The finals of the Open Mic Jazz singing competition took place at the Grand Arena, GrandWest, this past week. The six finalists – all female – sang their hearts out to the enthusiastic crowd, accompanied by the 19-piece, Lady Day Big Band. Lauren Henricks from Strandfontein was crowned as the winner on the night. Jodi Hendricks was first runner up, with Caitlin Farmer coming in third.
Lauren is in second year at the University of Cape Town studying Jazz Vocals. She plans to finish her degree and then, hopefully, do her post-graduate degree overseas. Very excited after winning, she said: “I want to thank the Open Mic Jazz community, the organisers, the judges and the supporters, for the opportunity. I feel super blessed and grateful. It came at the right time. The jazz industry is a tough industry and I have worked hard this year, this is like my reward.”
Lauren who was raised by her mom and grandparents says her family is very happy for her. “It’s been a tough journey for us and we appreciate everything,” she said.
This was the second time Lauren has taken part in the Open Mic Jazz singing competition. “Last year, the first time I ever entered, I made it to the finals,” she said. “So, I thought I’ll give it a shot again this year and see how far I get, and here I am.”
This year’s finals were bigger and better than ever before. It was the first year it was held in the Grand Arena, with an audience of more than 1000 people watching their favourite singers perform. It was also an excellent learning experience for these finalists, all unprofessional singers, to perform with two expert bands, The Open Mic Jazz band, and the incredible 19-piece Lady Day Big Band.
“GrandWest would like to congratulate all the finalists and especially Lauren. We’d also like to congratulate the organisers for organising this excellent competition. The whole competition was an incredible success. We are looking forward to hosting it again next year,” says Elouise Matthys, the PR and Promotions Manager at GrandWest.