Archive for the ‘News’ Category

2016 NewSong-LEAF Festival Finalists Announced

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Congratulations to this year’s eight talented artists in the third annual NewSong Presents: LEAF Festival Singer-Songwriter Showcase & Competition. 

The following artists will perform and showcase on Saturday, May 14 from 6-8 PM at the 46th LEAF Festival in Black Mountain, NC (right outside of Asheville). There, they will perform and compete for a chance to advance to the finals of the 15th annual international NewSong Competition, held later this year at New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. 


Austin, TX


Liz Chidester
Chicago, IL


Ethan Crump
Hartwell, GA


Connor Garvey
Portland, ME


Schuyler Grant
Cotuit, MA


Leslie Blackshear Smith
New Orleans, LA


Matt Taylor
Las Vegas, NV


Cat Terrones
San Pedro, CA



Chris Velan Announces ‘Glow’

Friday, February 12th, 2016







February 12, 2016. Montreal songwriter and producer Chris Velan is preparing to release his sixth LP, Glow, on March 4 via NewSong Recordings. To support the release, Velan will be performing a string of tour dates across Canada. Tour dates can be found below.

In the meantime, audiences are treated to an advance listen to the first single “un-American Gothic” and to the ethereal new video for the title track “Glow”.


Glow is the first album Velan’s made in his hometown since 2005. Co-produced with Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Basia Bulat, Wolf Parade, Vic Chestnutt), Velan was joined in studio by an all-star band of local musicians; Jamie Thompson (Islands, The Unicorns) sitting at the drums, Morgan Moore (Barr Brothers, Blood and Glass) on bass, Max Henry (Suuns) playing keys, with Ariel Engle (AroarA) and Ngabo Kiroko (Dear Denizen) providing backup vocals.

Glow is the most accomplished, seamless mingling of Velan’s musical predilections – dancing from quiet, intimate passages, growing on pulse smooth rhythms. It’s a DNA that draws from his singer-songwriter craft as much as from West African guitar pop, vintage-era rock steady, and dance-floor eighties rock. The latter of which is embodied by the first single, “un-American Gothic”. 


The songs on Glow want to pull back the curtain and let the light in. They’re about taking that long, unflinching look in the mirror, shattering mythologies, both personal and collective, and naming the lies that keep us caged. Whether refusing the clean-up job of a prophet in “Listen, Elijah”, or invoking grace in “Call Me Into Your Heart”, Velan’s latest collection of songs seems intent on finding joy at the end of the world – where no matter how frightening the outcome, the end is never the end, just a great new beginning.

It’s a path of inquiry that began for Velan on his previous album, The Long Goodbye, a raw and confessional reckoning with the break-up of a long-term relationship. While echoes of that ache remain in his latest release, Velan’s writing now looks forward with a faith in the blossoming power of love, connection, and the other intangibles that sustain life and will.

In addition to writing and recording Glow, Velan has kept busy in the studio with numerous other projects. Over the course of the last year he produced a debut album for Vermont chanteuse Francesca Blanchard, traveled to Haiti to record the Haitian collective Lakou Mizik’sfirst release, and joined Montreal afro-rock outfit Dear Denizen on guitar.


Glow is available for pre-order now on Pledge Music, along with other exclusive items. 




Mar 23 – Vancouver, BC – Railway Club w/ David Beckingham (Hey, Ocean!)
Apr 6 – Montreal, QC – Divan Orange
Apr 9 – Sutton, QC – Salle Alec et Gérard Pelletier
Apr 12 – Toronto, ON – The Burdock
Apr 15 – Halifax, NS – Company House
May 2-8 – Toronto, ON – CMW



01 As They Are
02 Call Me Into Your Heart
03 un-American Gothic
04 El Zonte
05 Listen, Elijah
06 Steal You Away
07 Ever So Slightly
08 Great New Beginnings
09 Making It Up To You
10 Fortune
11 Glow
12 Bad Behaviour
13 Perfect World





For media inquires, contact Ken Beattie at Killbeat Music.



Rachael Kilgour Wins the NewSong Contest

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016



Rachael Kilgour, a Duluth, Minnesota-based singer-songwriter, was named the grand prize winner of the 2015 NewSong Contest after performing, along with eight other artists selected from nearly 1,000 entries, during a music showcase and competition finals held January 7, 2016 at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium in New York City.


