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"Adieu, Avril Lavigne"

EDMONTON -- Adieu, Avril Lavigne.
Meet Canada's next pop-punk spitfire -- Shiloh, no last name, thank you very much. "I'm a ninja," she says. "I don't have a last name."
At just 15, the former student at Edmonton's Allendale School is poised to become one of the breakout stars of 2009. Her first album for Universal Music Canada isn't due until March -- a title and release date are still pending -- but all signs point to success. Her first single, "Raise A Little Hell," was featured in Ashton Kutcher's last film, What Happens In Vegas. Her second, "Operator (A Girl Like Me)," is climbing the Top 40 radio and sales charts. She performed at Citytv's New Year's Eve bash in Toronto and expects to start touring in February or March.
With her dyed hair, black nail polish and sassy attitude, comparisons to Lavigne are inevitable, but Shiloh isn't trying to follow in the footsteps of Napanee, Ont.'s faux-punk princess. "Why would I want to be anybody else but me / I'm never gonna fake it," she points out on her defiant ska-pop ditty, "Operator (A Girl Like Me)."
Her confidence -- and independence -- will take her far, says James Stuart, vice-president and general manager of CHUM Radio Alberta, which owns The Bounce 91.7 FM.
In 2006, Shiloh won the pop station's talent search, impressing the judges with a rendition of Rihanna's "Pon De Replay." She's the second Showdown champ to score a record deal -- Edmonton's Kreesha Turner won in 2005.
"She's just a normal kid and that's not a bad thing," says Stuart.
"She's not a supermodel. She's not coming from a background of privilege. She's not the most popular kid in school. Other kids can relate to that very, very well. She'll never be a Pussycat Doll and I think that's a great thing for her. Avril Lavigne sort of came out with that normalness appeal but I think it was stripped away because she has cover-girl looks and all the wealth and trappings of it."
Shiloh says she was always known as the weird kid in school -- and she went to several. She was born in Abbotsford, B.C., and lived in various Saskatchewan cities before her family moved to Edmonton in 2006. She now lives in Toronto, and while her address changed every few years, her passion for music didn't. She grew up listening to her dad's record collection -- AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Van Halen, Metallica --and performing at music competitions. Shiloh knew she had a shot at the Showdown, but wasn't worried if she didn't win. She simply saw it as another opportunity to make industry connections.
"I've been doing this since Grade 2," she says. "Doing competitions, gigs, anywhere I could perform, I'd do it, because you never know who's watching you. I kept doing it and doing it because people were saying I was good and I thought, 'I might as well do this.' I was a boring child. I didn't want to go swimming. I didn't want to go skating. I wanted to sing. Yeah."
As part of her Showdown prize, Shiloh won the opportunity to work with Hipjoint, a team of Vancouver music producers. Together, they wrote and recorded several tunes, including "Operator (A Girl Like Me)," which led to a record deal with Universal Music Canada.
She says her upcoming debut is a mix of upbeat tunes and heartfelt, honest songs -- including "Ruin Me," a raw song about a not-so-nice phase in her life.
"I was having a bit of trouble finding out who I was," she says. "I was hurting a lot of people in the process. I wrote the song in five minutes. I was so upset because I was realizing what I was doing to people around me."
One of Hipjoint's producers, Mike James, has nothing but praise for Shiloh.
"She is easily one of most naturally gifted singers we've worked with in the last few years," he says.
"Singing, writing and performing is all second nature to her -- that's a rare thing. Combine that with her unique look and magnetic personality and you have all the makings of a star."
- Edmonton Journal / Canwest

"Fans agog over Lady Gaga at MMVAs; Nickelback takes most hardware"

TORONTO - Nickelback took home the most hardware, but provocative electro diva Lady Gaga was the talk of the MuchMusic Video Awards on Sunday.

Just a few months after dominating at the Juno Awards, Nickelback nabbed a leading three trophies in front of thousands of frenzied fans at an outdoor spectacle that also featured appearances from the Jonas Brothers, Black Eyed Peas and such teen-approved celebs as "Twilight" actors Taylor Lautner and Montreal's Rachelle Lefevre.

But it was Gaga who stole the show.

Demonstrating some serious imagination - even while clad in a studded one-piece that left little to it - Gaga performed a surreal medley of a remixed version of "LoveGame" and "Poker Face" during the streetside party.

