It was an evening I'll never forget...in a totally good way. And not because I enjoyed a few hours away from my kids, rather, because I was invited, as a member of the media, to be an Industry Judge for Season 7 of The Shot held at the Revival Bar & Event Venue.
I mean, it was a total eclipse to my heart as I watched all 10 Semi-Finalist perform. Some people told me watching undiscovered talent live would be nothing but a heartache, but I said that I would be holding out for a hero with every breath you take. (see what I did there?). If you're a lover of 80's music like me, you'll get it.
Despite being Facebook friends (and having 209 mutual friends), I never met her in person until this day. Teresa Cirillo, Creative Director of The Shot and Owner/Director of Studio E, illuminated with excitement for each one of the contestants. Having written and published the book, The Vocal Compass, Teresa understands the importance of vocal health and the wellness approach this business and artistry. Her important role with this show includes much of the musical portion, arranging the live bands, music for the finale, teaching and coaching the contestants through their voice and performances.
Sam Cook, Host of The Shot, presents each undiscovered artist with ease and grace, week after week, often giving the viewers an inside peek on how the show gets pieced together. It really does take a team. Take a look at Sam's candid look at mentorship week taking place at Studio E in Stoney Creek, Ontario
Creator and Executive Producer C.J. Allen rifffs into The Shot's Season 7, collaborating with Judge-Mentors Jennifer Beavis, Shane Christopher Neal, Blair Packham and singer/songwriter Jessie T for what I believe to be THE BEST SEASON YET and I'm thrilled I got to be a part of it.
As an Industry Judge, this former radio gal, JOLO lifestyle Blogger, 5 time Author and Content Creator was asked to help vote on the top performers that would ultimately round out the Top 8; moving them forward into the FINALS airing August 17, 2019. Of course, I didn't know what to expect seeing as the semi-finals consisted of writing and performing all original tracks but let me assure you, it was nothing short of spectacular.
First up was Bailey Jordan-Neil and let me tell you, he set the stage for the competition. He had great rhythm and lyrics and his confidence showed as he performed.
Next up was Paige Warner. She comfortably sat behind the keyboard and showcased her vocal range. Her performance was simple, yet touching. She wasn't picked to advance to the finals by the judges however, she was saved by the Industry Vote to perform as part of the Top 8 at the Finals.
Rachel Hickey chose to stand while smashing the keyboard, which in my opinion was a great use of stage. She interacted with the audience immediately drawing our attention from the start. She performed a slower paced song which reminded me of the popular Frank Sinatra song "It was a very good year." Her lyrics were creatively written, appealing to a wide age group with a younger twist. Her vocal were strong as was her confidence.
Things really started picking up when Greg Rider stepped onto the stage. His authentic country vibe resonated throughout the room. And even when he thought the battery died in his guitar, he successfully turned the situation into a toe tapping, heel clapping revival.
And then there was Conor Murphy and although he never made the Final 8 cut, he made a lasting impression on all of us. While he performed, I envisioned him on a hit broadway show as his talent gave life to a different song dynamic.
Cassidy Taylor captured my attention immediately. I found her style to be a cross between The Cranberries and Sinead O'Connor. Her performance resonated with me with well written lyrics about loving someone for the wrong reasons. A topic many of us can relate to.
The youngest of the performers that evening was Hannah Thomas and sadly, she did not move on to the final round that evening. Her lyrics, centered around mental health, delivered an important and powerful message as she showcased her range and pitch.
Let's talk Jasmine June for a moment. Not only is her name catchy, her performance and stage presents was mysterious and impressive. Her slightly raspy voice and seductive lyrics complemented her great use of facial expression. Jasmine did not disappoint while leaving a great lasting impression.
Michaela Cahill showed up for her SHOT! She came prepared with a large support group ready to cheer her on and a pocket full of talent. When she performed, I leaned over to Dave Woods, "In The Country" podcast host and said that I could hear her song being played on the radio. I found her song to be relatable, exposing raw emotion, pain and passion. Everything that emcompasses a great hit song.
And, as the saying goes; "save the best for last" was exactly that! Tessah Dunn delivered BIG TIME! Her colourful style paired with her talent, catchy beat and fun lyrics gave her performance a standing OH!-vation from all 5 judges. Her uniqueness was memorable, authentic and simply beautiful. I felt her vibe right from the start of her song and it carried through to the end, using fun lyrical slang words like "bounce" to keep it hip and trendy.
Moving onto the Final Round is:
To say the judges have a hard decision would be an understatement but thankfully (for them), they will have some help from the live audience and social following in selecting the winner. YES!! That means YOU get to help select the winner!!! Make sure you are following the official page on Facebook so you can help select the final winner.
It happens August 17th when 8 of the above featured Artist sing for their shot to be crowned Season 7 Winner of "The Shot" AND YOU CAN BE THERE LIVE & VOTING! Tickets are available right now, RIGHT HERE! I can't wait for you to experience each and everyone of these amazing artists for yourself. Join them LIVE as they #SingForTheShot. I know I'll be watching and voting!
With love & lyrics,