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Calgary's Brad Saunders is a wild one

Country singer wins big prize in country music contest

Calgary country musician Brad Saunders took home the top price from Project Wild

Courtesy Brad Saunders

Calgary country musician Brad Saunders took home the top price from Project Wild

Brad Saunders is wild.

The Calgary-country musician just strummed his way into first place in the annual Project Wild showcase, winning industry accolades and $100,953 in prize money.

Organized by the Alberta Music Industry Association and WILD 95.3, Project Wild is a professional development program designed to educate, promote, develop and launch the careers of some of Alberta's up-and-coming country and roots artists.

It’s actually Saunders second year taking part. Even though he didn’t make it very far in his first attempt, he called it a huge blessing.

“I went back to the drawing board and learned more about myself,” he said.

His personal growth was definitely noticed.

“Brad took part last year in Project WILD and showed tremendous growth both in his song-writing and business acumen from year one to year two,” read a statement from Wild 953. “The marks were tallied and the jury voted, and we are excited to see what Brad can accomplish next.”

Winning first place this year is the result of years of hard work. Saunders learned how to play guitar from his dad at a young age, and has gone on to open for artists like Aaron Pritchett and Brett Kissel. He also wrote the Stampede Anthem for Cowboys Calgary.

“I remember back when I was learning how to play guitar or busking at train stations, eager to grow and transcend as an artist, hungry to learn and absorb,” he said. “To me, winning Project Wild is a symbol of that – it’s absolutely incredible.

“I’ve been at it for a couple years now and the most incredible part is it’s not always in a forward direction. Sometimes it’s two steps forward, one step back. It’s been incredible to grow as an artist, as a song-writer, as a performer and be challenged on so many different levels to become a better artist.”

His style comes from his background - slinging fish in Newfoundland and working on oil rigs. Saunders father used to strum the guitar to help him and his brothers get to sleep at night - now Saunders does the same for his daughter.

Winning Project Wild will allow Saunders to record an album, followed up with strong promotion.

The victory comes after Saunders wrapped up his 21 Days of Kindness project, which saw him raising money Little Warriors and making school lunches, along with other community initiatives.

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