Billed as a tribute to New York, Gaga began the performance trapped inside a fake subway car - which she later exploded with a stick of faux dynamite - and followed with a raunchy setpiece that featured fake police officers (they later stripped), gyrating, leather-clad dancers and finished with Gaga posing with sparklers shooting from her bustier.

"It was important for me to give my Canadian fans something that I felt they really earned," Gaga said backstage afterwards. "I felt like they really earned an incredible performance.

"And I just remember watching award shows when I was little and dreaming about being on the stage, and I wanted to be that for somebody else."

While the screeching throng outside MuchMusic headquarters on Queen Street West was clearly agog for Gaga, they also heaped plenty of love on the Jonas Brothers, who co-hosted, performed twice and won the "UR Fave" people's choice award for international video of the year for "Burnin' Up."

Fans began lining up for the show as early as 6 a.m. ET on a hot, sticky Toronto day. By mid-afternoon, an imposing queue of determined teens went all the way around the block.

"This is crazy," marvelled reigning "Canadian Idol" champ Theo Tams as he walked the red carpet. "I thought the Junos were crazy but this is madness!"

There were some typically over-the-top entrances.

Toronto R&B crooner Danny Fernandes cruised onto the red carpet on a shiny red motorcycle, while Vancouver pop-punk band Marianas Trench was preceded by a full marching band before arriving in a pickup truck adorned with pink and red balloons and streamers.

And while many guests honoured Father's Day by giving thanks to their dads, Billy Talent took it a step further by bringing their fathers onto the red carpet.

"All the dads are here, we were trying to dress them up just like us today," said drummer Aaron Solowoniuk, whose band took home the award for best international video for a Canadian group for "Rusted from the Rain." "We're making it into a family event."

Otherwise, the usually splashy show mostly lacked a signature shocking moment - in other words, no one mooned the camera Avril Lavigne-style or zipped around on a stolen wheelchair a la Blur's Damon Albarn.

In fact, Nickelback didn't even flinch when they were presented with their first award moments after exiting a mammoth black SUV and stepping onto the red carpet.

"Just for showing up?" asked frontman Chad Kroeger, whose Hanna, Alta., band took home awards for best video, best rock video and best post-production for "Gotta Be Somebody."

"This is great, I've never gotten out of a vehicle and had someone say: 'Here you go."'

The Black Eyed Peas didn't go home empty-handed either, winning for their ubiquitous electro-inflected anthem "Boom Boom Pow," which they also performed.

Surrounded by dancers in skintight zebra-print costumes, the veteran group incited the crowd into a rousing singalong of the infectious chorus, while Kelly Clarkson's powerful, no-frills performance of "My Life Would Suck Without You" stood as a reminder of why she was the first-ever winner of "American Idol."

Regina pop-punk singer Shiloh started her performance in a red telephone booth, while St. Catharines, Ont., hardcore group Alexisonfire closed theirs by launching bright pyro into the crisp night sky.

In addition to her eye-popping performance, Gaga also captured the audience's attention with a candid speech after accepting an award early on for best international video by an artist for her hit, "Poker Face."

"You guys make it so hard to love anywhere else," the eccentric 23-year-old said before hoisting the trophy in the air and saying: "To God and the gays!"

Appearances from Lautner induced the expected feverish shrieks - one fan wore a homemade cardboard hat with Lautner's picture and a plea for an autograph - while Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin provided a surprising moment when, after being asked how he would celebrate winning a MuchMusic award, he effortlessly hoisted VJ Tim Deegan over his shoulder.

Meanwhile, Fernandes - who, like Nickelback, entered the show armed with five nominations - took away one award, winning pop video of the year for "Private Dancer."

Alt-rockers the Midway State won two, taking the "UR Fave" new artist of the year and best independent video for "Never Again."

Montreal pop-punkers Simple Plan won the "UR Fave" best video award for "Save You," Enfield, N.S., rapper Classified won the hip-hop video category for his single, "Anybody Listening," which he also performed on the side stage and L.A. dance-pop quartet Girlicious won the most-watched video award for "Like Me."

In the technical categories, Vancouver pop-punk band Marianas Trench received the best director award for "Cross My Heart," while Toronto-based ska group Bedouin Soundclash won for best cinematography for "Until We Burn Into the Sun (The Kids Just Want a Long Song)." - The Canadian Press


Test single, 'All I Want', went Top 30 at Canadian Radio two falls ago. Three singles since then have all gone been a tremendous success at radio and video outlets.



