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Charitable Registration No: 889896924RR0001


August 15, 2016

North York’s Ayaz Virani Wins Canada’s Walk Of Fame 2016
Emerging Artist Music Mentorship Program Grand Prize

The Second Prize Winner and Finalists hail from Winnipeg, MB; Sydney, NS;
Lindsay, ON; Okotoks, AB; Edmonton, AB; and West Kelowna, BC

To tweet this release: https://clicktotweet.com/zEo1a

(Toronto, ON) August 15, 2016 – Chosen by a selection committee of music industry experts, Canada’s Walk of Fame announced today that Ayaz Virani of North York, Ontario is the Grand Prize winner of its Emerging Artists Music Mentorship Programsupported by RBC, as part of Canada’s Walk of Fame Emerging Artists Programs and Scholarships. The program, valued at more than $100,000, provides musicians with the opportunity to grow and develop their skills and industry connections, and take their budding music careers to the next level.

Seven talented finalists were selected from more than 350 hopefuls from coast-to-coast who submitted applications that ranged across all genres of music.

The winners and finalists of this year’s Emerging Artist Music Mentorship Program supported by RBC are:

Grand Prize Winner: Ayaz Virani – North York, ON
Second Prize Winner: Faouzia Ouihya – Winnipeg, MB
Finalist: Dave Sampson – Sydney, NS
Finalist: The Kents – Lindsay, ON
Finalist: Jake Vance – Okotoks, AB
Finalist: Nuela Charles – Edmonton, AB
Finalist: Ben Klick – West Kelowna, BC

To view the video submissions from the seven winners visit: http://bit.ly/2016EAMMPWinners

“There is no shortage of promising young Canadian musicians looking for their big break into the music industry,” said Melanie Hurley, Chief Executive Officer, Canada’s Walk of Fame. “Our Emerging Artist Music Mentorship Program continues to provide the next generation of Canadian musicians with exposure, mentorship and professional development opportunities with music industry leaders, as well as a platform to share their music with Canadians and expand their fan bases.”

As the Grand Prize winner, Virani will receive $25,000, private studio recording time, introduction to at least one established music artist, introductions to music industry executives, a public performance opportunity at an upcoming Canada’s Walk of Fame event, and album cover artwork design.

The 24-year-old singer-songwriter from North York embodies the true spirit of an emerging artist. As a burgeoning musician putting his own unique spin on hits like Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars’s “Billionaire” and Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black”, Virani began to develop a dedicated fan base. Drawing inspiration from some of his favourite artists, Virani put his pen to paper and began crafting his own unique blend of guitar driven pop-rock/R&B. As Virani puts it, “I’m just a chill guy from Toronto, writing songs in my mom's basement, and trying to let the world hear my voice. Hope you’ll listen.” 

A cash prize of $7,000 will be awarded to Ouihya for Second Prize and cash prizes of $1,200 each will be given to the five finalists, in addition to an opportunity to perform publically at a Canada’s Walk of Fame event. All will also be invited to participate in a private music industry career development information session with Q&A. The approximate value of the prizing in total is over $100,000 CDN.

RBC’s support of The Emerging Artist Music Mentorship Program is part of their focus on helping artists in the early stages of their careers through the RBC Emerging Artists Project.

“You can see the tangible success of many of the former winners and finalists of the Emerging Artist Music Mentorship Program supported by RBC. These are some remarkably talented musicians!” said Valerie Chort, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, RBC. “Supporting artists of all disciplines at the early stage to help them reach the next level is our primary goal at RBC and we congratulate all the winners and finalists as they continue on their musical journey.”

A panel of judges including members of Canada’s Walk of Fame senior management team and Board of Directors, as well as prominent music industry executives and artists, selected the winners.

The Emerging Artist Music Mentorship Program, supported by RBC is part of Canada’s Walk of Fame Emerging Artists Programs and Scholarships and a series of national programs and events that include the Canada’s Walk of Fame televised show, which is broadcast nationally on Global.

Canada’s Walk of Fame gratefully acknowledges the support of our 2016 National Sponsors: Cineplex Entertainment, NBCUniversal, Slaight Communications and Air Canada.

About Canada’s Walk of Fame

Established in 1998, Canada’s Walk of Fame recognizes and celebrates Canadians who excel in their respective fields, fuelling our sense of Canadian pride and inspiring the next generation to follow in their footsteps. The foremost honour for cultural excellence in Canada, Canada’s Walk of Fame presents year-round events and programs to educate and foster pride among Canadians, support Canadian culture and provide a platform for emerging talent in Canada. Programs include a festival featuring some of Canada’s most popular and iconic performers, as well as emerging artists from across the country, the Peter Soumalias Unsung Hero Honour recognizing Canadians making a difference in their community, the Emerging Artist Music Mentorship program, and the nationally televised broadcast designated by the CRTC as a program of national interest. To date, 161 stars recognizing remarkable Canadians have a permanent place of tribute on Canada’s Walk of Fame in the streets of Toronto’s Entertainment District. For a complete list of inductees along with more information on Canada’s Walk of Fame visit: www.canadaswalkoffame.com.

Canada’s Walk of Fame became a national registered charity in 2012. Charitable Registration Number 889896924RR0001.

About RBC

Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have over 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 36 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.‎

RBC helps communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2015, we contributed more than $121 million to causes around the world. 


Andrea McLoughlin
Holmes PR
416-628-5609 / amcloughlin@holmespr.com

Adrienne Kakoullis
Holmes PR
416-628-5610 / akakoullis@holmespr.com

Jason Graham
Manager, Brand and Corporate Citizenship Communications
416-313-5783 / jason.graham@rbc.com