Rocking The Breakthrough Country Music Project

Melissa Livingstone at the Breakthrough Country Music Project

This year has already been full of surprises and adventures.  Being selected as a performer and contestant in the Breakthrough Country Music Project was not only an honour but also a pleasant surprise.  I applied to be in the showcasing project in Vancouver at the beginning of the year, and was contacted shortly after about the opportunity to perform.  I was put into one of three rounds, with my round being the third and last one of the project on March 24th.   I didn’t know what to expect when I went into this competition, if the other contestants would be nice, if it be competitive and how I would feel if I didn’t make it to the finale? All these thoughts were going through my head because I had never been part of it before. Lucky for me though, all the other contestants the night of my performance were friends of mine. It hardly even felt like a competition, I was just there singing with my band and performing alongside other fellow musicians and friends. I was nervous, but excited.

The night of the third round came and went, and I truly felt like I killed (as in rocked it) my performance.  I only had a 30-minute set, but I made sure those 30 minutes counted.  I chose 4 originals and 4 covers, and with only one previous rehearsal with my band, put on one heck of a show.  I guess that one rehearsal with my band worked in my favor, because four days later I found out that I advanced to the finale.  I was super pumped, and couldn’t wait for the next performance on April 14th.

The morning of April 14th I woke up at way too early of an hour in the day, to catch a way too early flight to Vancouver.  Previously I had driven to Vancouver from Kelowna, but the morning after the performance I was catching a flight to Nashville, so it made sense to fly instead of drive.  I caught my 45 minute plane ride to YVR, then waited at the airport for my shuttle, which would take me to my hotel.  I spent about an hour waiting for my shuttle, and once I reached my hotel, I went straight to my room to go over my songs (hopefully the rest of the hotel was okay with that).  I ironed my clothes with the hotel ironing board, made disgusting coffee with powdered cream and told myself to wake the heck up as I was feeling a little tired.  I didn’t have much time, so napping wasn’t really an option.  Thankfully I’m a naturally energetic person when I get excited, so by the time I had to leave, I was pumped and no longer tired.  I took a $12 dollar taxi to the nearest sky train station, and had the hardest time figuring out which ticket to buy.  A security guard actually had to assist me at one point because I was confused (Lord bless him).  Can’t blame a small town girl for not knowing how to use big city transportation though.

Soundcheck was a breeze, and then I had a few hours to kill so I wandered the streets of downtown Vancouver until I was cold and bored and returned back to the Roxy Cabaret.  I was second to perform that night, so I got my usual single Gin and Tonic to help calm the nerves.  Once I was on stage though, all my nerves went away and I was just there, in the moment.  Ready to shine.  Ready to perform.  My performance slot was again only 30 minutes, but I sang my heart out in that half hour.  The end of the night came, with the last performance slot ending around 10:15pm.  The judges took about 10 minutes to make their decision and then the time came.  There was a drum roll, and they thanked the 4 finalists (band or single artists) who all participated in the Breakthrough Project.  Then they announced the winner.  It wasn’t me.  If you’re reading this and you’re disappointed, I feel ya.  I was of course disappointed and actually I was quite upset.  I put so much effort into making the trips to Vancouver, for rehearsal, both the third round and the finale.  My band and I worked really hard and I wanted to win.  But I am also not blind to the fact that the band that did win, ‘The Promised,’ did a fantastic job and was justifiably the winner that night.  I take everything in life with a grain of salt (I don’t know exactly what that means, but I like the saying), and there’s always a silver lining in everything. That being said, I am so happy I did the showcase and I’m thankful for the opportunity.  I made new fans, new friends, and I walked away with a new sense of pride in myself.