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Mulmur singer reaches Top 10 in ongoing country competition

September 1, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Brock Weir


By his own admission, Patrick James Clark is “not a singing contest guy,” but he might have to reassess after landing in the Top 10 of the Hoedown Showdown on Saturday afternoon.

Appearing before the crowds at Aurora’s Ribfest, the Mulmur native wowed festival-goers and judges alike with his lighthearted rendition of Chicken Fried by the Zac Brown Band.

“You have to pick the songs before you do this, so I said to my roommate, ‘I’m not really a singing contest guy,’ so he suggested picking something everyone knows so, even if it sucks, everyone will sing along,” he joked on stage.

Whatever the motive, it did the trick for the Hoedown Showdown, the annual competition hosted by auto parts giant Magna International ahead of their annual Wild, Wild West Hoedown, one of York Region’s largest annual two-day country music bash which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for community partners in York, Simcoe County, and even charities that have offshoots in Dufferin County.

Saturday’s semi-final rounds featured 20 aspiring musicians from across Ontario each vying for a spot in the Top 10, which will perform for thousands on the first night of Hoedown next month on Friday, September 15.

Each contestant sang for judges Tom Cross of Metal Works Studios, TV personality and philanthropist Joan Walker, and Steve Hinder of Magna.

Establishing a joking rapport with the judges in the preliminary Top 40 rounds earlier this month, they might have known what to expect, but, for them, it was all about the voice.

“Smooth, professional, confident, calm, great smile, tons of energy and really engaging,” ruled Ms. Walker. “It was all good for me.”

It was a view shared by the entire panel who vaulted him into the Top 10. Between now and September 15, each contestant will participate in a mentorship week with industry professionals who will give them the ins and outs of how to achieve their best.

It was a prospect Clark was looking forward to after learning he was through to the next level.

“A friend of mine won [the Hoedown Showdown] a couple of years ago and he is doing some amazing things right now,” he tells the Shelburne Free Press. “I am really looking forward to bouncing ideas off other people in terms of what is going to make things sell. Songwriters write personally, but you have to make it commercial at the same time. I am really excited to say, ‘Here’s a cool song idea, but what does it take for the extra 10 or 20 per cent?”

Clark says he began playing music when he was six. His older brother is five years older and started playing guitar so, to keep up with his big brother, Patrick James Clark picked up the drumsticks just so they could hang out together. From there, he started singing and playing guitar at Centre Dufferin District High School and decided to pursue music in his post-secondary education.

Since then, he has been playing bar gigs and taking other music gigs wherever he can to help pay his tuition through the University of Western Ontario.

“The community has really helped me,” he says. “I get to come home every other week and play shows in Shelburne. Places like the Shelburne Golf Club have been so amazing letting me work. I have this book where about a year ago I wrote my five year goals. I play a lot of bars and restaurants as a solo artist, [but a year from now] I would love to be playing with a band doing original music and playing bigger stages.

“I joke that I’m not a singing contest guy because I just technically don’t have that range, but I love performing, I love making people laugh, so I like to make it interactive so it is a little bit more memorable because there’s not going to be that moment of, ‘When he hit that money note…’ It’s not a negative thing in any way, but I just know where my limitations are vocally and just like to perform.”


Joining him in the Top 10 are:

John Anderson (Barrie)

Sarah Campbell Mills (Burlington)

Mike Chianelli (Sutton West)

Abby J. Hall (Burlington)

Zoe Jayne (Schomberg)

Jamie Lynn Reid (Keswick)

Katie Sacco (Toronto)

Lauren (Renee) Vandervecht (Sharon)

Cameron Von Criegern (Peterborough)



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