It is time once again for Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Star contest, an annual event over the last few years in which music fans cast their vote to determine an up-and-coming artist or band that will perform a small set at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival. To view all 25 contestants and hear music from them, check out the Rising Star site. Since the competition goes down to just five on May 4 and since this year marks the fifth time the Festival will be presented out in Las Vegas, I figure that five is the best amount of acts that I’ll be writing about and, of course, voting up a storm for. How do these five stack up against your choices?
A SILENT FILM (Vote)
Hometown: Oxford, England — Label: Silent Songs
(Pre-order New Year (EP) on iTunes – out April 21)
Do you remember a song called “You Will Leave A Mark” from 2010? That single, a minor entry on the Alternative chart during September of that year as aided by SiriusXM’s Alt Nation, was the first and only to break the top 40 from this act. The quartet is now a duo, consisting of original members Robert Stevenson and Spencer Walker. With a new EP coming later in the month and a full-length set later in the year, the two men are hoping that their new lineup, tour and tunes will help their star rise once more.
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Label: Vagrant
(Purchase “Go For It” on iTunes)
For a quartet that’s only a few EPs into their career, these guys sure have a lot going for them. I initially found the band via blogs last year and on SoundCloud, where their five individual uploads combined have amassed over 1.5 million plays in mere months. Add more than 1.8 additional streams through Spotify and you have huge numbers, especially for something that was just meant to be a solo project for leader Andy States. Their sound is great and there’s more room to cruise into the hearts of indie pop fans.
KENZIE NIMMO (Vote)
Hometown: Provo, Utah — Label: self-released
(Purchase “Cool Kids” on iTunes)
The rise of popular social media site Vine has provided several acts with the opportunity to sign with major labels, and Nimmo is a worthy candidate of being the next in line to be scooped up. Last summer, the Utah singer gained traction with a series of video clips featuring a combination of both fantastic vocals and superb editing (see “Cool Kids” as an example) that have made she and Harris Heller stars on the web, which led to an appearance of ABC’s The View in February. Nimmo is very cool and one to watch.
MADDI JANE (Vote)
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois — Label: ADD Ventures
(Pre-order Maddi Jane (EP) on iTunes – out June 2)
Imagine being a teenager on the web with 1.2 million YouTube subscribers and over 360 million views. I think we all wish for the kind of success that Jane currently has now at such a tender age, a story that started with a performance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show during the summer of 2010 and continues to blossom through covers and a forthcoming EP. Her most recent video for an original single titled “Only Gets Better” premiered a week ago, and that also may serve well as a slogan to get her that slot to sing.
TANNER PATRICK (Vote)
Hometown: Dallas, Texas — Label: self-released
(Purchase “Earned It” on iTunes)
Born in Los Angeles and now based in Dallas, the 23-year-old singer and songwriter started in a band before beginning his career as a solo act. He also appeared on the E! series Opening Act during the summer of 2012, winning the opportunity to open a show for Brad Paisley. Patrick is now successful on his own YouTube channel as he closes in on 700,000 followers and an immense 74 million views across covers and original tracks. Patrick’s active account and strong social media base should help him nicely.
Again, check out the Rising Star site for all the dates, details and voting information. Good luck to everyone!