Nick Babcock’s fateful leap could lead to a Launch

After years of being in a band, Nick Babcock decided to try his luck as a solo artist.

Now he’s one of the contestants on this season of The Launch, CTV’s singing competition in which a different group of singers work with a different celebrity mentor and producer each week in the hopes of “launching” both a song and their careers.

Babcock appears on The Launch on February 20, working with celebrity mentor Jann Arden and producer Shaun Frank. He’s the only guy on his episode and, at age 25, the oldest one of that week’s group.

“The other girls were between 16 and 20… I was struggling with the lingo,” he laughed. “It definitely put my age in perspective, but it was cool.”

Arden and Frank brought in their expertise and perspectives from opposite sides of the musical spectrum, with Arden’s longstanding reputation and familiarity in the Canadian music world and Frank’s biggest work to date being his collaboration with the Chainsmokers.

The Launch isn’t like The Voice or American Idol in that contestants come in with a list of covers and originals they want to perform in order to advance. Each week is a kind of self-contained season, Babcock said. The producers and mentors have a song they’re looking to match with the artist best suited for it.

Each singer does bring one cover and one original song to perform in order to try and show their range. For his cover, Babcock sang Redbone by Childish Gambino.

This way, the artists can’t manipulate their performances or song selections to try and persuade the mentors and producers in any particular way – it’s a different kind of blind audition, to be sure.

While he can’t divulge anything about the outcome of his episode, Babcock said that as a viewer and a participant, it’s an eye-opening process to the amount of true talent in the Canadian music landscape.

“You’ll be surprised by how much talent there really is in the world but also in this country,” he said. “The girls, especially in my episode, are so good, phenomenal. We didn’t get to know each other (as a whole) throughout the season, but you realize the show did its job. They found talent. As a viewer, I’d really encourage people to watch every episode because everybody is so good.”

As for his solo pursuits, Babcock said the Beach Boys and ABBA were largely the soundtrack to his childhood: “It was a constant living room full of harmonies and huge, luscious vocals… I’m super biased toward vocals and harmonies, making them the forefront.”

There isn’t a tour booked for him just yet, but he’s eager to start releasing his own songs when the time is right. The next few months will be a “proving ground” as he works on putting out his own material.

“The internet is a beautiful thing. I can reach a lot of people,” he said. Through YouTube videos, posting some sessions here and there, he’s looking forward to “get myself out there and see who’s digging right. I’m right at the start.”

It’s also easier, for an artist, to get material out into the world now compared with even a few years ago. Feedback can be instantaneous and people aren’t clamoring or waiting for a complete album to be released, putting out songs as they’re ready.

If he could put together a dream ticket of artists he’d like to perform with?

“Shawn Mendes, Bazzi, Alec Benjamin,” he said. “They’re all very cool. All kind of new pop-R&B, not just poppy pop, it’s all very cool, very swag with great lyrics.”

The other great thing about the internet? You never know who will pick up on your music and send an email or DM to get in touch about collaboration. Maybe his dream lineup could come together by this time next year, given the happy breaks he’s had so far.

And it’s also worth noting: he’s got a great sense of humour.

Editor’s note: This article has been modified after initial publication.

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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