Don’t Miss Future Folk Sensations – Or The Chance To Be One
Each year the Winnipeg Folk Festival presents the STINGRAY Young Performers Program during the Festival weekend showcasing young talent from across Canada.
The program hosts upwards of 30 multi-talented youth musicians aged 14-24. Participants spend a day in sessions with mentors chosen from the Festival’s lineup, crafting and perfecting their songs and a second day performing on stage in front of a Folk Fest audience.
Countless talented artists have graced the Young Performers stage since its beginning in 2000 and many have gone on to perform as part of our Festival lineup and even on our Main Stage; artists such as Brandy Zdan, Cara Luft, Crooked Brothers, Daniel Champagne, Del Barber, Richard Inman and Sweet Alibi.
Cassie and Maggie
2022 STINGRAY Young Performers
Alèxa is a 17 year old French-Canadian artist from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Previously appearing in the Young Performers program in 2019 with the band Mes Jolies, Alèxa is now beginning her career as a solo artist. Her music has a folk/pop feel reflecting her love for artists such as Hozier, Lord Huron and The Lumineers. Her voice and music are often compared to singer songwriter Sara Bareilles. With her first performances as young as 12 years old, she brings a lively and welcoming feel along with her to the stage.
Amélie Tétrault is a Franco-Métis singer-songwriter. Her style is steeped in alternative pop beguiled by his lyrical poetry.
Having always found her place on a stage, Amélie began her composition process at the age of 12. She performs for the first time a written piece as part of the 2018 Chicane Electrique. She continues to make her place in the musical world, particularly during her presence at Jamais trop tôt 2021, the youth component of the Festival international de la chanson de Granby as an interpreter. Be lulled by the reverie that began while listening to Amélie Tétrault.
Toronto-based folk band, Basset, will take you from a beekeeper's fields to the haunted basement of a second-hand store, in a style all their own. Basset bring a deep love of the natural world to their gorgeously meditative debut album, In The Clay, set to release in Fall 2022.
In 2021 Basset performed at Boston-based Club Passim's virtual Campfire Festival, as well as the Honey Jam developing artist showcase (Nelly Furtado, Jully Black, Haviah Mighty) at the El Mocambo in Toronto, and the Summerfolk Festival in Owen Sound. Theyhave performed at venues across Ontario and Quebec promoting their self-titled EP. In May 2022 they will be Official Showcase Artists at Folk Alliance International and are looking forward to their first Canadian East Coast Tour.
Blending authentic songwriting with modern indie flare, Braden Lam is forging the path to a new 21st century folk-pop. The young ECMA-nominated artist from Halifax, NS sounds like The Lumineers and Phoebe Bridgers met at a campfire in Canada. He has been described as “Nova Scotia’s emerging songwriting sensation” by Grid City Magazine and “The singer-songwriter best poised to follow in Tim Baker’s footsteps” by The Coast Halifax.
Cec Lopez believes music to be "a conversation with any and everything greater than oneself.
The vocalist, who has lived in Canada, the US, and Spain, says that each country has influenced their music differently.
In Winnipeg, Lopez discovered their love of music through their parents, listening to their 1970s funk, soul, and classic rock, and it was in high school where they started playing guitar.
The self-made producer notes that their time in the US at Dartmouth College influenced a core vocal element in their music.
Although they went to university to play hockey, Lopez notes, I ended up quitting the hockey team [and joining] the colleges gospel choir, which ended up changing the trajectory of my life.
Lopez does not describe themself as religious, however, they say that their time in the choir has helped them discover a clearer path of self-expression, and the sound of a choir is now integral to their music.
I have always had some internal conflict with being queer and finding faith. I had to come to terms with how my faith and spirituality are expressed through music in general rather than through a specific religion.
While in Spain, community was the most important factor of Lopezs music, playing with and including friends on their EP.
Lopez has also recently been chosen for the 2022 First Up with RBCxMusic program, a program dedicated to showcasing and elevating emerging Canadian artists, and is excited about what it means for the development of their career.