Rachael Kilgour performs during the 2015 NewSong Music Showcase and Competition Finals (Photo: Darial Sneed)

As the contest’s grand prize winner, Kilgour will receive a performance slot at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival’s ASCAP Music Café in Park City, Utah later this month; an opportunity to perform at Lincoln Center later this year; and a recording session at Echo Mountain Recording Studios in Asheville, NC, produced by Gar Ragland, NewSong Music’s executive director, for an album to be released under the NewSong Recordings label.

A passionate and engaging performing artist whose songs merge the personal and political, Kilgour also was the winner of the 2015 LEAF Newsong Contest in North Carolina and a finalist in last year’s Telluride Troubadour Competition. Noted singer-songwriter Catie Curtis is producing Kilgour’s next crowd-funded CD, which is set for release later this year.

Among the tracks on the forthcoming album is “If I Am Gonna Fall Apart,” which impressed both a capacity crowd and the judges, securing Kilgour a slot in the competition’s final round, along with Blair Bodine (New York, NY), Bonomo (Brooklyn, NY) and Sarah Morris (Shoreview, MN). During the second round, Kilgour poured her heart and soul into singing “Still My Wife” and “In America.”


Rachael Kilgour performing an in-studio of her song ‘In America,’ which she performed in the final round of the NewSong Showcase and Competition.

“Participating as a finalist in the NewSong Music Showcase and Competition was a remarkable experience. I think we were each very fortunate to have had the chance to perform in that phenomenal space to such an appreciative audience,” says Kilgour.

“It can be unimaginably difficult to cultivate those kinds of performance/listening experiences, especially when you are at the early stages of your career. With that in mind, I am in awe of the support that NewSong provides to emerging artists,” continues Kilgour. “I so enjoyed the genre-diverse make up of the group of finalists. It is obvious that NewSong is more interested in helping artists be the best versions of themselves. I have the utmost respect for their integrity in that regard.”

Now in its 14th year, the NewSong Contest showcases emerging performing songwriters. NewSong Music is an independent music organization that aims to build a supportive community of performers and songwriters across various genres of music and skill levels, while identifying truly exceptional artists and introducing their music to a broader, international audience.

by Michael Kornfeld, editor & publisher,, (where this article was originally posted on Jan. 10), with additional quotes from Rachael Kilgour.

2015 NewSong Music Finals Feature: Meet The Judges

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Ahead of the NewSong Music Showcase & Competition Finals, we wanted to introduce the judges of this year’s event. We are honored to have Erik Philbrook (ASCAP), Michael Selverne, Jordana Phokompe (Lincoln Center), and Gar Ragland (NewSong Music) as the judges of this year’s event. Learn more about each judge below:



Erik Philbrook serves as ASCAP’s AVP of Marketing and Communications and Editor in Chief of its Playback magazine. In addition to writing editorial, producing video and managing content for ASCAP’s various media channels, he has interviewed and written about many of today’s leading songwriters and composers from across the musical spectrum, from legendary icons to today’s emerging artists. He has helped lead ASCAP’s advocacy efforts in protecting songwriter rights in the digital age. And he has played an essential role in the success of high-profile ASCAP events such as the Sundance ASCAP Music Café and the ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO, where he has interviewed on stage many top music creators, including Tom Petty, John Mayer, Bon Jovi, ELO’s Jeff Lynne, Ingrid Michaelson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Steve Lillywhite and many others. In addition, Philbrook is a songwriter and musician himself, having recorded three acclaimed albums with his band The Brilliant Mistakes.



Michael Selverne is a 35 year veteran of the music business.   A trained musician, Mr. Selverne has a diverse career as a musician, producer, publisher, manager, attorney and executive. Currently, Mr. Selverne is producing a record for the Asheville NC Symphony Orchestra featuring artists such as the Steep Canyon Rangers and Rising Appalachia.  Among the many gold and platinum artists with whom Mr. Selverne has worked are: Motley Crue, India.Arie, Hootie and the Blowfish, Guns and Roses, Live, the Wu-Tang Clan, the Fugees, Wyclef Jean, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, La Toya Jackson, Donald Fagen/Steely Dan, Hanson.



Jordana Phokompe is the Director of the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center and is responsible for programing its free weekly performance series. Since joining Lincoln Center in 2009, Jordana has developed new programs for the Atrium including Poet-Linc, LCDJ, and AtriumFlix. Previously, she was a consultant for artists and festivals in the U.S., Europe, and Africa and served as the Associate Producer for MAPP International Productions from 2001-2008. During her tenure at MAPP she co-created the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium.  Jordana received her BA from the New School for Social Research and her MFA from Brooklyn College.



