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Emerging Teen Talent Sophie Pecora Wins Grand Prize In Unsigned Only Music Competition

Judges Include: Chris Daughtry; Linda Perry; NLE Choppa, Aimee Mann, Ruthie Foster, Robert Smith (The Cure), Showtek; LoCash; and more

Nashville, TN, September 8, 2021 – The Unsigned Only Music Competition is pleased to announce its 2021 winners. It is with great pleasure that Unsigned Only bestows its highest honor, the overall Grand Prize, to the gifted 17-year-old singer-songwriter, rap-poet Sophie Pecora for the song “Anxiety.” The Grand Prize winner is awarded a prize package totaling $50,000, including $20,000 in cash (US) and more in merchandise and services geared toward helping an artist’s career.

Winners were selected by a judging panel comprised of high-profile industry experts and renowned recording artists, including: Chris Daughtry (Daughtry); Aimee Mann; Sanctus Real; O.A.R.; Ruthie Foster; Robert Smith (The Cure); David Benoit; Linda Perry; NLE Choppa; Bibi Marin (Reik); The Devil Makes Three; Showtek; LoCash; and many more (see complete list below). Also on the judging panel were industry executives as well as music journalists from Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, JazzTimes, Yahoo Music, No Depression; Pandora; Blues Music Magazine; Austin Chronicle; and many more.

Established in 2012, Unsigned Only has become known as the leading music competition honoring international artists who are not signed to a major record label. It has become an important source for discovering new talent and acts as a benchmark for excellence in the arena of contemporary music. Selected from almost 10,000 entries from 120 countries, the winners share in over $150,000 in cash and prizes split among 38 winners.

“The word ‘authentic’ is too often thrown around, but in the case of this year’s Grand Prize winner, Sophie Pecora, there is no denying that she is truly an authentic artist,” say Candace Avery and Jim Morgan, the founders of Unsigned Only. “She isn’t afraid to be vulnerable, express her emotions, and dig deep – and she is only 17 years old. She has such a bright future ahead of her.”

Hailing from California, Pecora is a compelling singer-songwriter with a unique poetry-rap style of pop music. Her debut EP Raise the Bar was released at the end of 2020, and her recent EP Wildflower was released in August 2021. Sophie was a performer on Season 14 of America’s Got Talent, winning the Golden Buzzer and receiving standing ovations for each song she performed. She is currently working on new material in the studio with the acclaimed will.i.am who discovered her on TikTok. When asked what her music is about, she says, “I turn feelings into art.”

“I am so amazed! I wrote the song ‘Anxiety’ because I know a lot of people go through it, and hopefully, when they’re listening to the song they’ll feel like someone understands them,” says Pecora. “Thank you to all the judges and to Unsigned Only for believing in me and my music. I’m so grateful, and I have many more songs to come.”

Winning Unsigned Only is an honor that has seen many winners go on to achieve greater success. Since Unsigned Only’s inception in 2012, five Grand Prize winners have been signed to record labels, including Country artist Ingrid Andress (Warner Nashville, nominated for three Grammys this year), emerging pop artist Faouzia (Atlantic Records, she released “Minefields,” a duet with John Legend at the end of last year), and more.

The complete panel of judges includes:
Chris Daughtry (Daughtry); NLE Choppa; Aimee Mann; Robert Smith (The Cure); Sanctus Real; LoCash; Bow Wow; I Am They; Bibi Marin (Reik); Darryl McDaniels (Run DMC); David Benoit; Linda Perry; O.A.R.; Showtek; The Devil Makes Three; Janiva Magness; Ruthie Foster; Craig Campbell; Josh Baldwin; Vertical Worship; Rhett Walker; Victor Wainwright; Derek Brown (The Flaming Lips); Russ Landau; Christopher Lennertz; Zbigniew Preisner; Tinariwen; Anthony DeCurtis (Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone); Lyndsey Parker (Managing Editor, Yahoo Music); Christopher Scapelliti (Editor-In-Chief, Guitar Player); Kevin McNeese (President, NewReleaseToday); Jeff Zuchowski (VP, Artist Marketing/Industry Relations, Pandora); Damian Fanelli (Editor-In-Chief, Guitar World); John Dibiase (President, Jesus Freak Hideout); John Cameron (Editor-In-Chief, Selector); Angel Romero (Founder/Sr. Editor, World Music Central); Hilary Saunders (Managing Editor, No Depession); Art Tipaldi (Editor, Blues Music Magazine); Raoul Hernandez (Music Editor, Austin Chronicle); Brandon Chitwood (Founder/Writer, The EDM Scholar); Mac Randall (Editor, JazzTimes); Chad Jensen (Artist Manager, Jensen Artist Mgmt); Brinson Strickland (President, Collective Music Nashville); Evan Stein (Owner, Experience Music Group); Sheryl Louis (CSM Management); James Kempner (Owner, JMK Connections); Jennifer Taunton (Music Supervisor, Level Two Music); Leticia Ramirez (Sr. Latin Curator Programmer, Pandora); James Whitting (Partner, Paradigm Talent Agency); Alison Bonaguro (Freelance Country Music Journalist); Angela Stefano (Editor-In-Chief, The Boot); Gaston Leone (Talent Buyer, Goldenvoice); Mark Garfield (Co-Director, Pop-Up Music UK Ltd.); and Daryl Berg (VP, Music Strategies and Licensing Hallmark (Crown Media)

