SUMMERSIDE — Victory, literally, smells sweet to Taylor Sonier.
As she holds up 20 hundred-dollar bills, part of her prize package for winning the 2014 Maritime Idol Competition, she comments about their scent.
“They smell like maple syrup,” says the 16-year-old, to which her dad, Allan, after taking a sniff of the currency, agreed.
Sunday night in Shediac, N.B., before dozens of family and friends, Sonier was crowned Maritime Idol.
Hearing her name called was a shock.
“I didn’t expect it. There were so many other people there that I felt could have taken first. Anyone could have taken first place,” said the tired teen. “When they called me up my mom came running to the front of the stage, tears all down her face. Dad came up to the stage. He put me in tears.”
Music was always part of Sonier’s life, thanks to her dad, also a singer.
“Every single day he would be playing the guitar and singing away. When I was just four or five, my brother and my sister Kayla and me we’d be on Christmas Daddies with my dad,” said the Three Oaks Senior High student.
“He was the one that brought music into my life.”
She’s self-taught on the guitar, with some help from Dad.
For the past few years, Sonier has shared her talent, performing at various events, including the recent Boys and Girls Club of Summerside Celebrity Dinner.
“It just helps me through even a day that I’m bored or upset,” she said. “I enjoy doing it. When I go out and sing, I don’t do it for money. I do it because I love to do it. I like putting myself out there so people can hear the music I love to do.”
The past three years have been spent entering — and winning — various competitions across the Island. Her complete list of achievements and upcoming performances can be found on her Facebook page, Taylor Sonier Music —www.facebook.com/pages/Taylor-Sonier-Music/403181473125843.
Sonier’s most recent win was the top prize at the O’Leary Potato Blossom Festival Talent Competition, where she and duet partner Kendall Paugh captured third.
Sunday, though, Sonier, who usually can block out the crowd and do what she does best, which is sing and play guitar, was nervous.
“I was nervous because I only had the 10 minutes that day, just a few hours before I had to perform, to practise with the band. They got the wrong version of my song and they had it in the wrong key,” said the teen who likes to sing pop and country. “I had to show them which key, show them the right version and get the right notes in there so I was nervous. I didn’t know if the band was going to remember it because it was last minute.”
The day started with a sound check at 11:20 a.m.
That evening, it was show time. Each of the 22 contestants had the chance to wow the crowd and judges with just one song.
Sonier was 15th to perform, singing her rendition of Beyoncé’s “Resentment.”
“I am not saying that I did the best I could or I could have done better, I just did it the way I did it,” she said of her performance.
There were seven more performers after her. Then, there came the long wait for the final results. The audience and judges had equal say in who won the competition, each accounting for 50 per cent of the vote.
As the third-place winner and the second were announced, Sonier never imagined that her name would be next.
“Honestly, it didn’t matter to me, whether I won or came in last place,” said the teen. “All of us making it that far and even just getting up on stage every time we went to perform, that’s winning for me.”
Second place went to 12-year-old Alexandre Richard and third was Miranda March.
Among Sonier’s prize package is a recording session where she will have the chance to put together a 12-track CD, something she hoped to do outside of Maritime Idol.
A songwriter as well, she hopes to record at least one original tune.
And, later this summer, Sonier will compete in the P.E.I. Youth Talent Competition.
That takes place Aug. 29 during L’Exposition agricole et le Festival acadien de la region Evangeline.
So, what song will she render for that performance?
Sonier might just belt out the Beyoncé song that won her Maritime Idol.
To view some of Sonier’s Maritime Idol performances, visit http://mitube.pro.