I'm Chloe Rae, I'm 16 years old from Winnipeg, Manitoba. I began writing songs around 11 years old when I taught myself guitar. I grew up in a musical family and have always dreamed of helping, inspiring and relating to young people through the music I write. Music has always been my escape since I learned to play guitar, I would write about how I felt, and in some songs I wrote about characters from movies and how they felt. In the past year I have been working hard on recording and mastering the songs I have written and had many experiences along the way and getting to learn the steps of creating my music professionally. I can't wait to share this journey and release more music.
Local pop-rock band composed of 5 young artists. Alex on drums, Devin on keys, Matt on Bass, Patrick on guitar, and Juliette on vocals.
At 20 years old, Cohen Sieg has been writing and performing for half his life. Hailing from Sieg's Corner, MB, he has become a local favourite while making his way to festivals, events, and open mics across the country. Cohen is a folk/pop singer-songwriter who is known for playing guitar, but is also a talented multi-instrumentalist playing a full band of instruments including bass, keyboard, saxophone, and percussion, to name a few. Cohen is a solo-musician but with the help of his looper, his captivating performances encompass the sounds and impact of a full band. Cohen has been receiving accolades since his humble beginnings in rural Manitoba, but has quickly expanded his reach, including Los Angeles, CA, where he holds a certificate from the Musicians Institute, College of Contemporary Music, Perth, WA, where he toured in the fall of 2018 and Vancouver BC, where he co-wrote "The Thought of You" at Nimbus School of Recording & Media with up-and-coming R&B artist "Bukola" and featured Dave Genn, the bassist of the 54-40. Following "The Thought of You" and his cover of The 1975's "She Lays Down", was his breakout single Glad Youre My Girl, which was recorded at Paintbox Recording in early 2020. The single has since gone on to be played on CBC radio and streamed globally thousands of times since its release.
He has a passion for music that is undeniable, and you can hear it in the songs he plays such as The 1975's "Somebody Else", Phil Colins "In the Air Tonight," and Charlie Puth's "Attention."
Emily is a 21-year-old singer-songwriter and music fan born in Winnipeg, Manitoba who has been performing most of their life. Emily recently opened for Tyler Del Pino and Sweet Alibi.
Ethan Lyric is a 19-year-old Indigenous musician and singer-songwriter out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has been releasing music for three years now, winning him awards, contests, and even charting within the top ten of the Indigenous Music Countdown. His first EP "Four Divided By Three And Whatever's Left To See" has seen great success locally and online. Though not discovering his love for songwriting until high school. His smooth indie-folk songs and infectious melodies will be sure to have you humming along in no time.
Gillian Hayek is a multi-talented musician based in Winnipeg, Canada. With powerful vocals and the ability to play a variety of instruments, Gillian is taking the music community by storm. Her captivating modern rock sound is the ideal backbone for her profound lyrics. Having started performing as a dancer at the age of three, Gillian has developed a compelling presence that keeps audiences entertained for every second that she is on stage. Gillians debut single, Turn Around, was released in October 2020 and is available on all major platforms.
In January of 2021, Gillian started streaming on Twitch. Amassing over 1,000 followers in less than a year, she began to stand out as a musician on the platform. Rob Landes, a YouTuber with over 2.8 million subscribers, came across one of her streams and asked her to be featured in a video. It went live on his YouTube channel in December 2021 and has over 290,000 views. Her continued dedication and creativity eventually caught the attention of Twitch themselves. In 2022, Gillian was invited to take part in The Collective, an exclusive program run by Twitch to help musicians grow their communities on the platform. This led to her being featured on Twitchs front page.
Gracie is an up and coming artist from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She spent her youth honing her voice as a vocal student at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts while taking advantage of numerous opportunities to expand her skills and grow as an artist.
From a Rainbow Stage production to eight musical theatre shows with a private company, Gracie has performed as a troupe member, often gleaning lead roles with solos. She was part of an advanced, auditioned vocal group that gigged regularly (including radio and TV appearances) and performed concerts backed by high-level orchestras. This group also showcased its talent on a European tour. Gracie spent the first few months of 2019 in Los Angeles. There, she participated in daily songwriting sessions, developing her knack for finding the right melody to pair with unique lyrics.
