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St. Albert's Hailey Benedict wins Top of the Country competition

St. Albert singer-songwriter Hailey Benedict won SiriusXM's Top of the Country competition.

Canadian County Music Week kicked off last week with the finale of the competition, which had performances from three emerging Canadian country artists, including Benedict.

“We applied in the beginning of 2023, and then I found out that I was selected for the top eight in March or April, so it's been a good chunk of the year,” said Benedict.

After being selected, Benedict got to work in the studio releasing music before she heard that she made it into the final three, who were given mentorship opportunities such as recording a single, showcases in Nashville, and performances at major Canadian events, including the Top of the Country finale at The Music Hall in Hamilton, Ontario.

Benedict got to perform three of her original songs, Never Giving It Back, Wanted You, and Damn You July. The latter is her newest single, a classic breakup song.

Benedict said that she was in shock, and a little bit overwhelmed, when she'd won.

“I felt very grateful. My team and I have put a lot of hard work into everything we've been doing for the past year, and so has my band.”

Benedict's band consists of Brad Durand (drums), Brennan Wall (guitar), Lisa Jacobs (bass) and Mitch Jay (fiddle-banjo).

Benedict plans on putting the $25,000 prize money towards her first EP.

“Some songs will be upbeat commercial stuff, but I've also got a lot of really emotional songs that I'm excited to share as well.”

Benedict has played shows all around North America, even performing at the 2022 Canada Day concert in Fort Saskatchewan. She is also the 2022 CCMA Interactive Artist of the Year.

Hailey Benedict.