Asheville, NC (Dec. 7, 2021) – The 20th annual NewSong Music Showcase Presented by Citizen Vinyl kicked off Saturday night with an impressive lineup of singer-songwriters. Out of eight finalists from across the country, folk singer Michael Flynn swooned the judges with his literary songwriting and wistful melodies. His first-place award includes a fully- funded, six-song EP recorded and mixed at Citizen Studios and released on the NewSong Recordings label.
“Anytime you invest a lot of yourself into trying to get good at something, and then get recognized for that, it’s an amazing feeling — especially with the level of talent that all the other finalists displayed,” Flynn said. “The whole night was a celebration of art, and dignifying the pursuit of making art, and to be recognized as an artist in that way is bewildering and wonderful.”
During the first round of the competition, Flynn performed “Damage” and “Survive With Me.” The latter contrasts a playful, pop melody with existential lyrics aimed at climate change. He wrote the tune in 2019, before the pandemic, but he says it’s since taken on new meaning. After Flynn was announced the winner, he rounded out the evening with “Saluda,” an ode to his tiny town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the NewSong Music Competition at Citizen Vinyl was meaningful in many ways,” Gar Ragland, NewSong founder and Citizen Vinyl CEO, said. “This year’s eight finalists hail from across the country, and brought a level of excellence we’ve likely never seen or heard before. This caliber of talent makes winning this year’s grand prize all the more impressive an accomplishment for Michael Flynn – who also happens to call Western North Carolina home.”
The eight finalists (bios and info here) beat out more than 1,000 entries from across the country. During Saturday night’s competition, finalists Olivia Ellen Lloyd and Jay Filson advanced to the Award Round, along with Michael Flynn. They were judged by a panel of industry experts that included Gar Ragland, Elysa Marden, artistic director at Arts Brookfield in New York City, and Claude Coleman, Jr., a singer-songwriter, CEO and director of SoundSpace@Rabbit’s, and drummer for the band, Ween. A portion of the event’s proceeds went to SoundSpace, which aims to support and grow the arts in Asheville’s South Side, a historically Black community.
About Michael Flynn
Saluda, NC transplant Michael Flynn is lauded in songwriting circles as a force of musical nature. A pioneer of the celebrated Charleston outfit Slow Runner, Flynn’s commanding solo act evokes the full spectrum of human emotion with his unique blend of euphoric, piano-driven neo-pop and esoteric lyrical style. Often compared as a cross between the sanguine sensibilities of Ben Folds, and the dismal temperament of Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, Flynn creates intoxicating sonic arrangements that weave seamlessly between tension and release. Following his critically appraised 2020 release, Survive With Me, Flynn looks forward to treating fans with more musical adventures in the form of a new EP in early 2022.
About NewSong Music
Now in its 20th year, NewSong Music is an independent artist development organization and independent record label. Its mission is to identify and celebrate truly exceptional artists, and to build and support a community of performers and songwriters across all genres of music.
About Citizen Vinyl
Citizen Vinyl is a state-of-the-art record pressing plant, recording studio, and gathering space in Asheville, NC. Its mission is to honor the region’s history of manufacturing and craft and to foster a creative community, united by music and the humanities.
For more information about NewSong Recordings and the NewSong Music Competition, visit newsong-music.com.
For more information about Citizen Vinyl, visit their website: CitizenVinyl.com
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