Celine Dion, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson. What do these artists have in common? Well, if you were to ask the red and black haired spitfire from Regina, Sask., known simply as Shiloh, she’d tell you they’re her biggest influences. That and “a lot of ’80s music,” thanks to her dad.

Her feisty, radio-friendly tunes like Operator (A Girl Like Me) and Goodbye, You Suck suggest this 16-year-old was raised on a steady diet of crunchy pop punk, but get her talking about Celine Dion and Shiloh is in awe.

“She’s worked really hard to get to where she is today,” she says. “(Celine’s) extremely focused and stays in shape, and she’s got an amazing voice, determination, motivation, and the drive to be the best she can be.”

While Shiloh’s just released her debut album, Picture Imperfect, the way she describes Canada’s most successful export it’s as if she’s planning a similar path for her burgeoning career.

After winning a radio contest in Edmonton, Shiloh signed a worldwide deal with Universal Republic and has spent the last two and a half years making the album. She calls it the “best feeling in the world” to finally have Picture Imperfect available to her growing legion of fans, so she can continue spreading a message that she feels is important to hear.

“The message is just being yourself and never letting that go because that’s one thing that you can always keep,” she says. “Nobody can take who you are away from you, no matter how you dress or who you are.”

Though most of the album focuses on the importance of being yourself, Shiloh’s favourite song is actually the kiss off anthem Goodbye, You Suck, which she wrote about an unsuspecting ex-boyfriend of hers. “It was to a guy I was with who was a complete and total jerk, so I wrote a song about it because I just hated him at the time,” she says laughing. “I’ve talked to him in the last while and it’s totally fine. It’s a little bit awkward though because he asked me one day if the song was about him and I just said no.”

The song will definitely be a crowd favourite on her 17-date headlining Canadian tour throughout August and September. “The tour is gonna be so exciting,” she exclaims. “I’m looking forward to getting out there with the band to see all of my fans. They’re gonna be energy packed shows. I like to call it an ADHD show because I like to run around and be crazy. It’s gonna be absolutely amazing.”

Shiloh plays
Toronto: CNE Bandshell on Aug. 30.

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