Thompson resident Chris Sharpe has launched his own television talent contest called Urban Star. Originally from London, Ont., and a graduate of Red River College in Winnipeg, Sharpe says the show is similar to others like, American Idol or The Apprentice, but unique as well.
“Shows like American Idol are just for singing, and it’s people performing other people’s songs,” said Sharpe, “on Urban Star, the performers span the entire urban genre, so whether they rap, or sing R&B or reggae, or pop, or country music, and they all perform original material.”
Sharper first became involved with music when he was 14 years old, doing promotions and working at record labels, and it has been a passion of his ever since.
“I’ve always wanted to do something that includes my favourite loves,” said Sharpe, “I still work in entertainment and do what I love, but I still wanted to have something as a hobby.”
Sharpe, who works for the City of Thompson’s Recreation, Parks and Culture Department, jokes that the slow moving summers in Thompson played a big role in the shows inception, and without the down time he was afforded he may have never come up with the idea.
“I would just spend my time sitting in Maclean Park relaxing and coming up with ideas,” said Sharpe, “had I still been in the big city where there’s so much going on all the time I don’t think I would have been able to find time to actually sit down and put this together.”
The show was spawned in 2010 in Winnipeg, and has grown to a seven-city, Canada-wide competition that is aired nationally on Shaw Cable Systems. Sharpe takes on all facets of the show, from writing to producing to judging the competition itself.
“It’s great how much the show has grown, from this little competition in Winnipeg to where it is today,” said Sharpe, “I get calls from all over the place for people who want to be on the show, I’ve even had a call from someone in Trinidad who wanted the show to come out there.”
While Sharpe has travelled all over the country for the show’s audition tour, he is still proud to label the show as a Thompson product.
“I’ve lived here for three years now, and wherever I live that’s the place that I call home, so I consider myself a Thompsonite and this is where the show got off the ground,” said Sharpe.
Urban Star has mainly been a Western Canada project, but Sharpe is hoping that in the near future they can expand to the East coast.
“We’d like to get to places like Ottawa, Windsor, Halifax,” said Sharpe, “we did Toronto last year, but we’d like to get even farther out east to really complete the circle.”
Urban Star airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. on Shaw Cable, and information on the show can be found online at: www.urbanstarcontest.com