SING for Your LIFE, Atlanta!

Nico Stoerner, Staff Writer
Barry Brandon, Contributor

Forget lip-synching, Atlanta… It’s time to Sing for Your Life.

A brand new live singing competition is taking Atlanta by storm and none other than Barry Brandon is helping pull it together. Contestants will be receiving vocal coaching, style consultations, mentoring and more, while also having the opportunity to showcase their talents weekly through online promotions and stage performances with live musicians. Barry Brandon and I sat down with Singer/Songwriter JL Rodriguez to discuss the competition, what we can expect, and what we can look forward to.

– What has happened thus far? Now that the video submissions are over, what is next?

So far, we’ve had an amazing turnout with the video submission round of the competition– 51 videos were submitted and we’ve gotten over 16,500 hits to our youtube channel. We’ve got a lot of talent to showcase here and the people of Atlanta (as well as viewers around the world) are responding to this competition in ways we never imagined. We somehow, quite amazingly, managed to narrow those 51 submissions down to just 27 contestants that we be competing this Thursday at the Jungle Club for a spot in the top 12.

– What is happening tomorrow night at the live auditions?

Tomorrow night at the Jungle Club, our second round of the competition will begin. The top 27 competitors from the video submission round will be battling it out on stage in front of a panel of judges and a huge live audience. Each of these contestants will be performing a number, maybe two, to secure their spot in the top 12. Now, the fun thing about this round is that the contestant with the highest audience vote will automatically be assured a spot. Our host, Ms. Sarah B, will be announcing the results — tomorrow night– immediately following the auditions. Where the other 11 will have to wait for the 3rd Annual Glitter and Fur party for the official announcement, one person will be able to go home knowing that they will be moving on to the live show round.

– When are the live shows starting? How will you decide who is in the top 12?

The top 12 will be selected based not only on their performances at the live auditions, but also their video submission, their promotional skills, their image, their everything. This is a total package kind of competition.
The live shows begin Jan 10th and will continue every week at the Jungle Club through March 28th. Each week the two contestants with the lowest audience scores will have to sing for their life in front of the panel of judges (and a celebrity guest judge) until only one contestant remains.

– Celebrity Guest Judges? Who? When?

Another part of the excitement of this competition is the amount of interest we’ve received from the community and the country. We’re going to be featuring a celebrity guest judge, each week, to add an extra facet to our judging panel. Ashley Reid, photographer and daughter of L.A. Reid, has been confirmed as a judge in March. She will not only will be shooting the judges this weekend and judging in March, but will also offering a photo shoot to her favorite contestant on the show. AND, as an exclusive just for you, we have also confirmed that grammy awarding winning singer-songwriter Crystal Nicole will be joining the panel. Crystal Nicole has written chart-topping singles for artists such as Rihanna, Natasha Bedingfield, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Monica and more. We could not be happier to have her on board!

– What are you looking to accomplish with all of this?

Sing for your Life is a competition that aims to find not only find Atlanta’s best vocalist, but also to provide artist development and a local, national and international platform for the winner. We want to be able to provide the opportunity to showcase and develop some of the massive amounts of talent hidden away in this wonderful city.

– Will you be performing at all?

Yes. We sure will. Barry and I will be performing some of our original music during the competition — maybe together, maybe separately. We can’t divulge too much of what we have in store, just yet. But just know that we already have huge huge plans for entertainment at the live shows.

– We know you are a songwriter – so will you be writing music for any of the singers?

There will be a week of the competition devoted specifically to original music written by — yours truly. Which, of course, will be an added push for the competitors to really bring it.

– This seems like a huge undertaking, how are you guys pulling this off?

Let’s just say that none of us have been getting a lot of sleep over the past few weeks. Instead of our houses being designed for sleeping, they are now designed for photo shoots, photo editing, rehearsals, video production, marketing, etc., etc., etc.
But, as other artists, performers, musicians, and anyone else who knows the labor of love, when you’re doing something that you love, especially for others who love it as much as you do– you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.

– How will fans of the singers be able to see and follow what is going on if they don’t live in Atlanta? Can they?

Of course! We have a youtube channel that has only been active for a month but has been getting worldwide attention already. That channel was the biggest resource for people to learn about the competition and our talented artists. However, since the launch of our website, this is now your resource for any and all news and information about the competition.
Even further than that, all of the live shows (including the live auditions tomorrow night) will be filmed and broadcasted on our website as well. If you live in Atlanta, this will be an opportunity for you to catch some behind the scenes footage of your favorite contestant and your judges. If you don’t, you’ll have the opportunity to follow along and fall in love with our contestants as if you did.

– Sounds like this is a mix of The Voice, American Idol and X Factor. Is it?

Well, you could say that. We have definitely incorporated aspects of other successful singing competitions, but we’ve taken that genre of show and added our own personal spin on it. We want people to recognize the format, but we always want to bring something new to the table. Surprises shouldn’t be a surprise in Sing for your Life.

– What are YOU looking for in the singers?

As a singer-songwriter, I’m looking for that really great vocalist. I’m looking for someone who will give me goosebumps, every single time they get on stage. We’ve got a very diverse group of singers here and every single of one of them have the ability to give me what I’m searching for. Now, we just have to sit back and see if they do.

– Between You, Michael and Barry there should be some really great banter with a lot of opinions flying back and fourth. Are you looking forward to all that?

Yes. Anyone who knows the three of us knows that we are some of the most opinionated people on the planet. We are all very good at what we do.
And, even though we’re all very close friends and business partners, those opinions don’t always match up. Let’s be honest, they hardly ever do. However, I think that will not only be beneficial for the contestants to get a wide variety of opinions, but will also provide lots of entertainment for the audience.
I promise that we won’t get into any screaming matches during the show. Well, I might be able to promise that. Maybe.

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