Calgary country singer/songwriter Brad Saunders has won this year's Project WILD, sponsored by WILD 953 and Alberta Music.
The prize brings him $100,653, making it one of the most lucrative in Canadian music. Calgary group Nice Horse came second, earning $75K, with Tanya Ryan on Okotoks placing third and earning $50K. The three acts performed at a finale concert on Saturday night at The Palace Theatre in Calgary, with proceeds going to the Unison Benevolent Fund.
Saunders has opened for the likes of Aaron Pritchett, Brett Kissel and Thomas Rhett and performed at such major festivals as Country Thunder, Big Valley Jamboree, and the Calgary Stampede.
He was a Top 10 Finalist in the 2016 Ole “On the Spot” Competition hosted at CCMA Week. Saunders has also worked in Nashville writing with songwriters such as Phil O’Donnell, Bruce Wallace, and Erik Dylan.
This is the second year for Project WILD. Last year's inaugural winners were The Dungarees (1st place), Sykamore (2nd place), and Ken Stead (3rd place). For the two years before, the program was known as the PEAK Performance Project, which also ran as a program in BC for seven years. Project WILD will run in Alberta for the next three years. More info here