A longtime performer with a passion for music, Jill Chandler says after a time away from it being a big part of her life, she returned to it after losing her husband in 2013.
"My guitar became my companion again. I just started to write about grief and loss and how I was feeling."
The CBC Music Searchlight is in the second round of voting, which ends March 13 at 4 p.m. The top 25 in the country will be announced a day later, March 14 at the same time.
Chandler is one of 10 P.E.I. artists still in the running for the top prize.
The singer/songwriter said she had put music and performing on the back burner for a career in public relations and sales and raising her family.
But her husband's death changed that.
"I took the kids from Nova Scotia back to P.E.I. and was just trying to establish a life for myself."
Chandler said while her family was here, she was away from the life she had known — her home, her friends, her job and her husband. Music became a part of her healing process.
"Music gave me a chance to speak my unspoken because in grief people are so uncomfortable around it and we don't know how to interact and talk about it openly," she said.
"I had things that I needed to say in order to move forward or advance a little bit."
This is the second time Chandler is taking part in the national contest. She said the first year was a way to admit publicly she was pursuing her interest in music.
"It's pretty significant. You're putting it out there for everyone to hear and to be judged, literally."
Chandler's submission, Come and Find Me Soon was written months after P.E.I. had the one of the worst winters with a record breaking snowfall. She said she was not looking forward to living through another one and was missing not only summer but her husband and love.
"It was the worst winter and I was still in the grieving process," she said.
Chandler said she hopes the song conveys hope to people that seasons come back.
"The sun will be on our faces again."
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