It’s official, after a weekend of competition Riley Taylor has been named the 2021 Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist. It was a tough choice between him and Andy Bast, but ultimately the judges made the tough call.
From small-town New Brunswick, Riley came into this competition as an underdog. Leading up to the Boots & Hearts weekend, he was a hard man to find. We even had a hard time finding an image of him to use when he was announced as a finalist a few months ago.
With just a light social media presence, and no official music released, it was easy to underestimate him in the competition. But as soon as he hit the stage on Friday August 6, 2021 it was clear he offered something special. He opened his mouth and everyone knew he was going to be a contender.
Earlier in the day we had the chance to connect with Riley. We were so interested to learn everything about him.
About Riley Taylor’s Journey To Boots & Hearts
He’s from a small town called Burton, New Brunswick. When he submitted his audition tape he didn’t quite realize what he was entering at first. He joked that he thought he was just entering to win tickets to Boots & Hearts, and didn’t realize it was to play on the Boots & Hearts stage … and the chance at some great prizes.
“It’s just crazy to me,” Riley said. “I’ve been playing campfires and house parties and small fires and stuff … I kinda just threw my video into this contest to see what happens.”
He’s only been to Ontario a couple times, so I asked him what he thought when he got here. “I can’t believe it,” he said. “We pulled in [to Burl’s Creek] and I saw the stage and I just started laughing my ass off. I’ve never even seen a stage that big. It was like ‘wow, okay I’m going to play on that in a couple hours … that’s pretty sweet.'”
One thing was clear … he was soaking it all in and so happy to be there. From walking backstage, to performing on the stage, to singing along in the crowd, Riley had the biggest smile on this face the entire time. It was clear that he was enjoying himself.
And when he was on stage, it was clear he was going to make it to the next round. The audience even cheered his name when he was done. Ultimately he and Andy Bast were selected as the two finalists.
The Moment Riley Taylor Was Crowned The Emerging Artist
Riley and Andy both took to the stage before Jess Moskaluke to play one last song for the crowd and for the judges. Riley was up on the stage in front of thousands of people with just him and his guitar. He gave a performance that reminded us of Jade Eagleson when he won the showcase a few years ago.
When it was time for the winner to be announced, both Riley and Andy stood on the stage side-by-side. They glanced at each other a few times and nodded to say good luck.
It came to the moment when they made the announcement. Riley Taylor had become the Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist. The look of shock and disbelief hit Riley’s face and it was quickly followed by absolute joy.
Riley has won:
- A single release with Warner Music Canada
- The opportunity to perform at the 2022 Boots & Hearts Music Festival
- Professional songwriting Sessions
- Management sessions from Invictus Entertainment
This isn’t the last we’ve heard from Riley. He’s going to have a huge year ahead of him. He’s going to take part in some great songwriting sessions with some of the best songwriters in the business. He’ll also receive some management sessions with Invictus Entertainment, and have a song released to the world!
We can’t wait to see what’s next for Riley. Whatever it is, we know it’ll be great and he’s going to win over the country’s heart with that golden smile. Stay tuned for more from Riley Taylor.