Well, I decided it was about time for an overhaul of my website. The timing is right, as I’ve started a new chapter in my music career. I’ve got a different sound, and a different look, and so the website was in dire need of a refresh. I’m hopeful that lots of exciting things are in store, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you here! Stay tuned for new pics, video and more!
Article appearing in Spoke, the Newspaper of Conestoga College’s Journalism Program (link to original article):
BY RACHEL ROY
Students in Waterloo Region had the chance to give it their best shot at The Shot.
The singing competition was open to post-secondary students at the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College.
The Shot is a week-long event where individual students or groups perform in front of four music industry professionals. It’s like America’s Got Talent mixed with American Idol.
The Shot just wrapped up its second season on March 21 at the Conrad Centre of the Performing Arts. People auditioned their best songs and then the judges, Juneyt Yetkiner, Stacy Zegers, Joni Nehrita and C.J. Allen, picked the top eight competitors. The competition was so good that they chose a ninth singer for the March 21 finals.
They were Jessica Bell, Emily Cortolezzis, James Downham, Matt Giblin, and Pam Olayemi, all from Wilfrid Laurier, and Sarah Russo, Tausha Hanna, Chelsea Marr and Vincenzo Romualdi, all from the University of Waterloo.
After hearing the finalists sing the judges decided Cortolezzis, Olayemi, Hanna and Downham would move on to the final round.
The winner of the competition received a full day of recording with a professional engineer and a mastered demo courtesy of Metal Works Studio, limousine transportation provided by Brentwood Livery, the opportunity to perform at KOI fest 2015, a performance and development contract with Circus Music Co., a new acoustic guitar courtesy of Brickhouse Guitars, a professional photo shoot courtesy of Sylvia Pond Photography, and a professionally produced music video courtesy of Esteemedia.
“I can’t even think of words to use to describe how proud I am of the nine who performed tonight,” said Allen, who is also the A&R executive of Circus Music Company, the company producing The Shot. “I am overwhelmed at the talent that we saw. I’m proud that they came, I’m proud that they took the stage, it’s a really great feeling.”
The judges listened to the nine competitors and judged who would move on to the finals, then, after the four finalists sang their final song, the audience voted on the winner.
After an anxious 15 minutes the results came in and the four finalists took the stage, holding each other’s hands tightly.
The crowd went silent as everyone waited in the tense room as the host finally announced the winner.
Downham had won the crowd over with his song Skydiving by Tim McGraw. At the announcement the crowd erupted in excited screams as the four finalists hugged each other and Downham lifted his fist in victory.
“I feel awesome,” Downham said. “I can’t believe that this actually happened. There were so many absolutely fantastic singers in this competition. It was amazing to be with everybody for this week, it’s been unbelievable. I never had the confidence before to do something like this. People encouraged me in the past and I was like too nervous. I just had to get to a point where it didn’t matter.”
Students hoping to get The Shot at voice contest
March 19, 2015
They sang. They danced. They accepted compliments and criticism and then they sang again. They were all hoping it was their chance at The Shot.
Over 85 students from Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo and Conestoga College participated in a voice contest called The Shot last weekend. By Sunday, it was pared down to just eight finalists.
The eight finalists are Jessica Bell, Emily Cortolezzis, James Downham, Matt Giblin, Tausha Hanna, Chelsea Marr, Pam Olayemi, Vincenzo Romualdi and Sarah Russo.
This is the second time The Shot competition has been held in Waterloo Region. It is the brainchild of C.J. Allen of Kitchener.
Allen has had a whirlwind career path since 2007, when he left Kitchener to go to South Korea to teach English. From his teaching career, he moved into working at a magazine that promoted English speaking talent and bands from that country. Then, he became a producer and writer for Korean television, and finally ended up as a judge on Top Talent Korea in 2013. All of this led him back home, where he started The Shot and is the CEO of Circus Music Company.
“I’m an advocate for emerging talent,” Allen said. “I’m like a music Dragon,” he said referring to the Dragon’s Den television show that helps entrepreneurs.
Allen is one of four judges on The Shot. He is joined by Stacey Zegers (lead singer of the Runaway Angel), Joni Nehrita (jazz, blues, pop singer) and Juneyt Yetkiner (Flamenco guitarist.)
The eight finalists will meet at the Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts on March 21. The judges will reduce the finalists to four, and then the audience will pick the winner.
The winnings include a Brentwood limousine ride to a day of recording at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga with a Metalworks engineer, the chance to perform on stage at KOI Music Festival in downtown Kitchener, an acoustic guitar from Brickhouse Guitars, a professional photo shoot provided by Sylvia Pond Photography, a professional music video produced by Esteemedia Productions, a $500 gift certificate from Fairview Park Mall and The Shot trophy.
Doors open for the finale on March 21 at 5:30pm at the Conrad Centre in downtown Kitchener and the show starts at 6pm.
Tickets are $18 in advance online and $20 at the box office.