She spent time at the Winnipeg-based studio, Stereobus Records, working with producers Paul Yee and Murray Pulver on an original song, Just to Pass the Time. At the beginning of the pandemic, Gracie released her first single, "Dont Make Me Kill You". She hopes to reveal her first EP in the near future, which will encompass a flavour of darker sounds and themes to challenge her creativity.
I'm a 17 year old songwriter born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Music has always played a special role in my life and has been my biggest passion since I was little. My goal is to make listeners feel something when they hear my music. I want to evoke emotion through poetry and song and create lyrics that will reach the ears of those who need to hear them. Aside from my music, I also partake in other hobbies such as drawing, acting, writing, and playing D&D with a great group of friends. I'm an ambitious but soft-hearted person who is dedicated to making the world a better place, by little or by large. One lyric at a time.
He's got the hair, he's got the moves, you know he's got the skills. Who is he...? Jace Bodner! The 20 year-old singer/songwriter/guitar player/bass player/producer is not messing around. He's writing sweet sweet Funk, Soul and Pop music and playing it with two of the hottest bands out there, "The Motherfunk" and "Jace and the Hotties" who play regular shows around Winnipeg. He has a passion for performing and creating music and is working hard on his very first album!
"Watch out! Because you do NOT want to miss this guy!" - Jace Bodner, about himself
Jackson Klippenstein is a 20-year-old guitarist/singer/songwriter from Kenora, Ontario. He recorded his first EP consisting of 4 original songs in February of 2019 with Rusty Matyas at Moonrise Music Club in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Since then, his single has had air time on different radio stations across Canada including CBC radio. Jacksons style ranges from a mix of old blues, folk, classic rock, and everything in between bringing a bright energetic taste to the table.
My name is Jennifer, I am 24 years old and I am an aspiring singer-songwriter in Winnipeg, MB. I am a member of Manitoba Music, and I have been singing, songwriting and playing the guitar since I was around 12 years old. During the covid lockdowns is when I really started taking my music career seriously. I have been a frequent open-mic performer (among many other things) and when people would ask me if I had any music out that they could listen to, the answer was always no and I began to feel the imposter syndrome sinking in. When I suddenly had so much time to myself, I realized that I cant see myself doing anything else. Music sets my soul on fire (in a good way!) and its my biggest passion in life; which is why I decided that Id like to put my music out for the world to hear. Its not that I want to be a musician, its that I HAVE to. I did some research and got in contact with Adam Fuhr (Yes we Mystic) of House of Wonders, and we started working on my first EP this year. I intend to release The Retrospective Heart EP early next year.
Kael Sauerborn is an emerging singer/songwriter from Gimli, Manitoba. Being a self-taught guitar player and singer, he searches outside the box for connections between his guitar and voice. With an early desire to never write the same song twice, his songs span folk, roots, pop, and the darker side of blues.
In a recent songwriting collaboration with Indigenous chanter and drummer Ray "Coco" Stevenson, Kael had opportunities to play live on CBC Radio, as well as with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. These experiences helped re-light a passion for writing and sharing, that he brings forward today.
Kael plans on his first EP release for mid-late 2022, and plans to enjoy playing his many "pandemic songs" for people in this new age of live music.
Keltie is a trans singer-songwriter whose unique voice and style makes them a young artist
to watch. 2017 proved to be a Year of Firsts for Keltie. Stepping into the studio for the first time
with Juno award-winning producer Russell Broom, Keltie recorded four original songs. Collected together, the four tracks would be released as Keltie's debut EP Everything I Haven't Said on November 4th 2017. The EP would reach #1 on iTunes Top Selling Singer-songwriter Albums in Canada, with the lead single "Someone Tell Her" reaching #2 on iTunes Top Selling Singer-songwriter Singles in Canada.
The momentum would continue for Someone Tell Her, getting nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in the Young Performer of the Year category, winning the Rising Star Award at the Edmonton Music Awards, reaching semi-finals in CBC Music Searchlight competition, as well as an honourable mention in the Canadian Songwriting Competition. They released another single, "Expect Inhibition" in spring of 2019. The song has been played on radio stations across Canada including CBC Radio.
Keltie continues to pursue his dream of sharing his music with as many folks as possible and will be returning to the recording studio in 2022.