Gar Ragland is a music producer, composer, manager and the president and co-founder of NewSong Music. A native North Carolinian (Winston-Salem), Gar began his music career while an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia, sharing bills with acts that include the Dave Matthews Band, Gov’t Mule and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. After working several years in Washington, DC as an environmental economist for the policy think tank Resources for the Future, Ragland relocated to Boston to study composition and improvisation at the New England Conservatory with MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award winning pianist, composer and educator Ran Blake. He then moved to New York City to open NewSong’s Brooklyn studio and office, and eight years later moved to Asheville, NC with his family in 2012 to set up shop at Echo Mountain Recording Studios. He is a voting member of the Recording Academy (Grammys), and is the current board chair of the Asheville Area Arts Council.

Sarah Kervin #InstaTakeover

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016


Hey Gang,

Sarah Kervin has taken over the @newsongmusic Instagram account for the next 48 hours. She is going to give all of you a BTS peek into the NewSong Music Showcase & Competition Finals, meeting the other finalists, and hanging around her Brooklyn music scene. Follow along here and make sure your follow her Instagram at @skervinofficial!

Sarah Kervin is a 2015-16 NewSong Finalist and you can follow her at

2015 Featured Performer: Jaime Garamella

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Jaime Garamella (New York City, NY)

This series of features highlights the 2015 NewSong Music finalists. Each artist is invited to Lincoln Center on January 7th for the opportunity to win the #NSM Grand Prize. We sat down with each finalist to learn more about their music and background. Hope you enjoy! #wheregreatartistsarediscovered #newsongmusic

Jaime Garamella has been accused of “combining the quirky song craft of Elvis Costello and Ben Folds with the stylistic vigor of Ryan Adams or Fountains Of Wayne“, and it’s said he “resembles The Spin Doctors, but keeps things fresh with a unique sound and a clear knack for writing lyrics and hooks that are far from boilerplate.” The NYC-based songwriter has a Jekyll-and-Hyde approach — on one hand, writing timeless acoustic tunes steeped in American soul, country, folk, and blues; on the other, jumping off the top of the Marshall stack with his alt-rock band, The Spanish Channel, who have drawn comparisons to Foo Fighters, Maroon 5, and Stone Temple Pilots.

A Regional Finalist in the 2014 NewSong/Mountain Stage Contest, Jaime has recorded two albums and several EPs of his songs.  He has also written music for other artists, indie films, documentaries, TV commercials, radio jingles, and even the theme song for a pro hockey team. As a singer, he has appeared at Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall as well as in TV commercials, radio jingles, and even a PBS Kids album. He’s played guitar with bluesman Roy Roberts and rapper Big Daddy Kane. He’s toured nationally both solo and with his band, The Spanish Channel, supporting national acts including Tim Reynolds (of Dave Matthews Band) & TR3 and Alex Skolnick of Testament.  It’s live shows where Jaime’s high energy, charisma, and ability to connect with an audience really bring the music to life.  

Raised in Connecticut, Jaime has lived in North Carolina, Tokyo, and Boston, and now calls New York City home. When he’s not performing, he teaches voice, guitar, and bass and runs the Vocal program at NYC Guitar School.

Facebook Page:

2015 NewSong Music Finalist: Blair Bodine

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Blair Bodine (NEW YORK CITY, NY)

This series of features highlights the 2015 NewSong Music finalists. Each artist is invited to Lincoln Center on January 7th for the opportunity to win the #NSM Grand Prize. We sat down with each finalist to learn more about their music and background. Hope you enjoy! #wheregreatartistsarediscovered #newsongmusic

Recently named the Grand Prize Lyric Winner for American Songwriter Magazine, Blair Bodine brings a compelling mix of lyrical mastery and soul-stirring melodies to her music. Accompanied by rich acoustic guitar, Blair’s songs uplift and unravel with themes of love, loss, and spirituality. Blair’s debut album was produced by four-time Grammy award-winner Glenn Barrett at Morningstar Studios in Ambler, PA, the town where she was born and raised. After a guitar-slinging stint in Nashville, Tennessee, Blair moved back to the Northeast in 2014 and now calls New York City home.

In addition to writing and touring, Blair is committed to music education. “I was very fortunate when I was younger. My Mom gave me a guitar for my 13th birthday and nurtured my love of music. She herself is a beautiful songwriter and knew what a positive impact that guitar would have on my life. These days, schools are cutting their music programs at an alarming rate. We need to make sure that we don’t lose the next generation of songwriters.” Committed to fostering a love of music, Blair currently works for Steven Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, where she writes curriculum for middle and high school teachers about the history of American popular music.

