Raising the voices of Windsor

Noah Gecelovsky
By Noah Gecelovsky March 27, 2018 12:23

Sonny Borrelli (on stage) talks to the crowd at Gourmet Emporium for the Raise Your Voice competition. (Photo by: Noah Gecelovsky)

By: Noah Gecelovsky

Artists, judges and audience members gathered at the Gourmet Emporium on March 19 for the second week of the Raise Your Voice competition.

Raise Your Voice began on March 12 with 15 artists competing for the grand prize of a recording contract with 360 Entertainment. The recording contract will include: four songs written for them and recorded in a world-class record studio, a music video and Vevo channel, their own website and a complete social media promotion campaign.

The competition has an American-Idol-like structure where artists sing for judges, and audience members vote to keep their favourite singer in the competition. Each week the three artists with the lowest vote count enter the bottom three and from there, two contestants are eliminated and one is saved by the audience.

The contest was created by the founders of 360 Entertainment and Riggi International Inc., Rob Palombo and Walter Riggi, to find undiscovered talent in the Windsor area.

Walter Riggi, President of Strategic Partnerships at Riggi International Inc., was also one of the judges for the evening.

“The idea started [when] I wanted to get more people into the recording studio,” said Riggi. “At auditions, we see about 25 to 50 people come out, then we pick the top 15 and the top 15 get whittled down [organically] to the best singer.”

Riggi added that the genres are diverse spanning from rock and roll to pop and country.

The competition had Miss Universe Canada’s Sonny Borrelli as a special guest announcer for the evening.

“I’ve been working with these fine gentleman who run this competition for the last two years and I’m excited to be back,” said Borrelli. “One of the things we want to accomplish is give local singers a stage for them to showcase their talents.”

Rob Palombo also added that Windsor is a city full of talent and that this competition is a great platform and opportunity to show it.

Ash Alison is a contestant in the Raise Your Voice contest. Coming from a small town like Kingsville, she sees this as a great opportunity for local talent.

“It’s a great way to showcase local talent and give us some really cool opportunities to not only be heard but potentially take our music careers to the next level,” said Alison. “This week I went all out with my costume and I got some movement on stage and some interaction with the crowd which was a HUGE step for me. Normally I am pretty still on stage. But it was a challenge of one of the judges for me to push those boundaries, and it actually immensely improved my performance and my nerves”

This is the third season for the Raise Your Voice competition. Auditions began in February and the top 15 were selected to compete from March 12 to May 14.

The competition continues Monday, March 26 at 6 p.m. at the Gourmet Emporium where the theme for the contest will be 60s night.

Benjamin Doncom (left) performs Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N’ Roses at Raise Your Voice competition. (Photo by: Noah Gecelovsky)

Noah Gecelovsky
By Noah Gecelovsky March 27, 2018 12:23

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