GRAND LAKE: A Fall River/Grand Lake musician is making good use of the COVID19 downtime to hone her singing skills, and it showed in one recent competition.

Kennedy Austin, a Georges P. Vanier Junior High student, entered an online music competition put on by Halifax’s Quake Matthews through video recently. She was one of 12 singers, and at the end of it all she came away as the winner, pocketing the prize winnings for her efforts.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Austin in an interview with The Laker News via zoom video last week. “I couldn’t believe it. I was speechless. I had no words.”

She said it meant a lot just being able to participate in the competition.

“I always put so much work and dedication into my music, so being able to share what I worked on, just sharing that is an awesome opportunity,” said Austin, who calls the Grand Lake/Fall River area home.

For the competition, Austin performed “Tell Me You Love Me” by Demi Lovato in the first round, which was to get in. She then found out she was in the top four and sang “Someone You Love” by Lewis Capaldi.

Austin, 14, already knows what she’s going to be using her winnings towards.

“I’m saving it up and hoping to buy a new iPhone as mine broke,” she said.

Quake Matthews had a lot of praise for Austin and her singing talent. He even is hoping to perform with her in the future.

“He was really kind and went out of his way to say things I didn’t expect,” she said. “He was telling me if I ever was criticized for my music to keep going because that means that I’m doing something right.

“He encouraged me to go out of my comfort zone to do something, it makes me a stronger musician.”