So picture the chatter of a million talkers and then pan sideways to the corner where you notice the sneaky little poet-producer Lev Snowe, who's always observing and scribbling down songs as a curious means of getting closer to the soul. And this prairie kid maybe shows some sonic traces of nostalgiaperhaps that final homestretch after being gone a whileimmured in cosmic synth sways and the glittery sunlight of existence as the drums kick real hard and knock you back again into that familiar fact-consciousnessonly this time there is no turning from the psychedelic hypnosis that now distorts the room and draws you into those lines, those words, the ones that maybe linger on in your mind like Eliotat the still point of the turning world where Lev is too, recording a dazzling scene from his basement studiothat unlikely universe which sparks those future triumphs and freedoms of our time together. And maybe it's at this point you realize that's exactly where you want to bebecause even on that tired road home, there are still dreams to be had. They await you. Lev often describes his songwriting as just playing a part in a greater tradition of writing. To catch perfect words from the sky, combine them with earthly guitars, and instil them into their own point in history doesn't use a formula or algorithm: it requires patience, and restraint, but its outcome is maybe what nabs your attention and sets Lev forth on his journey.
Lilac Jam is a folk/Americana/roots duo comprised of Sofia Friesen and Syd Kurbis. With inspiration taken from the Secret Sisters, Brandi Carlile and Madison Violet, the two cousins offer deeply rich voices, meaningful lyrics, and smooth harmonies. Sofia and Syd have been playing music together their whole lives and write songs about love, loss, and the places they grew up.
We are currently in the process of recording our first album titled: "You Should Ask About The Rain".
Luc Wrigley has been playing music since the age of 3 1/2 and has been playing on stages since the age of 4. Throughout his performing with Winnipeg band band Double the Trouble, Luc has been able to play his fiddle, guitar and sing all across the prairies and Canada. Him and his brother have been features at multiple festivals such as the Winnipeg Folk Fest, Festival du voyageur, and others inside and out of Manitoba and Canada. He now seeks to advance his skills and learn more about the music industry, songwriting and performing in general.
I'm a singer, songwriter, artist and filmmaker from Winnipeg. I've lived here my whole life and the art scene here has helped me realize who I am.
I've been playing guitar, singing and writing music since I was 15 and released my first EP on Apple Music and Spotify when I was 18. I'm in production right now for my second EP and I plan to release it this year.
Sam Fournier (Marshmallow Wine) is a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist from Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is currently studying Jazz Double Bass at the University of Manitoba. His musical intrigue has developed throughout his whole life, with a house full of instruments to guide him along his explorations. His hope is to connect with the world with his music. He is constantly searching for ways to break the boundaries of communication through creativity.
Mitchell Makoons (He/Him) is a Roots/Rock musician from Brandon, Manitoba. Mitchell started playing guitar at the age of seven to accompany his grandfather and brother playing Métis fiddle tunes. Mitchell continues to be an active member of the Manitoba Métis community. The songs Mitchell writes incorporate traditional Ojibway music and culture with modern influences from roots and rock.
I am a 24 year old singer/songwriter from Kenora, Ontario. Born into a very musical family, I was swiftly nicknamed 'songbird' as my love of singing and rhythm emerged long before I could talk. I have been writing my own music and performing around Kenora since I was just 12 years old (if you dont count the parking lot shows I would put on for my neighbours wearing my moms high heels). Much like myself, my sound is gentle, honest and ever changing. Inspired by my relationships, Northwestern Ontario and the many female artists who have paved the way for me (Ruby Waters, Remi Wolf, LEON, Stevie Nicks, to name a few).
The role of the artist is to never be complacent; to place themselves in unfamiliar territory, and be inspired by the unknown. Born in Winnipeg, raised in Bolivia, and currently living in Montreal, 20 year old Sam Ripat has never settled. Sam creates music which honours many influences, yet knows no genre. Raised in a musical family, he played a variety of gigs growing up; from singing in classical choirs, to playing bass in jazz fusion and rock bands, to intimate singer/songwriter gigs, to playing saxophone in a klezmer group.
