Performance earns singer top spot in Variety talent show

Pacific Academy graduate and singer-songwriter Shylo Sharity was named the top performer in the Variety
Pacific Academy graduate and singer-songwriter Shylo Sharity was named the top performer in the Variety's Got Talent contest last Friday. She will appear on the annual Show of Hearts telethon this weekend.
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A Surrey high school grad has one more item to add to her list of accomplishments.

Shylo Sharity has been named the top performer in a talent contest leading up to the annual Variety Club Show of Hearts.

The 22-year-old’s acoustic performance of The Story by Brandi Carlile was enough to win over the judges at the Variety’s Got Talent contest held last Friday (Feb. 4) at the Red Robinson Theatre in Coquitlam.

Sharity was named the winner among the top 11 performers picked from as many as 300 people who auditioned online for the contest.

The singer, who was a 2006 graduate of Pacific Academy in Surrey and is in her final year of a communications degree at Trinity Western University, described the scene inside the sold-out theatre as “crazy.”

And the assessment comes from a young woman who’s no stranger to the stage.

From bands to church musical groups to standing alone on stage with a guitar or just a microphone in her hand, Sharity has been performing in front of live audiences since she was six years old, including touring with Winter Harp.

These days, however, her focus is more on writing and recording, she said over the phone during a break between university classes.

Although she has plenty of original music at her disposal, Sharity was advised to sing something people would know for the competition, as opposed to one of her own compositions.

She rehearsed for a week and posted her audition video.

Sharity chose the Carlile piece, she said, because it fit her style.

When she’s just sitting around and listening to music, she prefers more “hardcore” tunes, Sharity said, naming Paramore and The Devil Wears Prada as a couple of her favourite acts.

But when she’s writing and singing, the result is a more “jazzy acoustic flare.”

“It’s more acoustic pop — fun and young and something girls my age can relate to.”

And because all her friends play and sing, Sharity is able to combine her social life with a chance to collaborate with other young artists.

Over the past 16 years, she has racked up a few screen credits as well, appearing as a singer in the television series Dead Like Me and earning roles in made-for-television movies Door to Door, starring William H. Macy and Kyra Sedgewick, and School of Life, starring Ryan Reynolds.

However, the young performer has put her acting career on the back burner for now.

“I’d like to (pursue a career in music). It’s not the easiest road, but anything is possible,” she said.

The Variety Club Show of Hearts telethon airs on Saturday and Sunday, and while Sharity’s uncertain whether she’ll sing (the Feb. 4 performance will be shown, she believes) she will be interviewed as part of the annual fundraiser for B.C.’s special needs children.

- by Brenda Anderson

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