Philly Rising: A Taste of What’s to Come

This wasn’t the first time I was asked to judge a Philly Rising competition, and I was happy to be doing it for the second time.  I love the Philadelphia music scene.  It’s unlike any other city’s music scene.  It’s tough, it’s talented, and it’s determined.  It’s a big family, and lives off of the energy of one another.  Part of what I do in The Pincushion Podcast is support the local talent in this great city.  I give people a platform to play their music, and hopefully gain some new fans.

When I’m asked to judge a music competition, I don’t take the responsibility lightly.  I’ve been a music nerd since the day I was born, and I know what it’s like to lug tons of equipment into an empty bar during the cold winter months.  I’m very critical of this art form.  Music is like communicating from the soul, and if your soul sounds like crap…I definitely have an opinion.  Anyone outside of Philadelphia would ignorantly tell you that this would be the easiest judging job.  That’s not the case.  Every time I judge Philly Rising I find it challenging.  The talent in Philadelphia is so abundant that I have a difficult time choosing a performance that should win.  That’s why I love judging the talent in Philadelphia.  They’re always surprising me, and I’m always given a difficult decision.

I sat at the bar of  World Cafe Live, and looked around the room trying to decipher band members from friends.  I jotted notes onto a bundle of flash cards I was studying and enjoying a quiet dinner– when Boy Wonder tossed a set list my way.  I was ready for Philly to surprise me, and I wasn’t disappointed.  This installment of Philly Rising had old school rap stylings, angry riot girls, and soulful sisters all in one night.  Proving once again that Philadelphia’s music scene is quite eclectic.

There are a few acts that particularly stood out to me that I really think have a future in Philadelphia.  First there’s the stylings of local Hip Hop enthusiast Davon, who won for the June competition.  His modern beats mixes with old school flow grabbed my attention right away.  It’s hard for me to be sold by a hip hop act–but Davon approached the stage flawlessly.  I was impressed with every rhyme he made, and the creativity and interchangeability of his flow.  Keep your eyes on him, because he even had a little fan base cheering him on in this sparsely occupied room.

Then there’s Paige Allbritton.  At first, I was telling myself “you’ve seen this act before.” The somber female with the acoustic guitar–but no.  Paige is not like something I’ve seen before.  It’s not very often that a local artist’s voice gives me goosebumps, but Paige sure does.  The longer she played, the more I wanted to hear her.  She has the ability to reel you into her emotions and keep you there with her music.  She’s like a female Jeff Buckely without all the drowning.

Perhaps it’s in one of the most  refreshing acts of the night was Rosemary Fiki Band.  They won the competition for the month of July, and they certainly earned it.  This is an all female group led by the stunning Rosemary Fiki– and oh my God– she’s one giant ball of amazing.  She’s got the voice of Beyonce and the stage presence of Eve.  She’s fierce, she’s soulful, and she looks like a girl you’d want to hang out with.  She’s not intimidating, and her performance is extremely inviting.  I hope to see her more around Philadelphia’s music scene.

So, there you have it.  Philly Rising isn’t a place that I go to judge bands harshly.  When I judge Philly Rising I celebrate the talented, and encourage creativity.  You should do the same by seeing some of the acts that come out to perform in these competitions.  Philly Rising’s quarterly competitions happen at World Cafe Live, and the contestants are pulled from an open mic night every Monday.

If you’re an aspiring musician I highly recommend gunning for the grand prize.  Monthly winners of Philly Rising receive exclusive FREE Studio time for one song provided by Cambridge Sound Studio, a spin on 93.7 WSTW’s Hometown Heroes, and a featured performance at Philly Rising.  The yearly winners receive a Cambridge Sound Studios package of a 4-5 song EP, a guest host spot on 93.7 WSTW’s Hometown Heroes Radio Show, and a downstairs show at World Cafe Live hosted by the HYPE!  So what are you waiting for?  Get your act together and join Philly Rising.

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