We chose judges that worked in different realms of the music industry, because the theme of “artist discovery” impacts all of them.
Tao runs Blue Crane Agency, a music booking agency seeking to prioritize women, artists of color, and queer and trans musicians in North America and abroad. Previously, she was at Chicago-based touring agency Billions, Universal Music Canada, and got her start with Carly Rae Jepsen's management and label in Vancouver where she was born and raised. Tao is a queer woman of color seeking to open more doors and establish better infrastructure for marginalized artists.
Dalton is an author, publicist, National Magazine Award-winning journalist and festival producer whose six books and hundreds of concert presentations since 2002 have taken him around the globe. As a leading Toronto-based publicist, his active roster includes clients that have garnered a wide range of Awards and accolades including BET Awards (USA), Mercury Prize (UK), Juno Awards (Canada), and Emmy Awards (USA), in addition to Grammy Award (USA) and Polaris Prize (Canada) nominees.
Singer-songwriter LU KALA’s unique approach to pop music lead her to co-writing a song with DVSN and Stephen Kozmeniuk that appeared on Jennifer Hudson’s third studio album in 2013. This year, LU released Don’t Count Me Out, which became an instant hit. She was selected to attend a writing workshop with BabyFace, James Fauntleroy, and MarcLo; has been featured in AfroPunk magazine; and performed at the Juno’s.