It’s been 10 years since Canadians have had the chance to showcase their talents in the hopes of winning the popular television show Canada’s Got Talent, and this week a Barrie resident was among those hopefuls
A copywriter by day and singing LARP-er by night (live action role player), Rachel Mortaley — otherwise known as Rachel The Bardbarian — took her act to Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort's Avalon Theatre last November.
There, the 28-year-old had the chance to compete on the big stage in front of the panel of celebrity judges — including comedian Howie Mandel, WWE legend Trish Stratus, YouTube star Lilly Singh and rapper Kardinal Offishall — for the second aeason of Canada’s Got Talent.
The popular talent competition aims to discover the “most unique, skilled, heartwarming and showstopping performers” the country has to offer.
Mortaley, who sang You Better Run by the Unions, says she likes singing songs with strong vocals such as anything by Adele. She also enjoys performing what she described as “medieval-type” songs, including Ed Sheeran’s I See Fire, which was written for the movie The Hobbit.
A self-described “shy” person, Mortaley says combining her singing with LARP allows her to come out of her shell.
“Creating these characters helps me gain a lot of confidence in myself, so I put that together with singing because I also love singing,” she tells BarrieToday not long after her episode aired.
It was Mortaley’s mother who first learned about the show's return and who told her about the call for auditions.
“I had just gotten married, and I had a spark of bravery and I said I was just going to go for it. … And so I did! This is the first time that I was on a big stage or singing live in front of people," she says. "I am usually very, very shy. … It took a few months for me to even sing in front of my husband. So this was definitely a big step for me.”
Mortaley, who admitted to BarrieToday that until that point she’d really only performed for her pets and her husband, was stunned when she learned she’d be heading to Niagara Falls to compete live in front of the judges.
“I ran downstairs screaming! My husband wondered if I was OK. I was very, very excited,” she says, noting she filmed her audition, which aired April 5, in November 2021.
Even though she didn’t make it past the first round, she described the entire experience as being “legendary” and she's extremely proud of what she accomplished.
“Just looking back, I am pretty overwhelmed with how incredible it was just being on the stage. I am a huge Trish Stratus fan, so being able to see her in the flesh was pretty incredible,” she says. “The fact that I got through the entire song and did not forget the lyrics, I am very proud of that.
“I got one yes, from Trish, and that’s what I will focus on. They said I was 'fun,' which was really great. I think it’s really important to be brave and do things you’re not comfortable with to grow as a person, so I absolutely think it was worth it.”