From left Alex Vargas Wendy Vargas Adrian Vargas and Matthew Vargas. /DAVID ZILSTRA Staff

Valuable lesson learned after The Shot

By Darren Lum

Cassidy Taylor of Haliburton is focusing on the positive after her finals experience in The Shot a music contest that concluded on Aug. 17 at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga.

Taylor did not make the final four but gained perspective and said she appreciated how she developed as a performer during The Shot.

“That definitely motivates me to do better. You know I always prepare myself for the worst and hope for the best” she said. “It wasn’t really a surprise necessarily but it was a good experience. It’s always good to not win all the time. It’s good to be put down sometimes because it draws you back to reality. It’s important to feel yourself too and not let other people just tell you you’re great all the time … it’s good to kind of motivate yourself in a way. When it comes down to it it’s all the energy inside you know? It kind of drives it all.”

With her parents in the audience in Mississauga and support from friends and supporters watching online through the show’s Facebook live-feed back home she said that though she felt comfortable on stage she felt nervous performing for the opportunity to be part of the final four.

“I get really nervous with these types of things because it’s not just performing to an audience and connecting with people the judges. Though we made friends with them by the end of it the judges are looking for things. …They’re trained to look for criticism which is good but I’m just not used to that most times. I was pretty nervous. More than I would be for a regular performance … it was a good experience. It was good to put myself under that pressure” she said.

Jessie T one of the judges was her mentor for the show and helped Taylor with her stage presence.

Among the things Taylor said she will apply to her future performances is connecting with the audience.

“I tend to draw the energy inwards. It kind of gets rid of my nerves to do that I think. To kind of close my eyes and direct all the energy towards me but I’m working really hard to kind of push that energy outwards and draw people in like that” she said.

Unlike other singing contests she’s been part of where there was a competitive atmosphere this year’s experience included a collaborative vibe particularly when it came to the final eight performers. The judges told her the atmosphere was unique to this year’s group.

“This season we were all playing music backstage talking about our lives and connecting with one another. In the top eight more so than the other groups I think for sure” Taylor said.

She adds a contributing factor was how the eight-person group was together for the whole day bonding.

“It was really cool to kind of not see jealousy at all. No one was jealous of anyone. It was just kind of a big support group” she said.

Taylor said now that the show is over she’ll be meeting with the judges about options for her music career. She hopes to collaborate with any of the top-eight finalists. While home the next few weeks she plans to perform and collaborate with fellow Haliburton Highlands Secondary School alumnus Marques Bortolussi. She is working on the steps towards releasing an EP or extended play record she said.

See her live when she performs with bandmates Marques and his brother Lucas Bortolussi and Spencer Devolin at The Great Haliburton Summer Sendoff on Saturday Aug. 31 held at Haliburton Highlands Brewing. Dark is Our Danger Nick & Benton Zachary Lucky and Richard Garvey will also be featured. There is limited seating so bring your chair. Tickets are $35 at .

Taylor loves singing and felt the same sentiment exuded by the other competitors at The Shot.

Her advice for any other budding musical artists is to remember it all comes down to respect.

“Music is never a competition. If you want to make it … just be supportive and be nice to everyone you talk to. Be respectful” she said.