It’s been a full summer of performing and learning for Jeff Boughner, who just finished up the Spectra Talent Competition.
The former Wellesley resident finished in third place, after leading the competition in votes for nearly the entire summer. He leaves the competition with an Entourage Black Seagull guitar, a Munich ebike scooter, a professional photo package, and dinner for two at Mysteriously Yours Murder Mystery Theatre. The winner got to record a single with Zedd Records.
“It was a useful experience, I’d say. I still won some pretty good prizes, for sure. The music workshops were helpful. It taught me it’s not all just talent to be successful,” Boughner said.
Using the stage name Jeff Matthews, he had the opportunity to perform solo, as part of duets, and in a group. The 12 finalists even recorded a song called Not My Time with former Toronto mayor Rob Ford.
The song was written by the Rainbow Association of Canadian Artists executive director Ralph Hamelmann, producer Mark Zubek of Zedd Records, and Gemini Award winner Paul Bellini as an anthem for people with cancer.
Highlights for Boughner include the live shows and being told by one of the judges that his voice is instantly recognizable – an important aspect for getting radio play.
“The first live show I won by a landslide and it was the most successful financially live show they had,” Boughner said. “I thought that really said something, the amount of crowd I had. I probably had more than 50 per cent of the venue.”
Competitors were judged on their singing ability, online presence, live shows, and conduct at workshops and events. Boughner was one of the only people to receive 100 per cent in the conduct points category. Singers were deducted for being late, not returning an email within 24 hours, or being rude during workshops. Voting for competitors cost $2 online.
He says the biggest challenge for him was overcoming anxiety about going on stage, which he had the chance to work on at a stage fright workshop where they were introduced to meditation to help overcome nerves. They also did a weekend retreat with lots of music workshops and time spent collaborating with different competitors.
“That’s the overall award is whatever your personal gain would be from it as a musician, or songwriter, not the actual prizes,” Boughner said.
The experience helped him to become comfortable singing without his guitar, especially during the duet portion of the competition. He was paired up with different contestants to sing All of Me by John Legend, You and Me by Dallas Green and Pink, and I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz.
He’s off to Conestoga College now for a year of pre-health studies, before the McMaster University nursing program. And he’s certainly not done with his musical endeavors, as he’s looking into the John Lennon Songwriting Contest next.
It’s free to enter and the judges will be choosing winners based on their songwriting skills, rather than the recording quality. Original songs are due by October 31.
While attending school this year he plans to play some gigs at local pubs to help pay for expenses and continue his passion for music. He’s still working on nailing down what his musical identity is, as he enjoys performing everything from classical to country.
“I got what we wanted from it, which was to be able to sing and play guitar publicly and not be so nervous,” Boughner said.