Zay Nova is a new Canadian country singer-songwriter and radio producer. He was born in a small village called Sempan on Bangka Island, Indonesia. As with many kids, one of his teachers asked, “When you grew up, what do you want to be?” He answered the question by saying, “I want to be a songwriter!” As a 7-year-old he knew nothing about songwriting. Zay Nova was just a poor country boy who didn’t know music except for the lullaby his mother sang before he went to bed. He never saw musical instruments and did not know music at all because there was neither radio and nor TV at home where he grew up.


Electricity didn’t come to his village until 1990. However, Zay Nova left his hometown at the tender age of 17 and went to Madura Island in Java to study at an Islamic Boarding School. He was introduced to country music while Shania Twain was very popular in country music around the world. He started to learn and memorize some lyrics from the cover of her album and taught himself more English by listening to western country music.

After finishing school in 2002, Zay moved again to the Special Region of Yogyakarta close to central Java to study Arabic Literature. Shortly thereafter, he moved to the Communication and Broadcast faculty at the State Islamic University, Sunan Kalijaga, in Yogyakarta. In that city, Zay discovered western country music which was broadcast by a local Christian radio station. He fell in love right away with the music and started to teach himself to be a radio announcer and scriptwriter. When he felt confident enough, he applied for a job at the same radio station that played western country music. He was successful in his job application. From the very first day he was hired, he improved his English by bringing a dictionary to the station and practicing how to pronounce each word from many country songs on the daily radio playlist. In 2005, while attending university, he kept working at the radio station as a means to pay his university tuition. At the same time, he started a band and wrote many songs.

After the band broke up in 2010, he played solo at some local events and then moved to Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, in 2014. Zay started a new career in TV and as a radio producer, audio commercial production, and video producer. He also worked as a host for a Jakarta TV program. He decided to move to Canada in 2017 to start a new life and adventure. He chose St. John’s, Newfoundland, as his home. To this day, St. John’s is where his heart is. 

Valmy is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Ontario who has been following the ocean and finding home on the East Coast. In the weaving of melodic swells and atmospheric harmonies, she explores humanhood, navigates grief, and greets forms of healing. Now based in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, Valmy uses her folk-influenced music to tell stories about loving and stumbling your way through the dark. While working towards her debut full-length album, Valmy continues to create and perform from a place of honesty and wonder, to let the light in.

XIA-3 is an emerging instrumental fusion band based in Newfoundland that blends traditional Chinese influences with Western post-rock grooves. The group was formed in 2022 and is fronted by guzheng virtuoso Dr. Jing Xia with support from well-established St. John’s punk rockers Ritche Perez on bass and Brian Downton on drums. As a professional artist and scholar, Xia started to study the guzheng at six years old and has degrees in Music Performance (B.A.), Arts Management (M.A.), and Ethnomusicology (Ph.D.). She is the winner of the 2022 MusicNL Award “Rising Star of the Year,” and was just nominated for two 2023 ECMA awards: Roots/Traditional Recording of the Year, and Global Recording of the Year. 

Youngtree and Carole Bee is a brand new spinoff from Newfoundland’s rising stars Youngtree & The Blooms. On the heels of winning multiple awards for their album Musical Chairs, Youngtree & The Blooms geared up for their most ambitious tour to date when the music world ground to a halt. So, instead of playing a major folk festival with one of their heroes (John Prine, R.I.P), the frontman and violinist of Youngtree & The Blooms began arranging their catalogue for a new duo.

Youngtree’s sound has drawn comparisons to Gram Parsons and Nashville Skyline-era Bob Dylan by outlets such as Exclaim! Magazine. His songwriting craft and musical style recently earned him the honour of being awarded the MusicNL “Ron Hynes Songwriter of the Year” award in 2020.

Carole is a versatile violinist, equally at home in folk and classical genres. A sought after freelance musician, her strength is in adding sparkle and energy to every project she takes part in. She brings a creative and collaborative approach as a freestyle fiddler and singer, informed by her vast musical influences.

With a variety of musical influences ranging from Bach to Patsy Cline (and beyond!), Youngtree & Carole Bee will move your spirits with soulful songs, and make your feet dance with delightful and upbeat melodies.

William Prince approaches the big questions with humility and curiosity, and his songwriting is a  masterclass in skilful simplicity. Since his JUNO Award win in 2017, Prince’s momentum has  continued to build, with each new album adding depth and dimension to an exceptional body of  work that has received international acclaim. From national network television appearances,  top tier media coverage and performances at major international festivals, William Prince has  become one of the country’s most respected and celebrated songwriters.


East Coast alt-pop band, WITH VIOLET, is an eclectic musical experience. Based out of St.John’s Newfoundland, this proudly Canadian group has wowed audiences since their formation in 2018. In the years since, WITH VIOLET, has become a popular growing name around Newfoundland. Receiving 3 MusicNL nominations, performances at festivals [IceBerg Alley, Campilfy, and Best Kind Barbecue], and playtime on multiple radio stations.

Together, Sarah Newell [Vocals & Saxophone], Pete [Vocals & Keyboards], Matthew Cadigan [Guitar], Spencer FitzGerald [Bass], and Hunter Madden [Drums] create a radio pop sound you can lose yourself in musically. Their catchy hooks, cohesive musicality, nuanced songwriting, and sheer energy has been a driving factor of the groups success, helping them to receive nominations for CBC’s Searchlight in 2022.

In 2021 the band released their debut album, Long Story Short, a high energy pop/rock record, funded partly by the generosity of MusicNL. The album has seen great success, with over 3000 streams on spotify, two MusicNL nominations, and can be heard at the ECHL games in the Mary Browns Centre. Their Holiday Special, featuring two brand new Christmas singles, is a new winter tradition for many. Being played for the holidays on radio stations across Newfoundland

(Photo by Evan Foote)

Tombolo Multicultural Festival Newfoundland and Labrador Inc. (TMFNL) is a non-profit organization committed to promoting cultural diversity, intercultural understanding, anti-racism, inclusion, music, arts and culture, immigrants integration, business development and tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Influenced by the aesthetic of home recordings, Thom Coombes began recording his own songs in a basement with a boom box and a built-in mic. For the past 20 years, Thom’s recording process remains much the same, traversing bedrooms, basements, and bathrooms with a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder, capturing a unique, lo-fi sound ranging from country and folk, to stripped down keyboard-based sour-pop songs.

Thom’s sound is gentle and earnest. With mesmerizing guitar and lyrics that echo everyday life, Thom turns the mundane into heartfelt stories with a touch of comedy, and a whole lot of honesty.