AS GRAND PRIZE WINNER, RICCIO RECEIVES AN EP RECORDING PROJECT AT ECHO MOUNTAIN RECORDING STUDIOS, RELEASED ON THE NEWSONG RECORDINGS LABEL, A PERFORMANCE SHOWCASE AT THE 2019 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL’S ESTEEMED SUNDANCE ASCAP MUSIC CAFE AND MORE
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Boston-based guitarist and songwriter Jobi Riccio has been named the 2019 grand prize winner of the eighteenth annual NewSong Music Performance and Songwriting Competition. Riccio – 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, November 23, in front of a sold-out crowd. Riccio, a Denver, CO native and current Berklee College of Music student, impressed judges and audience members with her magnetic stage presence, faultless vocals and songwriting inspired by artists ranging from Buck Owens to Joni Mitchell. The panel of music industry judges included Gar Ragland, music producer and co-founder of NewSong Music; Ehren Cruz, Artistic Director & Co-Event Director for LEAF Community Arts in Asheville, NC; and Elysa Marden, Vice President of Arts Brookfield in New York City.
“It was tough. There was so much heart shown out there this evening,” says Cruz of the judges’ decision. “Jobi ultimately sang from the depth of her soul, and I think there is something so natural, fluid and charismatic about how she delivers onstage. It’s an honor to catch someone at that stage in their career and celebrate where they are, and hopefully this [NewSong win] helps her soar.”
Between songs, 22-year-old Riccio shared bits and pieces about her musical upbringing, living near Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado and listening to musical heroes like Alison Kraus soundchecking from Riccio’s backyard. Driven by the bluegrass community she came of age in, she writes songs that meld classic country sounds with modern sensibilities. Her Debut EP “Strawberry Wine” is an ode to the women of country music she grew up singing along to in her bedroom.
“I’m totally overcome by the support I felt last night and all weekend from NewSong and the greater Asheville community,” says Riccio. “I am absolutely honored to have been selected as the grand prize winner for the 2019 NewSong Competition. I can’t wait to work together again and am so grateful for all the opportunities and collaboration that lie ahead. I can’t express my gratitude enough. “
Riccio was one of three artists to advance to the final round. She was joined by Parker Ainsworth (Joshua Tree, CA) and Grant Maloy Smith (Kingston, RI). Riccio also won the People’s Choice competition, which was awarded to the songwriter with the most audience votes. Ainsworth was the People’s Choice runner-up.
“Jobi immediately won favor with the audience from the moment she first walked on stage, only then to astonish us all with her instrumental command, deeply emotive singing and most importantly, a precocious storytelling sensibility that’s well beyond her mere 22 years of age,” says Ragland of Riccio’s performance.
As the grand prize winner, Riccio 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. Riccio also receives a performance showcase at the esteemed 2020 Sundance ASCAP Music Café at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and a featured performance in the 2020 Arts Brookfield ‘Summer Plaza’ series in New York City.
For the second time in its eighteen-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 to Asheville was a long time coming for the program, which relocated 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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