Veteran music executive and former Geffen Chairman Ron Fair knows all about hit cover songs. He co-produced the three-million-seller "Lady Marmalade" for Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya and Lil' Kim and he will put those skills to use in Canada as a judge on the new CBC-TV talent competition Cover Me Canada.
The weekly live series will be filmed in Toronto and begins airing September 18 on Canada's national public broadcaster, CBC.
Fair, who is credited with helping to discover Aguilera and putting Fergie in the Black Eyed Peas, joins fellow judges New Kids On The Block's Jordan Knight and Canadian R&B-pop singer Deborah Cox in determining which of eight finalists perform the best version of a Canadian cover song.
Contestants were selected from a video audition for which they were required to perform at least one of four iconic Canadian songs: "Sundown" by Gordon Lightfoot, "Run To You" by Bryan Adams, "Life Is A Highway" by Tom Cochrane or "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles.
"We're searching for the best new musical talent that Canada has to offer, and Jordan, Deborah and Ron know from their incredible first-hand experience exactly what it takes to make it all the way to the top of the charts," said Julie Bristow, executive director, studio and unscripted programming for CBC Television, in a press statement. "With this stellar judge line-up, Cover Me Canada is going to be a great vehicle to showcase aspiring artists and gives Canada a chance to foster and support our homegrown talent."
The winner receives a $100,000 (CAD) cash prize and the opportunity to cut an original single, produced by Fair, which will be released by Universal Music Canada.
Cover Me Canada is produced by Temple Street Productions, based on a format co-created by 11 Entertainment and CBC. Canadian Nicole Appleton, the former All Saints member now married to Liam Gallagher, will host the show.
Fair recently served as chair of Geffen Records. This month marks his 30th year as a record exec. His personal bio states that he is "currently in negotiations for a high-ranking position with an international major music corporation."