Since her album release in 2009, Blair has received multiple awards that recognize both her songwriting and performing abilities. She is thrilled to be named a finalist for the 2015 NewSong contest.

Q: What is your songwriting process?
A: For me, the process of songwriting is best described as, “Building the plane as you fly it.” I love stepping into a song and not being quite sure of where you will land when the process is through. When you begin a song, anything’s game: from the rhythm, to the chords, to the song structure; it’s a total puzzle. I try not to get too locked into my first idea and to always be open to change. The most important part of the process, for me, is showing up. So I guess songwriting is a lot like life that way!

Q:What does it mean to you to be selected as a NewSong finalist, and what do you hope to get out of the experience?
A: Total shock. I was really surprised and honored simultaneously. Is there a word for that? Suponored.

I am really excited to meet the other finalists later this week! And, of course, having the opportunity to perform at Lincoln Center is incredible. Even though I am a relatively new New Yorker, the importance of Lincoln Center as a cultural institution stands out to me. I can’t wait to be there.

Q: How did you hear about New Song Music?
A: I think I first applied back in 2010, inspired by the artists I admire who have won this contest in the past. In 2011, I was fortunate to be selected as a regional semifinalist in the Southeast. I had a really wonderful experience connecting with a few of the semifinalists based in Nashville at that time. We spontaneously decided to get together and perform a concert in-the-round. That pretty much defines the NewSong Contest for me. A positive and collaborative contest where the true prize is connecting with other artists.

Q: What is currently happening with your music?
A: I’m hoping to release an album of new material in 2016. The more I say it, the more it becomes true. So yes. A new album in 2016 is definitely, probably, totally, maybe happening. It will be an album of tracks I wrote and recorded in Nashville over the years, along with a handful of songs that I’ve written since I’ve moved back to the Northeast.

Blair Bodine’s Links + Twitter + YouTube
SoundCloud + Instagram

2015 NewSong Music Finalist: Kaz Fujimoto

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016


This series of features highlights the 2015 NewSong Music finalists. Each artist is invited to Lincoln Center on January 7th for the opportunity to win the #NSM Grand Prize. We sat down with each finalist to learn more about their music and background. Hope you enjoy! #wheregreatartistsarediscovered #newsongmusic

I am a Japanese Gypsy Rockstar!

My songwriting reflects my life as an immigrant with some musical influences from different cultures which I have absorbed while living in cosmopolitan cities like London and New York City…

Q: What is your songwriting process?
A: It’s about trying to give a shape to something that doesn’t have a shape. And there is always a gap between that indescribable something and what you created. The smaller the gap is the better you feel. I’m a 99% melody guy. I’m come up with melodies first then lyrics. So often, I go “does this need lyrics?”. So I’m open to write in any languages as long as I pick the right sound for the melody. But the most exciting part of songwriting is when you first grab it out of nowhere, then you put it down on a piece of paper or on tape. That moment, nothing else really matters…

Q:What does it mean to you to be selected as a NewSong finalist, and what do you hope to get out of the experience?
A: What? Really? Wow!

It means a lot that one of my latest songs made it into the top 10 after many years of songwriting. That means my songwriting is still improving and contemporary and I’m happy to be able to contribute something to this celebration of new American music, from which I hope I will get even more inspirations.

Q: How did you hear about New Song Music?
A: I entered the contest back in 2008 and I’ve known it ever since.

Q: What is currently happening with your music?
A: Playing at Lincoln Center is the biggest news from me for the coming new year so far.

Kaz Fujimoto’s Links + BandCamp + YouTube + SoundCloud + Reverb Nation     

2015 NewSong Music Finalist: BONOMO

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016



This series of features highlights the 2015 NewSong Music finalists. Each artist is invited to Lincoln Center on January 7th for the opportunity to win the #NSM Grand Prize. We sat down with each finalist to learn more about their music and background. Hope you enjoy!

Adam Bonomo is the lead vocalist and composer for the group BONOMO. 

Adam Bonomo’s background as a performing artist includes working extensively as a pianist, organist and vocalist.

He has traveled throughout the U.S along the east coast, and in Europe. The group is now performing at a host of NY venues regularly.

