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Jamaican newcomer’s singing career takes off after winning YMCA’s Rep Your Region Youth Talent Showcase

19 November 2019 - by Sarah Cowan
Step aside Rihanna — there’s a new Caribbean singing sensation on the rise and her name is AshaLee.

Ashlie Wilson, who goes by the stage name “AshaLee,” won the YMCA of Greater Toronto’s 2019 Rep Your Region Youth Talent Showcase finale on Saturday, October 5 at Vaughan Mills.

Contestants smiling on stage

The annual event, which has been running for seven years, provides a platform for youth up to age 29 from across the GTA to express themselves and show off what makes them unique. This year’s finale featured a total of nine talented youth contestants, who were selected as finalists at the regional showcases held in Scarborough, Peel Region, and East Gwillimbury in September. A total of 41 youth competed in the tryouts across the GTA.

Pursuing a career in the music industry as a newcomer

Ashlie moved from Jamaica to Canada in 2011 and now lives in Scarborough. The 25-year-old has been singing her whole life, but about a year and a half ago, she decided to turn it into a full-time career.

Ashlie says she was raised in a musical household with parents who both love to sing.Ashlie singing into mic

“It’s a natural-born talent for me, but I wasn’t always this good,” she says. “It did take a lot of practice.”

Her hard work paid off when she wowed guests and judges with her cover of Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain” at the event. Her soulful and powerful voice earned her the finale’s top prizes: a free studio demo recording of one of her original songs and a professional music video.

Opening the door to new opportunities

Ashlie says the prizes will give her the resources she needs to take her career to the next level.

“I’m working on a project right now that will be releasing within the next couple of months. It’s really good timing, because it’s expensive getting all those things done,” she explains.

Having grown up visiting YMCA Centres of Community, Ashlie thinks the Rep Your Region Youth Talent Showcase is an amazing event.
"I’m definitely grateful that there are programs like this to give artists who are trying to get their foot in the door opportunities — especially if they’re from low-income families,” she says.

Ashlie feels it’s important for her singing to serve a good cause:
"My ultimate goal is to put myself on a platform with music to influence people to rebuild their communities."

Support Ashlie’s musical journey! Visit her website to get her original music and videos and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or SoundCloud.


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