With a contract signed to release one song and talks of another single in the near future, Jason Benoit of Fox Island River is hoping he is on the cusp of launching a career as a country singer.
The single, which he could not yet name, will be announced at an event at the Viking Lounge in Port au Port, starting at 9 p.m. on Aug. 17. During that night, Mr. Benoit will also be performing original and cover songs.
He said the song is actually a country version of a popular dance/club song that his manager Jenson Vaughan co-wrote.
When Mr. Benoit was in Ontario back in June doing recordings of his original work, he started to play the song that will now be his first single.
"Jenson liked what he was hearing and loved the idea of putting the song out as a country tune because that particular song is going so well now," said Mr. Benoit, who is originally from West Bay on the Port au Port Peninsula.
He said Mr. Vaughan pitched the idea to Warren Copnick, the country guy at Sony Canada, and he was all for it.
If this single and the second single go well, Mr. Benoit plans on working on an album in the future and has his fingers crossed that it's all going to happen.
He will be attending the 2013 Canadian Country Music Association Awards in Edmonton, Alta., on Sept. 8 to meet some people in the music industry.
Mr. Benoit has been working with Mr. Vaughan for about two and a half years and during that time his manager has been trying to get him a record deal, which he said is finally starting to set in.
During the past year he has been getting more exposure locally, doing the Stephenville Theatre Festival's "Hit Country Show", a show with Jennifer Dawson Hobbs entitled "Out of Control: Raging Fire", and another just featuring himself called "Where We Left Off."
Mr. Benoit will be returning to Ontario in the next couple of weeks to do more recording for this release.
"It's exciting, I can't wait," he said.
Mr. Benoit started playing guitar at age 14 with lessons from his brother Myles and went from there on his own. At 16 years he was performing at local charities and other functions, including talent shows.
His popularity grew in 2007 when he won West Coast Idol, held at the Arts and Culture in Stephenville. He then did several Appalachia Country shows, which were initiatives of the local Arts and Culture Centre.
Mr. Benoit hooked up with a band called the Senior Boys and the Kid - of course him being the kid at the time. He went solo for a bit, but then teamed up with Lloyd Swyers to make up the duo Flashpoint.
He writes a lot of his own music, something that he's been doing since the age of 14 years. Currently, his day job is an account-opening specialist at the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union in Stephenville, which he has been doing for the past six years.
Country music fans can look for Benoit's single to be hitting iTunes soon, but in the meantime you can check out his music at www.youtube.com/jasonbenoitcountry and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jbenoitcountry.