She's been hailed as pop's newest post-punk princess, the latest offspring in an esteemed lineage of female rock upstarts whose bleached and bountiful roots have sprouted icons from Pat Benatar to Debbie Harry, from Gwen Stefani to Pink. But to those about to taste-test the audacious debut of 16 year old Canadian native Shiloh in the form of her inaugural U.S. album, Picture Imperfect, get ready for a firebrand delivery from an alpha-female powerhouse whose stylish swagger and knockout vocals blaze a formidable swath of original rock/pop wilderness all her own.

Her breakout stats north of the border have already established her as the debut star to watch in 2009. Her kick-off single, "Operator (A Girl Like Me)" reigned for months as a top selling Canadian single, gracing the platinum-plus MuchDance compilation, and propelling her to the top of Canada's Billboard Emerging Artist Chart with an eye-popping video inspiring dozens of fan-tributes as a youtube favorite (and recently crossing the one million-views milestone). It's the unique sense of 'self' that Shiloh preserves on her empowering signature song and the other 12 nuggets on her U.S. debut, Picture Imperfect, that separates her from the sound-alike sirens currently posing as interchangeable parts on the pop assembly line. "People like to point out how ‘Operator’ is about being yourself," she muses. "But the entire album is about being true to you. That's why I call the album 'Picture Imperfect,' - be comfortable being who 'you' are, warts and all. That even means don't imitate me. We all have our problems, our struggles and conflicts - kids and adults. I'm writing and singing out there to that kid growing up like me who only needs a little more confidence to set their own path."

The evocative Shiloh has definitively authored the soundtrack for such a journey. Hailed by the Canadian media as a 'pop-punk spitfire,' the new album sizzles and skews - fueled by an electrifying presence and a heightened sense of pop dynamics - it churns and challenges as it charts a course straight into the heart of what kids are texting about today. There's the piano-tinged power ballad "It's Not Me," which rejects the change-to-fit-in model forced on teenagers by peers and the media; the mesmerizing, heartfelt plea of "Ruin Me," one of the first songs Shiloh ever wrote, which one Canadian observer notes will resonate with the listener - aged 13 or 30 - purely on 'it's emotive power alone.' Then there's the Shiloh who likes to shock 'em as she rocks 'em - as on the plucky "Goodbye, You Suck," - an affable anthem epitomizing the daring of a self-actualized teen more than ready to turn the tables on all comers.

No need to even mention she's co-written the lions share of songs on her kick-off effort, the irrepressible Shiloh is embedded deep in the grain of every track, stepping up to the mic with a colorful array of producers/collaborators in tow, such as Rob Wells (Nick Lachey, Backstreet Boys), Rupert Gayle, Justin Forsley, and the Vancouver production team Hipjoint (Kelly Rowland, Kreesha Turner), who were first to score Shiloh's studio entrees. The impressive production roster reflects her take-charge attitude and her wide-lens range of influences, with all collaborators vouching that the young singer/songwriter packs a textured and tenacious artistic sensibility. More than a few critics have weighed in too, pointing to Shiloh's 'musical sixth-sense' that harkens all the way back to her early appreciation of her dad's classic record collection (he was a DJ) she used to rifle through when she was just a toddler. "I may have grown up on Van Halen, AC/DC, and Metallica, but that was just my starting point to get to here," she says. "I began exploring all kinds of music by the time I was in school and I never looked back."

She went on to form a nomadic bond with multiple styles and genres over the years, including one of her favorite female singers, Canadian icon Celine Dion. "I love the power of her voice. I also thrive on getting inspiration from artists you might not associate with me. There is so much great music out there, I believe kids should also be open minded when it comes to what they listen to. Sure, I love current rock, but I've also been known to be inspired by a group like Rascal Flatts. I'll get an idea after being inspired, and then I'll put my own weird twist to it. It could even be some blues or maybe a Frank Sinatra song," she laughs.

A quick sample of the debut album's brisk roundhouse of musical styles confirms Shiloh's embrace of the sonically infinite. "She has a wikipedic knowledge of music past and present," confirms one Canadian music executive. A self-confessed master of the iTunes shuffle - the multi-influenced, multi-tasking Shiloh is quick to proclaim she ain't your mother's pop idol. (Her mom, by the way, affirms that the precocious Shiloh was turning heads at 3, singing in the cart at the local