It’s been a whirlwind summer for Canadian country artist Eric Ethridge.

His self-released, self-titled debut EP was released in early July and peaked at No. 4 on iTunes’ Canadian country chart.

Now he has won the Grand Prize in the prestigious Unsigned Only, the annual music competition open to all artists who are not signed to a major record label. (Since Unsigned Only’’s inception in 2012, four Grand Prize winners have gone on to sign major label record deals.)

In addition to winning $20,000 in cash and $20,000 in merchandise and services, Ethridge – a native of Sarnia, Ontario – also receives one-on-one mentoring from a group of music industry executives, including Dan Chertoff (VP of A&R, RCA Records), Riggs Morales (VP of A&R and Artist Development, Atlantic Records), Nick Haussling (senior director of A&R, Concord Music), Kim Stephens (President, Forward Entertainment), Zoe Young (VP of A&R, Epic Records), Doug Johnson (VP of A&R, Black River Entertainment), and Allison Jones (Sr. VP of A&R, Big Machine Label Group).

““This opportunity has truly given me the chance to take my career to the next level and live my passion,” Ethridge said, “and for that, I’’ll be forever grateful.””

Winners were selected from more than 6,000 entries submitted from 95 countries. One overall Grand Prize winner and first- and second-place winners were selected in each category. Among this year’s judges were Aimee Mann, Grouplove, O.A.R., Frank Foster, David Crowder, Aaron Shust, Jack Ingram and Lydia Loveless.

Category winners: Denny (AAA), Sahara Beck (Adult Contemporary), Todd Tyler (Americana), Drew Greenway (Christian), Kaylee Bell (Country), Reign (EDM), Leon of Athens (Folk/Singer-Songwriter), Adrielle Bow Belle (Pop/Top 40), Denzil Porter (R&B/Hip-Hop), The Royal Foundry (Rock), Big Little Lions (Screenshot), Hailey Belle (Teen), Paul Loren (Vocal Performance) and Haddon Cord (Fandemonium, online public vote). See the complete list of winners at

Unsigned Only is accepting entries for the 2019 competition.

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