Canadian Music CEO Awards Full Scholarship

Allen Bush
July 20, 2009
Samantha Schultz, rising star in Canada at 17, will come to Berklee this fall, thanks to the Slaight Family Scholarship.
Canadian music CEO Gary Slaight established the Slaight Family Scholarship for Canadians with outstanding talent and potential.

Samantha Schultz, 17, of Edmonton, Alberta, has been awarded the prestigious Slaight Family Scholarship, established by Gary Slaight, for study at Boston's Berklee College of Music. Slaight, president and CEO of Slaight Communications and an Edmonton native, created the scholarship for Canadian students who demonstrate outstanding musical merit and potential. With tuition, housing, fees, and the required laptop covered, Schultz will enter Berklee, the world's largest college of contemporary music, this September.

Schultz auditioned for Berklee in February at Grant MacEwan Community College, in Edmonton, one of two Canadian sites where more than 100 students performed for Berklee reps. Mark Campbell, Berklee associate vice president for enrollment, recalled, "Samantha gave an extraordinary audition and made a very strong impression on our interview team. She is a rare talent—thoughtful, modest, and musically gifted. We're very excited to have her join our community."

"Being in the music industry for my entire professional career, I know the value of education in breaking down doors to areas like performance, teaching, and business and management," says Slaight. "Samantha is incredibly talented and has a solid foundation now, but I know the impact Berklee has on its students, and can't imagine how she will flourish and grow. I've seen it with my daughter, Ali, who is in her third year there. It has been a joy for our family to support promising Canadian talent, and we are delighted to support Samantha in her journey from Edmonton to the world's musical stage." 

Schultz is making a name for herself on the Edmonton music scene and beyond. She is a singer, songwriter, and guitar player who started making music at 11. Audiences have noted her ability to move them with high-spirited vocals or emotional ballads. Her original songs, heard on the debut CD Both Sides, are rooted in folk, blues, and soul music. 

With a live presence that has been steadily unfolding over the last few years, Schultz will make appearances this summer in British Columbia at the Roots and Blues Festival in Salmon Arm, and the Music and Arts Festival in Kelowna. She's already a veteran performer of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, and the Vancouver Island Musicfest, as well as in clubs throughout Edmonton and Calgary. She has opened for Ruthie Foster, Kyle Riabke, Lynn Miles, and Cindy Church, among others. Schultz was the youngest nominee in the Young Performer of the Year category at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. 

"I am so exited to be going to Berklee," says Schultz. "My plan after high school was to take time off to pursue my music career, but the Berklee audition changed that. It opened me up to the possibilities that this school can provide. Music is my passion. I can honestly say I haven't considered another career since the age of 12. By the generosity of the Slaight Family Scholarship, I'm sure Berklee will change me in ways I don't even yet know, and if I work hard, maybe I can offer something in return."

Slaight is president and CEO of Slaight Communications Ltd., formerly Standard Radio Inc., which holds varied equity interest in Milestone Radio, Haliburton Broadcasting, MapleMusic, Puretracks, Travelwire, and Sirius Canada. Slaight created Canada's National Songwriting Contest and the Canadian Music Awards. He is an inductee to the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, and on the board of directors of the Toronto International Film Festival Group, MapleMusic, and Astral Media. Slaight has received awards for his community service, and is a director emeritus of the Sick Children's Hospital Foundation.