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Harriston woman's singing lands her first place in talent competition

'It gave me an opportunity to focus on something that I enjoyed and loved, and reunited me to it'
20220408 Emily MacRobbie AD
Emily MacRobbie of Harriston in The Great Community Talent Search.

HARRISTON – A local woman hit all the right notes with an audience of a virtual talent competition. 

Emily MacRobbie placed first in the Drayton Entertainment’s Great Community Talent Search for her cover of the Bob Dylan song Make You Feel My Love.

The series, which began airing episodes online in January, highlighted non-professional performers of all ages. After wrapping up last week, MacRobbie said she got a call on Thursday from Drayton Entertainment notifying her she was the winner.

“When I saw the call I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know whether it was a let-down call or a call to let me know,” said MacRobbie, who didn’t expect it. “I was thrilled to hear that the audience had selected me.”

As a child, MacRobbie said she was always singing. She participated in a choir, took singing lessons and went on to compete in competitions and join musicals. 

After graduating high school, MacRobbie said life got in the way and music became more of a hobby. 

It wasn’t until the pandemic happened that MacRobbie got back to singing and began posting covers on YouTube. She said the feedback she was getting from family, friends and people online, reignited her passion.

Then, her mom reached out about the Great Community Talent Search and encouraged MacRobbie to apply.

“It just seemed like the right timing,” said MacRobbie about the decision. “I had just started singing again, and wanted to find ways that I could share my talent, and this seemed like a good opportunity to do that.”

“It gave me an opportunity to focus on something that I enjoyed and loved, and reunited me to it.”

In September 2021, MacRobbie was notified she was one of nine finalists from across Ontario, and got invited to be professionally recorded at Drayton Entertainment’s theatre location in Cambridge.  

“It was all pretty, I guess, secretive,” said MacRobbie about the experience. “I showed up and I waited in a dressing room-type of area, and then when I got onto the stage, there were lights, camera, a full sound crew and all those  things, and it was a fun experience to go through and get direction from all of them.

“I did a couple of takes and that was it.”

MacRobbie mentions hearing the song Make You Feel My Love done by many artists in different variations, including one performance done on an episode of Nashville. She said the song worked well with her voice, which is why she chose to perform it.

“Make sure that you’re picking the right song that’s going to resonate with people,” said MacRobbie, advice she would give to future contestants. 

Overall, MacRobbie said this competition has been a good opportunity and experience for her. While she works full-time and has a family, she is happy to be reunited with singing again.

“I was thrilled to just have the opportunity to work with the Drayton team and to share my passion.”