Western Alumnus POESY Wins CTV’s The Launch With "Soldier of Love"

On the night of Wednesday, January 31st, Sarah Botelho—stage name POESY—gathered with fifty of her family members and friends at Clinton’s Tavern in Toronto, ON to watch her episode of The Launch on CTV.

“I didn’t know so many people cared that I like music,” said Botelho, looking around at the crowd of people. With "Soldier of Love" skyrocketing to #1 on iTunes, her fans are definitely glad to see her pursuing her music career.

Everyone except a few members of the audience were kept in the dark about POESY’s win, and eagerly awaited the results of the fourth episode of The Launch.

“She’s a shoe-in. Quote, unquote: shoe-in,” said event-goer Tod Devlin, referencing Scott Borchetta’s comments on POESY when deciding who to select to record the song.

As a former student of Western University and an alumnus of Her Campus Western, many students and alumni flocked to support Botelho.

“It’s awesome to see the progress she’s made in the short amount of time,” said Anna Miltenburg, a fourth-year student pursuing an honours specialization in studio art. “I’ve only known her for four years and it’s crazy seeing her on a TV show.”

Christine Miltenburg, Anna’s cousin, said, “I think this is the start of a huge career for sure. I have her on my study playlist and now she’ll be famous and touring, and on everyone’s study playlist.” 

Botelho was the final performer to audition for the mentors. In fact, two acts had already been eliminated before her performance of Radiohead’s "Creep."

“I’m tearing—I’ve got chills all over my body,” said Fergie.

Zoha Hassan and Terra Kulendranatahn lived with Botelho in her first year of university. They reflected on what it was like hearing her play "Creep," a song they first heard her cover at home six years ago, in front of Stephan Moccio, Fergie, and Scott Borchetta.

“It was really overwhelming,” said Hassan. “We used to have the best jam sessions together in our house.”

Botelho was chosen to battle it out against 23-year-old Ezra Jordan for the chance to launch the song "Soldier of Love." The two first listened to the demo before stepping into the studio to record their own versions of the original song.

As Botelho and Moccio went over and over the track, Botelho revealed that the scenes from the show took place after midnight. She was exhausted and did not want to continue, but kept remembering, “wait, this is my dream and all these crazy people are here and I have to be grateful that this is happening to me.”

“It’s really cool to see behind the scenes of how music is produced today and learning a little bit about how they get that different kind of vibe for each different artist and how that’s so important,” commented Toronto local Sydney Bradshaw.

The next step of the show was to perform in front of a live audience. This made her struggle with being a confident performer as Botelho is used to performing smaller shows with her keyboard in front of her.

Botelho worked with superstar and mentor Fergie to stage her performance, mostly working with arm and hand movements.

“That was the most challenging part for me,” Botelho said. “I was really nervous. Like, ‘what if she makes me dance? I can’t do that!’” Botelho laughed.

This was the first time Botelho had done anything of this immensity, making it a different and new experience.

The crowd at Clinton’s was captivated by her live performance, shouting and cheering in amazement as she performed.

“It’s surreal to watch her because when you see her live, it takes you aback every single time,” said former roommate Kulendranatahn.

“I was like, ‘she has got to win!’ During the live performance, you could just tell. The quality and emotion in her voice is what a lot of people look for in an artist,” Miltenburg said.

Botelho’s girlfriend, photographer Chelsea Brimstin, attended the live performance.

“I'm a concert fiend and that live performance was the best concert I've ever been to. From that moment forward I've never felt so proud in my whole life,” Brimstin said. “I'm so excited for the whole world to see Sarah in the same beautiful, bright light that I get to every day.”

Botelho, on the other hand, felt the performance seemed awkward to her while she was performing.

“I guess it translated well to TV,” said Botelho, smiling.

Toronto local Melissa Palermo, who doesn’t watch a lot of reality television, confirmed this.

“When POESY is on screen I can’t help but watch,” Palermo said.

After Botelho’s win, the room filled with congratulations.

“They seem like they were made for it, but obviously made for more,” said Ian Applebe, fourth-year medical sciences student.

Filming took place six months ago, so Botelho continually struggled to make excuses to her friends when she could not see them due to show promotion being filmed.

“It was stressful,” said Botelho. “I’m so happy I can tell everyone what I’m doing with my life now; I’m doing this.”

Head over to CTV to download POESY’s "Soldier of Love" and stream it on your server of choice.

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Edit 18/02/06: A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled Stephan Moccio's name. This has since been changed.