The FINALS of Katrina’s $1,000 Singer-Songwriter Challenge

Tonight was the night! The FINALS of Katrina’s $1,000 Singer-Songwriter Challenge.   On the 8th week of the challenge, all of the weekly finalists and one wild card came together to perform for the $1,000 cash prize.  It’s was an amazing night of music and here’s how the lineup unfolded for the night.

8:00pm: Nadia Robertson
8:20pm: Chris Fritz-Grice
8:40pm: Sarah Seminski, Eric Reardon & Derek Dupuis
9:00pm: Martha Bourne
9:20pm: Pat Ramey
9:40pm: John Jerome
10:00pm: Benny Z & Mike Gruen – Wild Card
10:20pm: Renee & Joe

Judges for the night were Chris Trapper, a Grammy Award nominated singer-songwriter, front man for The Push Stars.  Rita Cary, a host on NPR radio who covers music on “All Things Considered.” She was the former morning host on 92.5, The River and a champion of up-and-coming singer-songwriters.  Ruby Rose Fox, 2016 Singer-Songwriter of the Year Award Winner at the 2016 Boston Music Awards and the Improper Bostonian magazine’s pick for Best Musician of 2015 in the “Boston’s Best” issue, and featured on the cover of its 2015 “ Music” issue.

Chris Langathianos was back for his role as host for this showcase of musicians..

High school senior Nadia Robertson started the night with a powerful rendition of Sam Cook’s classic “A Change Is Gonna Come”  She followed with her original heart break song “Since You’ve Been Gone.”  Despite how well she covered Sam Cook’s song, it was her original song that captured the audience’s attention. On her original you could feel the connection between her and the song. Nadia Robertson has a great future ahead of her. 

Chris Fritz-Grice

Rockport’s Chris Fritz-Grice mentioned that he performs in a reggae band, Pier Ave, with Nadia Roberson.  Chris’s reggae roots were evident in each of the original songs he performed.  His original songs included “Oasis” a song about a girl; “Stones” about taking time to smell the rose; and “All Along” a song about breaking the patterns of depression.  Chris Fritz-Grice had a great charismatic stage presence.  You can hear his music on his SoundCloud page, here.

Sarah Seminole, Eric Reardon & Derek Dupuis

Vocal power house Sarah Seminole performed with her bandmates Eric Reardon & Derek Dupuis from the group Sarah and The Wild Versatile. Sarah was the winner of Week 3 of the Singer Song Writer Challenge..  Sarah performed three original songs, “Dearly”, “You and I” and “There Must Be A Rainbow Somewhere.”  The proceeds from the song “There Must Be A Rainbow Somewhere” are being donated to a relief fund to Allepo.  The song brought a tear to Sarah’s face and several people in the crowd.

You can hear Sarah and The Wild Versatile on their latest EP Fall Into Grace.

Martha Bourne

Singer song-writer Martha Bourne from North Carolina sang from her heart about what she cares about and that passion came through in her performance.  Her originals included the hard rocking “When The Devil Comes Knocking”; “Tears of Joy” about that place in between happiness and that dark place; and “Back to Me” a song she wrong her girlfriend at the time took a big job.  “Back to Me” is all about supporting someone when they go out to do their thing while still trying to do your own thing

Support her latest project, The Light In Me, on Band Camp.

Pat Ramey

Week 5 winner Pat Ramey treated the crowd to his nice vocal style with a trio of original songs.  “Cave Man”, “Twist ” and “Systems of Sound” about his long journey out of a relationship.

What’s your creative process for creating music?
Big sticky notes! Honestly, I usually groove around a loop or riff and start mumbling nonsense. For verses I tend to just journal A LOT until I find a few words that are really potent and then build around that. I can go for months with just pieces of songs until the right fitting pre chorus or bridge comes along for it.

John Raymond Jerome

John Raymond Jerome is one of those no nonsense performers that emotes what he was saying though his voice beyond the lyrics.  His three original songs had distinct stylistic differences.  “Breath” a song about someone that is gone; “Sunday Morning Sunrise” felt like a John Denver classic; and “Crazy” about being crazy in love but not knowing where you are with the other person. 

Benny Z & Mike Gruen

Renee and Joe

Week one winners Renee and Joe returned with their great harmonies.  They performed a trio of original songs.

Take a listen to their latest project Red Bird and read their interview with Libro Musica, here.

What’s the best part of having your spouse and your creative and performing partner?
J: Being apart sucks. We like each other. Playing gigs together means more time together. Gig night = Date night. We follow a Delaney & Bonnie model where this project showcases our original tunes but we can also supplement a band. Renee started playing keys with “What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?” a few years back and I was subbing on bass and now we’re both pretty regular members of the band. We love being in that band.

Ruby Rose Fox

Tonight’s judge, vocalist, guitarist, pianist and song writer Ruby Rose Fox took to the stage.  Her performance warmed up the house on the frigid December night in Manchester by the bay.  Ruby Rose Fox has a hard driving edgy soulful style.  I look forward to hearing more of her music and seeing her perform soon.

In July & August 2015 Ruby Rose Fox was both the Improper Bostonian magazine’s pick for Best Musician of 2015 in the “Boston’s Best” issue, and featured on the cover of its 2015 “ Music” issue.  Ruby also took home the “ Best Pop Artist,” and “ Best Female Vocalist” honors at the 2015 Boston Music Awards, and was named “ Female Performer of the Year,” by the 2 016 New England Music Awards.

And The Winner Is….

The winner of the first Katrina’s ‘$1,000 Singer- Songwriter Challenge Winner was freelance musician, composer and producer Martha Bourne!

Support her latest project, The Light In Me, on Band Camp.