Aspiring jazz singers are reminded and encouraged to audition for the famous Open Mic Jazz (OMJ) singing competition at GrandWest. Auditions are taking place every Wednesday evening from August 29 until September 19 from 8pm at Jackson Hall at the entertainment destination.
The competition, now in its tenth year, provides a platform for up and coming “non-professional singers” to show off their talents to the public. There are prizes worth more than R200000 up for grabs, with the winner walking off with R40000 in cash and lots of other prizes. The competition is open to all jazz singing hopefuls who do not currently make a living from singing. To enter, simply go onto the GrandWest website and choose a song you’d like to sing from the repertoire sheet (www.suninternational.com/open-mic-jazz). Then arrive at an OMJ audition and be one of the first 30 people to register. There can only be 30 auditions per session. Registration happens at the audition on a first come first serve basis, so be sure to arrive early. The competition is free to enter.
“We have found such incredibly talented jazz singers at our Open Mic Jazz singing competition,” says Elouise Matthys, the PR and Promotions Manager at GrandWest. “Some of our past winners have become very well known on the jazz scene, and we are very proud to have ‘discovered’ them at the Open Mic Jazz singing competition.”
Some of the past winners include 2009 winner, Natasha Meister, who has been thrilling discerning blues and funk audiences with her ‘motown’ voice. She recently released her first album.
2014’s winner was SAMA-nominated, Zoe Modiga, whose double-disk debut album, released last year, was nominated in the Best African Artist and Best Jazz categories. In 2010, Sandile Gontsana won the Open Mic Jazz singing competition. He has since played for corporates and performed in numerous musicals. He moved to Australia to perform in ‘The Lion King’ musical from 2013 to this year, and now resides in England.
Last year’s winner, Ruby Truter, who is making a name for herself in the jazz business, believes this competition gave her the faith in her talent that she needed. In a letter to Sun International, she wrote, “OMJ has played such a major role in my personal and musical growth, my self-confidence and self-esteem, and ultimately put me on the map because my following has grown.”
To add spice to the competition’s finals, the excellent 19-piece Lady Day Big Band will be accompanying finalists. And, to make the finals extra-special, Truter will also be performing.
The semi-finals and finals will take place on October 9 and 10, respectively.