Q: What is your songwriting process?
A: My writing process is very sporadic. My music usually comes to me as fluently as my emotions. Sometimes I catch them, sometimes I can’t quite hold on to it. As a working pianist/organist, I am constantly discovering and learning new music. My major influences come from Classical, Gospel, and Jazz music. Through in depth study and practice of these styles of music, I’ve worked to ingrain them in my playing so that when I have an emotion or a thought I can express musically how I’m feeling emotionally or physically. As for my muses, LIFE is my muse. I try to see and understand as much of it as I can.

Q:What does it mean to you to be selected as a NewSong finalist, and what do you hope to get out of the experience?
A: It was a great surprise! It always feels good when the work that you pour your being into gets validated. 

It’s a great honor to have my work selected. Beyond meeting and sharing with other artists of my craft, I would hope to gain the support and platform needed to fully realize this music and bring it to the world.

Q: How did you hear about New Song Music?
A: I was searching online for outlets to show my music.

Q: What is currently happening with your music?
A: Last November we recorded four songs at “Strange Weather” In Brooklyn that we will release individually starting in 2016. We also have a date with the San Francisco Orchestra, “One Found Sound” that will be announced sometime in August, we will have my music arranged and perform a live recorded concert featuring both groups. We also have a show coming up on January 24 at “Bowery Arts+Sciences”

BONOMO’s Links + Facebook + YouTube + SoundCloud + Twitter + Instagram

2015 NewSong Music Finalist: Megan Wilde

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015


*2015 Early Bird Finalist

This series of features highlights the 2015 NewSong Music finalists. Each artist is invited to Lincoln Center on January 7th for the opportunity to win the #NSM Grand Prize. We sat down with each finalist to learn more about their music and background. Hope you enjoy!

Within month’s of the release of her soulful fiery debut, ‘Wildfire’ – Megan Wilde was chosen as winner of an LA Music Critic Award, a string of international songwriting contests, a few coveted Tv/Film Music Licensing Deals, a National college radio promotion deal, and she’s received glowing national and international press for her bold, sultry, and heartfelt singing. With a scorching voice that knows no boundaries, a fiery on stage presence, and a robust and bodacious soul for crafting music – Megan Wilde’s music has been compared to the likes of Aretha Franklin, The Black Keys, Beyonce, Adele and The White Stripes. While Seattle Music Insider has declared Megan Wilde a “soul powerhouse” and the Examiner exclaimed, ‘”Wilde could very well become a musical force with which to be reckoned” – Who is the woman behind the music?

Megan B. Wilde was a school yard nickname given to her for her talent for climbing trees, getting in fights with boys, and running around covered in dirt with wild untamed lioness hair. You could say she’s always been a bit rough around the edges. Growing up in a small town outside of Chicago never suited her style, and at 15 she found her ticket out. She was accepted into one of the world’s finest performing arts schools – Interlochen Academy of The Fine Arts. Day in and day out she studied music and art from the masters. Her teachers quickly learned that while she was talented – ball gowns, opera, and being neat as a button was not her thang. Once you’ve been seduced by the brash, rusty, soulful voices – there is no turning back.

Look out for Megans debut EP release -Wildfire- on May 19th, 2015. When recording Wildfire at one of Seattle’s top studios, London Bridge, the artist brought in mastering wizard – Howie Wineberg. Howie is a 4 time Grammy nominee with an estimated quarter of a billion records sold. Producing, composing and arranging the material on the record (with the exception of “Spoonful”), Wilde also takes the helm on Wurlitzer, piano, and of course, the powerhouse vocals. Wildfire combines elements of indie-rock, blues, soul and R & B. Her debut album has been showered with early praise from critics around the nation and is just a ‘spoonful’ of things to come.

Q: What is your songwriting process?
A: When I get that first spark, I stop everything I’m doing and ride the wave of inspiration. Sometimes it’s like lightening when it strikes – rare and intense. I’ve had song’s come to me when in my dreams, and I’ve had songs come to me when I’m wasted at the bar with my girls. My newest song is a new process in that it’s coming to me in pieces month’s apart. I store everything on my phone, and looking back through my recordings I realized the last 3 month’s inspirations have been in the same key. It’s like it’s slowly releasing itself to me.

Q:What does it mean to you to be selected as a NewSong finalist, and what do you hope to get out of the experience?
A: It means I can be proud of the work that I created from the bottom of my soul.

Q: How did you hear about New Song Music?
A: The Internet. I also know The Banner days from Seattle, they were finalists last year.

Q: What is currently happening with your music?
A: I just released my EP ‘Wildfire’ and have signed some licensing deals with TV/Film. I also won a college radio campaign for spring.

Megan Wilde’s Links + Facebook + YouTube + SoundCloud + Twitter + Instagram