With heavy influence from Black American Music traditions, he cites his biggest inspirations as Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, and Joe Henderson. Sams self produced single Only Moving Forward (Hey John) as well as No Choice which was written and recorded in collaboration with singer/songwriter and producer Mackenzie Wojcik are available to stream online.
Sam is currently studying Jazz Bass at McGill University, and is composing and arranging a contemporary fusion project to play and record with master improvisers in Montreal.
Sam Singer is a singer/songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba. His works include Fatal Friends (2017), Don't Mistake Me for a Lovebird (2019), as well as soundtrack contributions for multiple independent films screened locally and internationally. Singer plays a forever changing style in his unique voice, thus far ranging from folk, indie, as well as faint visions of a lounge singer on his most recent work Don't Mistake Me for a Lovebird.
Sophie Stevens is a singing, songwriting music-witch from Winnipeg, Manitoba. With a love for all walks of life and ability to channel that love into creative magic and empathy, Sophie has curated a musical experience equal only to being wrapped up in a warm blanket straight from the dryer. From her classical guitar folk-fingerpicking to her angelic vocals, to her love-of-the-literal in her lyrics paired with her universal storytelling, Sophie has enchanted the hearts of every listener who hears her play. Through her solo performances replicating the gentle energy of a pillow fort and her recent, vibrantly indie-rock full band, Sophie continues to show up to every audience understanding that each person has their own experiences, challenges, and purposes in their lives that colour their perspectives. She has created and mastered a heart-oriented musical experience that can only be summed up in one word: wholesome.
Sophie has translated her childlike curiosity and wonder into a musical sound unlike any other. Whether youre in need of an emotional hype-up or a soft place to land during hardship, Sophies music allows space for acknowledging our difficulties and challenges while still celebrating the abundance of resilience and softness that being human brings.
STELLAR is an alternative indie/folk band from Winnipeg, Manitoba. The group was started by Sophie George (vocals, acoustic guitar, ukulele) and Hailey Hunter (vocals, electric guitar). Hunter and George met in a in a university theatre class, where they each performed onstage at The Black Hole Theatre. The pair first started playing music together over FaceTime, mid-pandemic, and knew immediately that, with their combined musical talents, they could create something special. They have decided to trade in their soliloquies for songwriting and, to honour the blazing Black Hole where they first met, the duo christened their band STELLAR. The pair has since been joined by percussionist, Ellie Ratel and bassist, Sage Stoyanowski. STELLAR's debut EP, Stages, is releasing June, 2022.
Main songwriters and founding members Court and Nikki first found a passion for writing, producing, and recording together while writing and recording demos for their 2019 Young Performers Program application (as The Carmichael Girls/Oak Hill Road West). In the coming years, they continued to refine their sound as they found out who they were as musicians/artists both to themselves and each other.
In September 2019, Nikki reconnected with old friend and multi-instrumentalist Edward Bosnjak through the Performing Arts CVE Program at 7Oaks SD. They all 3 became fast friends and quickly Nikki and Court knew that they wanted Edward to be a part of their journey.
Roughly a year and a half later, after further gelling as a band, the three, by chance, met budding drummer and aspiring recording engineer, (and repeated Folk Festival Volunteer) Thomas Steur.
After the first jam as a group, they knew that they had found their final member. With this, they would further solidify themselves as a band by naming themselves sun day/club. However, still being under COVID restrictions, the new band wasn't able to get their feet wet in the local scene so they have spent this time refining and tightening up their abilities as a collective in order to be able to put on a stellar live show.
With that, they are ready and eager to showcase their abilities and artistry at the 2022 Winnipeg Folk Fest through the Young Performers Program.
Tuva Bergstrom is a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has been writing songs and performing live since 2015. In April 2019, she released her second EP titled July, followed by her super mega smash Christmas hit “Break Up With Her Over The Holidays.” You can find Tuva busking around town, or hanging around any and every local venue in town.
Past Mentors Include
Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas)
Ann Louise Genest
David Wax & Suz Slezak
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald
Michael Jermome Brown
Oh My Darling
Ruth Moody & Heather Masse (Wailin’ Jennys)
Sarah Lee Guthrie
Suzie Ungerleider (Oh Susanna)