Annika is the grand prize winner of the third annual ‘Your Big Break’ talent competition of the Gold Coast Arts Center/Acoustic Cafe, Great Neck, Long Island, on Saturday, April 18.
Performing original songs composed as recently as two weeks ago, she brought a sweetness and sincerity to her music and fine acoustic guitar technique.
Annika, who divides her time between Breezy Point and Rockland County, said of the song she wrote, “I Can’t” that it describes of the frustration of a high school-age person seeing things she would like to accomplish, but not being able to effect change in the world.
Another song, “California,” written about a place she has never visited but imagines to be great, was written out of the discomfort of being stuck in such a cold winter, and yearning for the warmth of the Golden State.
The second-place finisher was a six-member classic rock band, Zofolk, who proved themselves real crowd-pleasing showmen.
Zofolk was formed at Rock-n-Roll University during the Spring of 2014 and has performed at venues including The Nassau Coliseum, The Hub in Island Park, Tattoo Lou’s Annual Poker Run and Easter Seals Drive and at The Cradle of Aviation. Zofolk has also performed for Breathe for Britt Foundation which benefits Long Island children and teens affected by cystic fibrosis.
The other two finalists singer-songwriters Emily Lutz and See.
Winning the showcase competition is a big deal. True to its name, “Your Big Break,” the youthful winners win a score of prizes to give them a big leg up in their music career.
In addition to performing in front of the judges who are influential in the music industry, the winner gets a chance to open for national acts at major venues like The Space at Westbury/Bruce Michael (judge), recording time at The Loft Sound Studio w/Donnie Klang (who is one of the judges) and Matthew LaPorte (judge) who are offering a one song demo recording to the winner, a feature at Reverbnation.com/Lou Plaia (judge), Online TV streaming opportunities on IndiMusic TV with Chris Pati (judge), musical equipment from All Music Inc and Guy Brogna (judge), mentoring at Five Towns College with Linda Ingrisano (judge), plus a photo shoot by Image Photographers and Neil Tandy, a video shoot with Kevin Wood Media, a publicity and promotion campaign with Rick Eberle Public Relations, radio appearances on WCWP and WUSB.
“All the things you need to get started on your musical journey,” said Rick Eberle, himself a veteran of Arista Records, a band member of “Iridesense,” an entertainment manager and publicist, and the organizer of the Big Break event.
In a new twist for this year’s competition, each of the finalist was provided a mentor to work with the artists to help them hone their craft before performing at the finals. Mentors were Long Island based hit makers Ryan Star (Top 10 Single “Stay a While”, TV on Rockstar Supernova), John Hampson (Nine Days top 5 hit “Story of A Girl”), Ido Zmishlany (current hit for Shawn Mendes “Life of the Party”) and Steve Thompson (producer for John Lennon, Guns N Roses, Madonna, 2014 LIMHOF inductee).
Also performing was Katie Zimmer – who won last year’s competition – in a stunning collaboration with the Como Brothers.
An open call for submissions for all musicians age 15 to 25 back in December resulted in more than 1000 submissions, from which the semi-finalists were selected.
To be eligible, the performer could not currently have a recording or publishing contract to submit for the showcase events; interested artists must perform with a band or solo with an acoustic guitar or sing to a backing music track.
Gold Coast Arts Center is located at 113 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, NY 11021 516-829-2570. For more information, visit www.goldcoastarts.org, or email email@example.com.
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