the Stars

Photo L to R: Savannah Schmidt (Most Improved), Rebecca Strong (Senior Star), Tori Korczak (Intermediate Star), The Shooting Stars (Junior Stars) pose with their trophies at Search for the Stars. (Submitted photo)

A young Prince Albert artist took home the singer-songwriter prize at this year’s unique Search for the Stars show that had to be altered due to the pandemic.

Relan Meeks, who won the award, wrote a fitting original song for the show.

“It’s a little bit about being in a bit of a darker place with yourself and trying to get out of it,” Meek described her original song, which is titled ‘Self’.

The song’s theme is centred around the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the beginning and chorus of Meeks’ song she sings about being stuck in a place and needing help getting out. Near the end of her song, she sings about being strong enough to overcome those challenges.

Meeks is 17 years old and will be starting university in the fall. She estimates this is her sixth time performing and competing at Search for the Stars.

This is her second time writing an original song for the competition and her first time winning the category.

“It was super exciting and a bit overwhelming just knowing that I won,” Meeks explained. 

Meeks was presented with a $1,000 recording note to Reservoir Recording where she’ll be able to record a demo of her original song. 

“I’m super excited to be able to go in and work with some people who are very talented in the recording business,” Meeks said.

She added that she’s hoping to release Self on Apple Music and Spotify once it’s recorded so her family and friends can listen to it.

Meeks has been singing since she was 7 years old and playing the piano since she was about 10 years old. She said she would sing all the time when she was younger and a daycare worker took notice and told Meeks’ mother to put her in singing lessons.

“I feel in love with it, just absolutely fell in love with singing and performing,” Meeks said.

Relan Meeks will be recording her original song titled ‘Self’ at Reservoir Recording after winning a $1,000 credit. (Submitted photo)

Search for the Stars kicked off last weekend with the final show happening last Sunday night.

There was no audience at the event. Only performers and judges were present at the E.A. Rawlinson. 

Spokesperson Cara Stelmaschuk said that 127 tickets were sold for the live stream. She added even without a live audience, award winners, judges and other staff still need to be paid so she was happy they were able to sell tickets.

Stelmaschuk added Canadian Tire was a huge help in sponsoring the event. 

Search for the Stars was split up into several categories, all taking home prizes. 

The Shooting Stars band took home the Junior Star (ages 8 to 10), Tori Korczak won the Intermediate Star (ages 11 to 14), Rebecca Strong won the Senior Star (ages 8 to 15), and Savannah Schmidt was the Most Improved Star (any age group).

In addition to performing for judges and the live stream, contestants also got to participate in workshops run by the judges.

Judges Derek Melchert and Paul Lomheim were at the event in-person, whereas Lindsay “Eekwool” Knight had to provide feedback and judge over Zoom while she isolated at home.

Melchert is a musician who has performed for many bands including Terri Clark, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Randy Bachman. Melchert started playing professionally when he was 14-years-old. He’s also toured with bands including TwoMuch and Marshall Law at clubs, festivals and concerts.

Lomheim is a self-taught musician who has played guitar for many events including the Western Canadian Premiers Conference of Canada. He also produced the Saskatchewan Summer Games Opening and Closing ceremonies. Lomheim was inducted into the Prince Albert Arts Hall of Fame in 2018.

Knight is an award-winning performing artist who hails from Muskoday First Nation. Good Kill, her fifth album was released in 2017 and her single Pitiful feat. 2oolman claimed the #1 spot on the Aboriginal Music Countdown.

With her original song, Meeks told the Herald that the judges helped with the writing process and her stage presence.