Musician makes it to finals in Calgary Stampede Talent Search
By: Allison Chorney
| Posted: Thursday, Jul 17, 2014 10:23 am
Brad Fleicsher may be best known in Airdrie as the lead singer for the rock band STORM, but the 20 year old is also no stranger to performing on his own and has competed in the Calgary Stampede Talent Search for the last seven years.
“I’ve always just been determined to do my best,” Fleicsher said.
“(The Talent Search) sort of marks the beginning of my musical career because I’ve been performing for seven years.”
This year the local musician made it to the finals in the competition and said he is proud of how far he’s come.
“I was 13 when I started and that first year I was shaking so badly I couldn’t even plug in my guitar amp,” he said. “Seven years later and I’ve made it to the finals of 250 people that tried out. That sort of starts out as a bench mark of where I am.”
The Calgary Stampede Talent Search (formerly known as the Youth Talent Showdown) is an annual competition that takes place during the Calgary Stampede for amateur performing artists between the ages of 6 and 21.
This year’s five-day preliminary competition included performances from more than 60 contestants from across Canada. The 24 semi-finalists who were awarded the highest points in the preliminary round then performed at the Boyce Theatre in the Stampede Grounds on July 11 to 12 and the finalists were selected.
“For the finals, people were lining up out the doors,” Fleicsher said, adding the theatre seats 500. “It felt great. It always does, whether it’s 15 people in a small-town bar or 1,000 people.”
Fleicsher said he’s tried several different things throughout the years at the competition but thinks he’s finally figured out what works best in the last two years. He said the trick for this competition is to choose something upbeat and catchy.
“Chose something more relatable that people can get into,” he said.
Last year he made it to the finals performing an original song but this year he decided to do a cover of House of the Rising Sun by the Animals.
“I really rocked it up,” he said of the song. “I tried to focus on the frustration of the lyrics of the song. It was a pretty heavy rendition.”
He said even though he has yet to make it to the top four in the competition, he plans on participating again next year for the last time as he will be 21, the contest’s age limit.
“Some people don’t like to hear the word no too many times but that’s not something that scares me away from the experience,” Fleicsher said. “If you’ve seen the rollercoaster go down enough times you know it will come back up.”
He admitted the first few years he found it difficult to come back to the competition the following year but added he is proud of how far he has come.
“I’m glad I didn’t give up,” he said.
He said the experience has allowed him to learn a lot about music, himself as a performer and gave him the opportunity to meet new people and become a better performer each year.
“Don’t let your hopes get crushed by anything. If you really want something, you have to be able to push through the no’s and work towards the yes,” he said.
Up next for Fleicsher and STORM is the opening ceremonies for the 2014 Alberta Summer Games on July 24.
“We’ve been asked to do two original songs,” he said. “I take that as a big complement because we are only doing four songs.”
The band will also be doing several private performances over the summer including one in Invermere, B.C.
“That will mark our first out-of- province show,” he said.
For more information on Fleicsher and STORM, visit stormband.ca