Folk singer Hillary Dumoulin wins annual Songs Revealed competition

By day, a venue of greasy food and enticing aromas. By night, a concert hall occupied by cheering family, friends, fans, and wide-eyed, young artists looking to make their mark.


The 15th annual Songs Revealed competition, part of the Reel Music Festival in early April, took place at the Marketplace in Durham College.

Among six eager competitors, Lakefield singer-songwriter Hillary Dumoulin was the artist walking out of the event the first place winner.

The top prize consisted of recording time, a photo shoot, Durham College swag, and cash.

Dumoulin did not enter the competition with the sole intention of winning, but said it was an “awesome surprise.”

“I was just so excited to have been chosen to be a part of such a cool event, and get to share my songs with an audience and professionals who could give me advice,” said Dumoulin. “I’ve been recognized before for my voice and performances but this was a first for songwriting.”

Dumoulin faced strong competition from artists of all genres, including rap, rock, country, and spoken word.

Her folk stylings were enough to wow an industry judges panel, consisting of producer Gabe Gallucci, USS manager Liam Killeen, and singer-songwriter David Leask.

The experts praised Dumoulin for her attractive voice, and authenticity.

Leask, who has won multiple awards including first place in the International Songwriting Competition, said he picked Dumoulin because she had the “best songs.”

“She had a strong sense of songcraft, an original turn of phrase, and a great marriage of beautiful melodies and lyrics,” Leask said.

The judges’ comments varied between acts, and were often constructive. They relayed their expert advice in hopes of developing the artists’ performances, songwriting, and overall confidence.

Acts such as second place winners Jess and Tay, and third runner-up 17-year old Tie Bonds took the positive remarks about their performances, and negative comments about their song structures in stride. All performers left the stage thanking the judges for their opinion and criticism.

Songs Revealed is put on by the students in Durham College’s Music Business Management program, and has been an avenue for musicians to receive this type of guidance for the last 15 years.

The event had a ticket price of $5, with all the proceeds going to The SickKids Foundation.

A sense of positivity flowed between artists and audience. Those in attendance had smiles plastered on their faces, and bobbed to not only the acts they came to see, but other performers as well.

For Dumoulin, support she received from her peers and advice from the industry professionals was the real prize.

“No matter how much you know, you don’t know everything, and it’s great to gain insight from industry professionals,” said Dumoulin. “I know some of the things the judges said to me I will carry forward into my songwriting from now on.

“Songs Revealed and events like it give you the chance to network with other artists and sharpen up your live performance which is also very important.”