Courtesy of Kai Calvato - Blues singer Layla Zoe, who grew up in Errington and Bowser, recently won big at the Unsigned Only Music Competition in Nashville.

Vancouver Island blues singer wins big in Nashville

Layla Zoe takes gold in ‘Unsigned Only’ songwriting competition

Noted blues singer Layla Zoe, who grew up in Errington and Bowser, has won big at the Unsigned Only music competition in Nashville for an original song off her latest album.

Her song ‘The Deeper They Bury Me’ placed first in the blues category at the annual competition in Tennessee.

Zoe has entered the competition before, but never with this much success. In previous years, her songs have received top-three placements or honourable mentions, but this is the first time she’s taken home the big prize.

“This is the first time a song I wrote placed first in the blues category and I am very proud, especially since the subject matter of the song is important to me,” said Zoe.

The song is written about Herman Wallace, a black man who was imprisoned in solitary confinement in an Angola prison for 42 years for a crime he did not commit.

READ MORE: Layla Zoe jets off to new life in Germany

Zoe penned the award-winning track after watching a documentary about Wallace’s life.

The now-international blues artist grew up in the local area. She currently lives in the Netherlands, and says she misses life in Canada every day.

Zoe made the choice to move to Europe in 2013 to further her career, and the continent holds many perks for this blues singer.

“I love my Canadian fan base, they are wonderful people who LOVE the blues! But over here in Europe I can play many countries in the same tour because the distances are not as wide as in Canada, and there are venues who support blues music here from Monday to Sunday, which is harder and harder to find in Canada,” said Zoe.

Last year, she released her 13th album, entitled Gemini, which features her winning track.

READ MORE: Ailing blues performer getting help from friends

“I am very proud of that record. But each record I have made or been a part of, has told a story about my experiences at that time, so in that sense every album is special and important, just like the tattoos on my skin,” said Zoe.

After this, the songwriter will embark on a multiple-country tour in November, performing in Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Czech Republic, France, Belgium and Hungary.

Things are also looking good in Zoe’s personal life: she recently became engaged and is in the process of buying a house with her partner.

“The sky is the limit when you believe in yourself. And I could not have made it here, without the support and love I received and continue to receive back home on Vancouver Island,” said Zoe.

emily.vance@pqbnews.com

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