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Giving the Stage to Surrey’s Youth


Meet Four Talented Young Artists in the Community!

September is an exciting month for youth as they take centre stage to unveil their talent at the Surrey Youth Talent Showcase and Band-Aid! These events are made for and planned by the young citizens of Surrey to aide the talent of fellow artists and help strengthen their community connections.

The Surrey Youth Talent Showcase is an annual event series that gives young visual and performing artists a platform to share their talent through on-stage performances and gallery exhibits. Youth musicians, singers, dancers, painters, magicians, comedians, lip-syncers, photographers, poets, are all expected to be there.

Band-Aid is a free musician development day for local youth singers, songwriters, solo artists, bands, and DJs. On the day of the event, young musicians join music industry mentors for a jam-packed day of workshops followed by a public concert that goes into the night.

We reached out to four young artists who will be participating in the Surrey Youth Talent Showcase and Band-Aid, to know more about their art and hear their stories.


Elissa Elmadani














Elissa, who goes by Polythene Pam or Miss Polly, is an 18-year-old hyper drag queen—which means she’s a biological woman who participates in drag. Her drag name comes from the track on The Beatles’ Abbey Road Album. The song is about a drag queen, so it is the perfect fit for her! She is known for her high-energy performances, stunning makeup, and gorgeous wigs. She competed in an online makeup competition where she finished in fifth place and won a Miss Congeniality award. You can watch her drag performance at the Surrey Youth Talent Showcase!

When and how did you begin developing your passion for this art-form?

My fascination with drag started around two years ago when, on my friend’s recommendation, I finished seeing the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It was a total culture shock for me. I didn’t know anything about drag (except for what I saw on Monty Python, which has lots of it). I never knew about the imagination and creativity that went into makeup, clothes and costumes.

Do you have any special moments that impacted you when you were performing?

I have performed in drag once till date and the most impactful thing about it was the support I got from the crowd. I saw an ad for a local drag show called Come as Hue Are. It was advertised as a safe space for the Surrey LGBTQ+ community outside Vancouver. In the beginning, I was too nervous to perform so I agreed to just go in drag, but later I changed my mind and registered. Although my performance was a train wreck (with an unsecured wig flying in the air after a cartwheel), everybody cheered. At that moment I felt so confident and accepted.


Samantha Dean


Samantha, who signs as Sam D., is a 16-year-old artist. She loves creating art, dancing, and writing. She has two volunteer jobs and works on her own business! She wanted to pursue a career doing something she loves, so she decided: why not start now? By working hard, she wants to make her dreams come true.

When and how did you begin developing your passion for this talent?

I have been interested in art from the day I learned to hold a crayon. As I grew older, I got more serious about it and wanted to learn more. I keep trying new techniques to incorporate in my original style. I have always been a quiet kid and found art as a tool to express myself without having to use words. Art makes me feel like anything is possible. There are no rules, expectations or limits, it can be whatever you want it to be.

Do you have any special moments that impacted you?

At my grade seven graduation, I was awarded a medal for fine arts. Last fall, I was accepted into the Surrey Arts Café and that was very encouraging. This summer, I got into ARTS 2019. This was my first juried exhibition, and although I didn’t win, it was an amazing experience to see my work displayed in the gallery. These events have impacted me as they inspire me to believe that I can be a successful artist.


Kaja Antic


Kaja is a young musician who has been playing ukulele for about two and a half years and has been part of her school’s music program for nearly five years. She started writing her music since 2017 and has been performing them since last year. She finds her inspiration for writing through pop culture—like the Marvel universe—and her personal experiences. She says that these experiences help her mature into young adulthood.

When and how did you begin developing your passion for this talent?

I always loved performing as a kid, and always liked to put on concerts for my family in the living room. I sort of grew out of that as I got older, but I got back into performing in high school through school spirit days and our emerging theatre program as well as our amazing music program. I have always loved music and I wanted to learn how to play the ukulele as it was growing in popularity, and since then I have been enamoured with performing especially my work.

What can you tell other youth who are hesitant about starting a new talent/skill/hobby?

Go for it! If you told me in grade eight that grade 12 me would be doing all these things, I wouldn’t believe you. Most of us underestimate ourselves when it comes to talents, and without the people in my life telling me to go for it, I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to do what I’m doing now. Get involved in these city events, you never know where you could end up! Life is short, live it!


Bukola Balogun


Bukola is a 17-year-old musician who blends the sounds of contemporary R&B and Jazz music to create her soulful sound. She's been pursuing her dreams of becoming a professional musician since she was nine years old and has only been building momentum ever since. The grand prize winner of the Nimbus Battle of the Bands competition, Bukola has since performed at the JUNO pre-show Let's Hear it! Live, was interviewed by CBC, Metro Vancouver, and has become a sought-after young artist by music professionals and fans alike. Metro News describes her as “the confident upbeat, young woman [who] plays guitar and sings with a simultaneous mastery and innocence”. When listing her inspirations, the article goes on to say that “like them, Bukola is an artist with something to say”. Bukola has recently been working with Grammy Award-winning producer, Chin Injeti, on new music.

When and how did you begin developing your passion for this talent?

I started performing everywhere that I possibly could. My dad would (and still does) drive me to open-mics all around town and I would sing at school talent shows and assemblies. When I turned 12, I saved up enough money to buy myself a guitar from Toys R Us. From there, I began writing songs of my own. They were terrible at first and I laugh every time I read my old lyrics, but I never stopped practicing and writing new material. Slowly, my songs began to get better.

When you were facing a challenge during your journey and how did you overcome it?

I think one of the biggest challenges that I’ve faced during my journey was not having enough funds, in the beginning, to enrol in vocal and guitar lessons. It was difficult not being able to have access to those specific resources, but I learned to find a way around them. I was able to find enough basic vocal training videos online as well as a wide variety of guitar tutorials. By teaching myself, I was able to gain a whole bunch of valuable skills that I still use today. The biggest one being self-discipline.


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