The winners of the first semi-final of the Third Annual “Your Big Break” showcase series presented by Love Revolution Org and the Gold Coast Arts Center at the Gold Coast Arts Center are Annika (first place) and Emily Lutz. They will move on to the finals on Saturday, April 18, competing against the winners of the second semi-final, to be held on Saturday, March 21.
There is a lot at stake: true to the 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), 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, and more still to be announced.
“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.
There is a new twist this year as there will also be mentors assigned to the finalists once they have been chosen after the second semi final. The mentors will work with the artists to help them hone their craft before performing at the finals. Mentors are 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).
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.
Even at this age as young as 15, the performers – almost all of whom are Long Islanders – have had a good deal of experience. Alissa Cavallaro, of Commack, 16 years old, has been performing since she was 8; Lisa Vetrone, the oldest of the performers at 20 and a student at NYU, has perfromed at the Bitter End and used her powerful voice to belt it out like Grace Slick in her first song and like Janis Joplin in her second, which was an original composition. Heather Sommer, of Bellmore, is 20. Sydney Perruzza, 15 years old from Carle Place, was a late entry and a friend of Emily Lutz, and received so many votes from the audience that she was invited back to the next semi-final when she was originally scheduled to perform.
Emily Lutz, of Carle Place, who came in second and won a place in the finals, is from Carle Place, is just 15.
Attika, the first place winner, is from Breezy Point, and at 17, performed an original piece which was really original.,
“Your Big Break,” is like “American Idol” in the sense that it helps catapult a young performer’s career, but without the viciousness. The environment – even among the performers – is entirely supportive, and even those who do not make it through the contest have the benefit of practicing their art in front of a live performance in front of a live audience (granted many are friends and relatives) and significant “movers and shakers” in the music industry.
Eberle noted that unlike years ago, when a performer would have had to be taken on by a record label to get anywhere, today, with all the independent outlets, can be more entrepreneurial and still succeed.
And for we who sit in the audience – especially those who are unrelated to the performer – it is a chance to see someone at this fledgling stage in their career who might very well become the next Paul McCartney or Taylor Swift – a star – and to have a vote to advance them on their way (audience votes count for one-third of the total).
The show also included a special guest appearance by Iridesense, local musicians who have had some success in the business of their own with national touring slots and songs in several television shows and movies.
Tickets for the shows, which start at 8 pm, are $5 for students and $10 for adults.
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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