MEL BRYANT WINS THE 17TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL NEWSONG MUSIC PERFORMANCE & SONGWRITING COMPETITION
AS GRAND PRIZE WINNER, BRYANT RECEIVES AN EP RECORDING PROJECT AT ECHO MOUNTAIN RECORDING STUDIOS, RELEASED ON THE NEWSONG RECORDINGS LABEL, A PERFORMANCE SHOWCASE AT 2019 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL’S ESTEEMED ASCAP MUSIC CAFE AND MORE
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Nashville-based singer, instrumentalist and songwriter Mel Bryant has been named this year’s grand prize winner of the seventeenth annual NewSong Music Performance and Songwriting Competition. Bryant – along with seven other finalists – was selected from nearly 800 entries to this year’s contest. The finalists performed at Isis Music Hall in Asheville, NC on Saturday, December 15, in front of a sold-out crowd. The panel of music industry judges included Gar Ragland, music producer and co-founder of NewSong Music; Diana Ezerins, director of public programs at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; and Elysa Marden, Vice President of Arts Brookfield in New York City.
“This year’s live performance finals of the NewSong Competition was a particularly special and noteworthy one for us,” said Ragland. “Not only was the caliber of performances and songs as high as it’s ever been, it marks the first time we’ve hosted the event here in Asheville, our beloved headquarters now for the last six plus years. Moving this event to Asheville from New York’s Lincoln Center was long overdue, especially given how amazing and appreciative the fans of live music are here. The energy, enthusiasm and support that the audience provided our finalists’ made for a really magical experience for everyone involved.”
As the grand prize winner, Bryant will receive a fully funded six-song EP, recorded and mixed at Asheville’s own Echo Mountain Recording Studios and released on the NewSong Recordings label. Bryant also receives a performance showcase at the esteemed 2019 ASCAP Music Café at the Sundance Film Festival (January 31) in Park City, Utah and a featured performance in the 2019 Arts Brookfield ‘Summer Plaza’ series in New York City. All finalists receive a Shure MOTIV microphone, and will be strongly considered for future ‘NewSong Presents’ paid performances across the United States.
Bassist and songwriter Bryant leads the Nashville-based indie rock band Mel Bryant & the Mercy Makers. The four musicians moved together from Philly and New York to settle in East Nashville where they run their own recording studio, Electric Church Records, and work as the backing band for various local artists. Bryant competed in the NewSong Music Competition with her accompanist, Aaron Hicks, on acoustic guitar. Musical influences range from Fall Out Boy and Green Day to Laura Marling, B. B. King and the Allman Brothers.
“It was truly an honor just to be recognized as a finalist and to have been a part of such a wonderful night of music,” says Bryant of her win. “That show was really a career highlight and you could feel the mutual astonishment of all the finalists throughout the show— such an absolutely gorgeous group of musicians. Winning this competition could not have come at a better time for us; it’s so easy to get lost and discouraged by a career in music, but to be recognized by such a wonderful and authentic organization is incredibly heartwarming and life-affirming. I’m so excited to continue working with NewSong, and I can’t wait to see what this next chapter has in store.”
For the first time in its seventeen year history, the live performance finals of the NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competition was held in Asheville, NC, where NewSong Music has been headquartered since 2012. The move marks a new direction for the program, relocating from its longstanding host venue, New York City’s venerable Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
For more information about NewSong Recordings and the NewSong Music Competition, visit newsong-music.com/
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