Victoria's got talent

The Times Colonist Music Awards winners will be announced next week, but one thing's already clear: Victoria has no shortage of future stars

Judges have deliberated. Votes have been cast. Winners have been decided.

We're not ready to divulge who came out on top in the second annual Times Colonist Music Awards, but we're close.

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Next Sunday, the winners of six juried categories will be published in the Times Colonist, including select runners-up. At that point, we'll also release the results of a fan choice category, which is now open for your votes at timescolonist.com/musicawards.

A selection of songs from the winning acts — provided free of charge — will also be uploaded to our website, complete with mini bios, photos and other vital materials.

The point of all this? To shine a light on the high-quality talent throughout Victoria, quite a bit of which lives and breathes away from the public eye.

We undertook a similar process last year, during the awards' maiden voyage, but votes were not split into genres. We've doubled the number of jurors this year as well, and have amped up considerably the online portion of our offerings.

In terms of due diligence, no stylistic stone was left unturned. The categories — rock, roots/folk, electronic/dance, jazz/blues, punk/metal, hip-hop/soul — were as far-reaching as the judges, who ranged from concert promoters and club managers to freelance journalists and radio hosts.

The overriding theme, according to one judge, was quality. "[The music being made locally] is something new and powerful that we will look back on in awe 15 years from now."

And how.

Diana Krall, Nelly Furtado and David Foster are regional royalty. Could there be another star-in-waiting lurking right under the city's nose? Given the breadth of talent that emerged during the month-long awards process, I'm inclined to answer in the affirmative.

It has been quite an impressive few years for local musicians, from landmark wins at the Vancouver-based Peak Performance project to Maple Blues and Juno Award nominations. Their reach is spreading, too: Current Swell, a nominee in the rock category, is headed for Brazil in 2012, while Neon Steve, a favourite in the electronic/dance category, is soon taking his talents to the U.K.

Over the course of the voting process, a whopping 180 acts received nods from our jury. Of those, 60 made it past the first round and to the shortlisted acts in each category. No one played favourites — jury members were asked to keep allegiances out of it — but clear front-runners emerged. When it came to casting their final votes, jurors were faced with choosing a winner out of five finalists in each category, an arduous task.

In the end, according to a juror, everyone was a winner.

"They all have one thing in common: hustle."

OUR JUDGES

A roster of 30 judges was selected to oversee the awards. Here's our all-star panel, followed by the genre on which he or she voted.

Adam Lee, Magmazing Music (rock)

Adrian Chamberlain, Times Colonist (jazz/blues)

Adam Bailey, FolkWest Festival (folk/roots)

Allison Green, world's biggest music fan (folk/roots)

Amanda Farrell-Low, freelance journalist (electronic/dance)

Bryan Capistrano, The Zone radio station (hip-hop/soul)

Dave Bain, Surge Ahead (electronic/dance)

Dave Wallace, Innovate Imageworks (rock)

Dane Roberts, Victoria BC Ska Society (hip-hop/soul)

Darryl Mar, Victoria Jazz Society (jazz/blues)

Degree One, promoter/club DJ (hip-hop/soul)

Dimitri Demers, Atomique Productions/Rifflandia Festival (hip-hop/soul)

Eric LeBlanc, Victoria Conservatory of Music (jazz/blues)

Glenn Parfitt, Royal City Music Project/Victoria Music Hall of Fame (jazz/blues)

Heather Furneaux, Clove and Anchor Entertainment (punk/metal)

Ira Hunter, Absolute Underground magazine (punk/metal)

Jason Guille, Victoria Electronic Music Festival (electronic/dance)

Jeremy Baker, The Zone radio station (rock)

Joey MacDonald, Olio Artists and Workers Co-operative (folk/roots)

Kimberli Persley, Amelia Artists Inc. (rock)

Kris Barnes, Club 9ONE9 (rock)

Lars Taylor, Innergroove (electronic/dance)

Marshall Anselmo, Stallion Entertainment (hip-hop/soul)

Matt Morrison, Sugar nightclub (electronic/dance)

Mike Devlin, Times Colonist (folk/roots)

Pauly Hardcore, Vancouver Island Hardcore Society (punk/metal)

Robert Moyes, freelance journalist (jazz/blues)

Tiemen Kuipers, Talk's Cheap record store (punk/metal)

Tim Horner, La ti Da Records (punk/metal)

Wendy Wall, Off the Wall Design (folk/roots)

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