Last night (August 13), a crop of 17 fresh-faced young female musicians took to the stage at Mod Club to showcase their talent at Honey Jam's 20th anniversary showcase in Toronto.
From soaring pop ballads to soul to country to DJing, the annual showcase proved that Honey Jam has a knack for attracting diverse and multi-genre Canadian talent. The proof is in Honey Jam's ability to springboard the successes of Juno-award winning artists such as Nelly Furtado, Jully Black, Michie Mee and much more. With Honey Jam's 20-year record, expectations were high.
Standouts throughout the show included 16-year-old rapper Little T, who delivered a high-energy performance seemingly with ease. Trio Keys also stood out, and not just because they were dressed in all white crop tops and overalls; if it weren't for their age, one could mistake them for having grown up listening to '90s girl groups. Serena Rutledge and Elise Mariah's mature vocal range also made it hard to believe that they were both under 17, while Melissa Megan's country indie performance earned her the top prize of being able to perform in Barbados and represent Honey Jam. Dynasti Williams delivered a performance that was bold and unapologetic, complete with choreography, and Charmie Deller's soulful on guitar stole the hearts of many in the crowd.
The heart-warming camaraderie between each act is worth a mention, too. After each performance, the singers joined the crowd and were greeted with warm hugs not only from fans, friends and family, but also each other. The Honey Jam sisterhood was clear. "Once you perform at Honey Jam, it's a lifetime type of sorority" Ebonnie Rowe told NOW Magazine. "We pass along opportunities that come up, and we always promote what the musicians are doing."
Former MuchMusic VJ Sarah Taylor hosted the showcase. Spotted in the audience was legendary Director Little X, as well as a few Honey Jam alumnae.
Following the last intermission, an emotional Rowe stepped on stage to thank the many volunteers involved in the making of showcase. Rowe shared some of the struggles she encountered while fighting to keep the Honey Jam non-profit going.
"Sometimes it's rough. You feel like sometimes it's a thankless job and people don't appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that you put in," said a tearful Rowe to the attentive crowd. The crowd responded with gleeful applause, in support of a show that was nothing short of sweet.