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A woman in a turquoise dress leans against a painted brick wall. December 6th, 2022

AC Sapphire is the 2022 NewSong Music Grand Prize Winner

NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competition is thrilled to announce that AC Sapphire from Portland, Oregon, is the 2022 Grand Prize Winner.

During the Saturday, Dec. 3 finals, AC Sapphire impressed with her innovative song craft, intricate melodies, lush harmonies (with accompanist Kendall Lujan, seen below holding a vintage camera), and rockstar delivery. AC’s grand prize package includes a fully funded six-song EP, recorded and mixed at Citizen STwo women, Kendall Lujan and AC Sapphire, sit on a couch in front of a yellow lamp. Kendall holds a vintage camera.tudios, a vinyl package of the EP pressed at Citizen Vinyl, and a featured, paid performance at Arts Brookfield’s Summer Concert Series in New York City in the summer of 2023.

“Once again, this year’s accomplished finalists delivered a magical evening of live music to a full house at Citizen Vinyl, while tasking our team of music industry judges with the difficult work of awarding top honors,” says Gar Ragland, founder of NewSong Music. “In the end, AC Sapphire’s distinctive style, lyricism, engaging stage presence, musicianship and virtuosic vocal harmonies put her in a league of her own amidst a very talented group of artists.”

Learn more about AC Sapphire’s punk-infused indie-folk (and her band The Shoulder Pads) here.

The internationally recognized NewSong Music event, now in its 21st year, is one of North America’s premier showcases of emerging performers and songwriters today. The Saturday, Dec. 3 finale concert brought eight finalists — selected from nearly 500 entries, and from across the US and Canada — to Asheville, NC, for an evening of songs and connection. The magical evening of singer-songwriter performances ran the gamut from soulful Americana to indie-pop and from cosmic country to ethereal.

The 2022 runners up were: The Singer and the Songwriter (Rachel Garcia and Thu Tran; Oakland, CA) and Justin Cross (Birmingham, AL).

The full finalist lineup included: Cozi Anda Flounder (Cozi and Ezra Vancil; Dallas, TX); Indus Adams (San Antonio, TX); Mikalyn (Guelph, Ontario); Lua Flora (Evan Button; Weaverville, NC); Kristian Phillip Valentino (Asheville, NC).

A group of 14 people who competed in the NewSong Music Competition stand behind and sit on a green couch.

2022 NewSong Music finalists (with NewSong founder Gar Ragland, center back). Image by Aaron Stone Photo

Judges for the event, which took place at Citizen Vinyl in downtown Asheville, included Claude Coleman Jr., André Cholmondeley, Ariana Hellerman, Matt Hendrickson, and Gar Ragland. Learn more about the judges here.

As this year’s Grand Prize Winner, AC Sapphire joins NewSong Music’s impressive roster of artists such as Crys Matthews, Rachael Kilgour, Michael Flynn, Jobi Riccio, Mel Bryant, and others.