By Lisa Gervais

Haliburton native Mackenzie Robinson has made the top 100 of CBC Searchlight 2020, but needs voting help if he is to progress in the nationwide competition.

The contest invites musicians of any genre to submit an original song and compete for prizes courtesy of the Juno awards, the National Music Centre and CBC Music.

Robinson entered a song entitled I Know under the artist name Kashaga, a tribute to Lake Kashagawigamog, where he grew up.

 During the last round, 50 artists made it through by popular vote and the other 50 advanced by internal judging from a team of CBC music producers. Robinson was one of them.


The contest proceeds to the top 10 finalists on Thursday, Feb. 27, and finally, the winner of Searchlight 2020 will be declared on Thursday, March 5.

“I can’t even explain how excited I am to have made the top 100 for CBC Searchlight 2020,” Robinson told The Highlander.

He said when he found out he was part of the hand-selected group, it “blew my mind. I never expected to move on to the next round, so this is huge for me. Even if I don’t make it to Top 10, I’m just happy I entered the competition.”

He said he’s doing his best to promote himself on social media to get as many people to vote for him as he can.

“This next step into Top 10 is a very short time period of five days, (voting ends Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. EST), so the pressure is on.”

Robinson said if he were to win the competition it would be a dream come true.

“Music is everything to me. It is my therapy, self expression, muse, escape, my best friend and my one true love.”

He started playing the drums at a very young age, largely inspired by early 2000’s Pop-Punk bands such as Blink 182, GOB, Billy Talent and others. He said his drumming transitioned into the world of Jazz and he is forever thankful he dove into that genre.

“It is so powerful and still such a heavy influence on the music I make and listen to today.”

He said that it was at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School that he found his love for Hip Hop through a collective called, Odd Future, which he said plays a huge role in inspiring the lyrical side of his music.

“When I began recording my own music, I labelled my self as a ‘Rapper’ but over the years I have found my voice in singing and I prefer the title of an ‘Artist.’ Although my music is mostly Hip-Hop based, I enjoy blending all of my favourite genres into one cohesive sound.” 

He said the best way to follow his journey of music is through his Instagram, ‘Kxshaga’. He said all of his music content is on all platforms but he has the most attention from fans on Spotify. “There’s something nice about having a name that pays homage to the place that shaped who I am,” he added.  
He said winning the competition would be the next step in making his passion become a career.

“I, like many other artists, doubt myself all of the time. Making the Top 100 has really shown me that what I’m doing is the right thing. If I win, then I will be more focused than ever to push this dream into reality and be successful in the music industry. I’m not looking for ‘fame’ or ‘clout’, but if my music can touch people and help get people through tough times, I will consider myself a success. The exposure from being in this competition will be a huge help in making this happen and I will be forever grateful if I make it to number one.”

To vote, go to

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