Rebecca Strong wins Canada’s Got Talent

May 23, 2024, 2:02 pm
Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Rebecca Strong of the Black Lake Denesuline First Nation won Canada’s Got Talent.

A young woman with a local connection, 20 year-old Rebecca Strong of the Black Lake Denesuline First Nation has won Canada’s Got Talent and becoming Saskatchewan’s newest millionaire as a result. During her rise to the top of the competition’s third season, Strong was given a Golden Buzzer which meant a $25,000 award and a ticket straight to the semi-finals.

Last Tuesday night, Strong, whose father is from Maryfield, amazed judges and voters across Canada with her simply epic performance of Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep.’

“Thank you, Rogers, and thank you to everyone who voted for me. Thank you to my family and friends and everyone back home. Thank you so much, marsi cho,” Rebecca said after the big announcement was made.

She recalled that moment being a whirlwind - one that was still spinning when I caught up with her a day after her million-dollar performance.

“It was insane. Honestly, I don’t even know how to put it into words,” Rebecca said. “It was a once in a lifetime thing, and I can’t believe it.”

As for the prize money she’s earned, Rebecca plans to invest, help her parents, and purchase equipment to build a home studio. She did list one indulgence: a hot pink pickup truck, likely a Ford.

“Maybe they’ll let me do a commercial!” she replied with a laugh.

“She’s a very conservative girl, and I know that she doesn’t have any vices,” added her father, Glen Strong, who is originally from Maryfield. “She won the hearts of many people. We’re so proud of that.”

The million-dollar prize is also a historic feat, as Canada’s Got Talent judge Howie Mandel pointed out.

“Rogers just awarded the biggest cash prize in Canadian television history, enabling a true talent the ability to reach their potential. It doesn’t get more magical than that,” he said.

Reaching the pinnacle of Canada’s Got Talent is a huge milestone for Rebecca’s musical future and will no doubt propel her talents.

“Everything feels amazing, honestly. That’s the only way I can describe it is amazing. And unreal,” described Rebecca of the journey through the competition. “This is the end of my Canada’s Got Talent, but the start of my career.”

When asked about favoured musical genres, Rebecca pointed to soulful artists in the vein of Adele when performing. As for her listening appetite, it’s mainly rap and pop artists that feature highly.

There’s also a certain camaraderie between those vying for top spot in Canada’s Got Talent, friendships Rebecca wants to see continue after Season 3 has now wrapped.

“I hope that we all keep in touch from now on,” she said. “My friend Eshan (Sobti, a singer from Mission, BC), I met him through the show. I know that we will be lifelong friends.”

Music a family tradition
Rebecca first took to a stage at the tender age of five, delighting an audience at the Prince Albert Winter Festival with her take on the John Denver classic ‘Leavin’ on a Jet Plane’. Eventually, Rebecca and her sisters Amanda and Allison would join their father as the family band Thunder and the Sky Dancers. Glen, a musician for around 50 years, is actually on the shortlist for an SCMA award this year in the Emerging Artist of the Year category.

“She always has been passionate about that and dedicated to become a star,” Glen said proudly of Rebecca. “To see her be rewarded like this, of course it’s fantastic.”

“It’s fantastic for the Indigenous population who got behind her and supported her,” Glen continued. “They’re so happy to have somebody with an Indigenous background; to have somebody propel themselves towards a great goal like that. Inspiring for all the other groups that want to be - and think that can’t do it - but they just have to believe in themselves and go for it.”

As for being considered as a role model for youth, Rebecca remains humble, and maybe a little awestruck by process.

“It is very, very crazy,” she said. “I mean, I was a kid not too long ago looking for a role model, and now I am that role model!”

Support from family and friends was huge with many hailing from Saskatchewan travelling to see their hometown hero live on stage. Glen noted more than 30 family members made the trip to Niagara Falls to watch Rebecca perform.

“Some drove out from Saskatchewan, that’s a 36 hour drive out here,” he said. “We’re dedicated!”

Perhaps it was the strong presence of family at that final performance that nudged Rebecca on.

“I always perform for my family,” she said. “That is one way that my nerves can be handled is just performing for them. They’ll support me no matter what.”

Rebecca noted she plans to return to Prince Albert shortly, but will enjoy taking a breather before launching into the next chapter of her musical career.

“I’ll be going back home soon,” she confirmed. “I’m going to be spending my time here with my family, just relaxing and enjoying my time here and celebrating.”