We’ve scoured your submissions, furrowed our brows in scrutiny and banged our heads against the walls, trying to decide the winners of our latest Sonicbids contest for College Magazine. While, we were incredibly impressed with all of the artists- and are currently still listening to many of them- we’ve chosen Jessica Caylyn, Junior Toots and Chris Alvarado as our winners. The three artists are featured in a breakout box in the latest issue of College News, and they are three people you certainly need to hear.
Audiences, critics, and peers all agree: Jessica Caylyn is an unstoppable cocktail of sassy confidence, vocal power, and fearless determination.
Jessica hit the stage early. At 10 years of age, she fell in love with the “natural high” of live performing, and Bay Area audiences were quick to fall in love with her. It wasn’t long before Jessica was singing the national anthem to thousands at gargantuan venues like AT&T Stadium and the Laguna Seca Raceway.
She soon found her home turf: contemporary country. In early 2010, she formed the Jessica Caylyn Band, a 5-piece lineup of top-notch musicians. She immediately began performing widely, gaining accolades, and garnering exuberant reviews. With a voice “soulful like Adele with the power, breath control, and wide range of Martina McBride,” she easily took the Bay Area music scene by storm.
Jessica performs a lively combo of both country and rock favorites in addition to her original material. Live audiences are often the very first to hear Jessica’s unrecorded originals, hot off the griddle.
“Performing will always be my true passion,” says Jessica, and it’s evident. She achieves a level of audience interaction that many performers can only wish for. Her personality is genuine and high-energy. Her stage presence is as spontaneous as it is audacious. Jessica is a consummate crowd-worker, and her impromptu remarks always make for a memorable show.
Since October 2010, Jessica has been making regular trips to Nashville to cowrite with Music City's experienced songwriting community. It was there she met her producer, Steffon Hamulak, who assembled a crack team of big-name country sidemen to back Jessica on her first EP, On the Edge. Today, On the Edge has been heard over the airwaves in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany, and the U.K. It features three upbeat songs and a bonus ballad, three of which were penned in part by Jessica.
The opening cut, “Just Can’t Help Myself,” was chosen April 2011 Best Song of the Month by Songwriter Universe. The same song took May 2011 Best Song of the Month at the Nashville Songwriters Association International (Sacramento Chapter). To top it off, in June she represented 101.9 “The Wolf” at the Texaco Country Showdown and again placed first.
Jessica has performed at the Oakland Coliseum, Alcatraz Island, Nashville hot spots, and countless casinos, hotels, restaurants, clubs, festivals and fairs, private parties, and weddings.
Jess has talent, determination, and is not afraid of rejection—ingredients to success in the music industry. Look out, world!
Junior Toots, son of Toots Hibbert, of the Toots & the Maytals is a uniquely talented recording artist and performer whose passion for reggae is evident in his moving live performances & recordings that inspire all.
Born and raised in Jamaica & the US, he has a genuine commitment to socially conscious lyrics and a determination to express himself sincerely from within. This passion can be felt through his deeply soulful vocal style that is reminiscent of his father.
With a mixture of Reggae, Roots, Ska, & Dancehall, Junior Toots reaches out to all supporters of conscious music with a message to unite & uplift. Beyond the sound of his voice, you can feel the positive vibrations that he shares from his heart & soul as he gets any crowd moving & grooving on the dance floor.
His new album, "A Little Bit of Love" (March 2012) is his finest work so far & is receiving lots of positive reviews.
Chris Alvarado is a Florida native who is currently located in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. People have likened his sound to John Mayer, Jack Johnson, and Jason Mraz. An incredibly versatile entertainer, Chris covers music from all aspects of the musical spectrum. With music ranging from Motown to Country, Folk or Classic rock, to Pop or even Hip-Hop, any audience will find themselves at home at one of his shows. In both 2011 and 2012, he was invited to perform at the 30A Songwriter’s Festival, an event that draws some of the nations most accomplished Singer/Songwriters. In 2012, the Recording Academy selected Chris to perform at the Florida Grammy Showcase in Orlando, Florida where a panel of industry judges and executives declared him the winner out of the six acts that were selected. Chris was also invited by BMI to headline at the BMI Acoustic Brunch during the 2012 Florida Music Festival in front of leading music industry professionals.
He regularly shares the stage with Grammy nominated artist and songwriter, Suzi Ragsdale. He has recently begun to perform and co-write with former Vanguard Records artist Daphne Willis. In 2011, he won the prestigious award of "Best Singer/Songwriter" on the Emerald Coast, at the 3rd annual Beachcomber Music Awards, and was nominated for the same again in 2012 along with "Best Male Vocalist". Chris performs regularly at some of Northwest Florida's top venues such as: Harbor Docks, Aj's, Pompano Joe's, Rum Runners, Hogs Breath Saloon, Fisherman's Wharf and more. His music is featured on Pandora Radio and has seen airplay on national web radio programs such as Indie Castle Radio and The Songwriters Network. Performing over 280 shows a year, you would be hard pressed to find a harder working musician on the Florida Panhandle.