Unsigned Only is sponsored by A&F Drum Company, Celebrity Access, Disc Makers, Ernie Ball, Eventric, IK Multimedia, Lurssen Mastering, Merch Cat, Mojave Microphones, Orange Amps, The Music Business Registry, TuneCore, and Zildjian.

For more information and to enter, go to www.unsignedonly.com. To listen to the winning songs, go to: www.unsignedonly.com/winners.

The list of 2021 winners is as follows (see website for Honorable Mentions):

Grand Prize
Sophie Pecora (Danville, CA, USA) – “Anxiety”

AAA (Adult Album Alternative)
First Place: Notelle (Richmond, VA, USA) – “Sufjan Stevens“
Second Place: Teenage Joans (Adelaide, SA, Australia) – “Ice Cream”

Adult Contemporary (AC)
First Place: Hailey Belle (Santa Clarita, CA, USA) – “Right At The Wrong Time”
Second Place: Tayler Buono (Orlando, FL, USA) – “My Person”

Americana
First Place: Trent Beaver & The Damage (Molalla, OR, USA) – “Ramblin’ Kinda Man”
Second Place: Templeton Thompson Ft. Gina Jeffreys (Glen Rose, TX, USA) – “Recover”

Blues
First Place: Lisa Mann (Portland, OR, USA) – “It’s The Monkeys Or Me”
Second Place: Duffmusiq (Toronto, ON, Canada) – “I Can’t Get Over Losing You (AKA Ordinary Fool)”

Christian
First Place: Madeline Edwards (Houston, TX, USA) – “The Road”
Second Place: Holly Halliwell (Hoopeston, IL, USA) – “Brand New”

Country
First Place: The Olson Bros Band (Olympia, WA, USA) – “Kill Your Mom”
Second Place: Savannah Keyes (Sandy, UT, USA) – “I’m Not California”

EDM (Electronic Dance Music)
First Place: du0 (Brisbane, QLD, Australia) – “Come Home”
Second Place: Max M (Bry, France) – “Under Water”

Folk/Singer-Songwriter
First Place: Alexander Biggs (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) – “Madeleine”
Second Place: Lauren Jenkins (Fort Worth, TX, USA) – “Ain’t That Hard”

Instrumental
First Place: Alicia Enstrom (Topeka, KS, USA) – “Looping Concerto For Violin, Electronics, And Orchestra – Movement 1 – Frenzied Whispers”
Second Place: Christine Kharazian (Yerevan, Armenia) – “Valse Astolfi”

Jazz
First Place: Thana Alexa (New York, NY, USA) – “Ona”
Second Place: George Colligan (Portland, OR, USA) – “Waterfall Dreams”

Latin Music
First Place: Stefano Manrique (Bogotá, Colombia) – “Te Sigo El Juego”
Second Place: ANIA (Lima, Peru) – “Bien Bien”

Pop/Top 40
First Place: Hudson Thames (Studio City, CA, USA) – “Bruce Wayne”
Second Place: PipoBeats (Pasadena, CA, USA) – “Too Fresh”

R&B/Hip-Hop
First Place: Hiway (Eureka, CA, USA) – “Top Floor Ft. Tech N9Ne And Braye Nicole”
Second Place: shiv (Dublin, Ireland) – “You And I”

Rock
First Place: Jordan Adetunji (Belfast, Northern Ireland) – “Wokeup!”
Second Place: Flarelight (New Orleans, LA, USA) – “La Petite Mort”

Screen Shot
First Place: Tamsin (Brentwood, England) – “SOS”
Second Place: Richard Tichelman (Surrey, BC, Canada) – “The One”

Teen
First Place: Ada LeAnn (Battle Creek, MI, USA) – “Someone To Somebody”
Second Place: Aidan Gallagher (Los Angeles, CA, USA) – “4th Of July”

Vocal Performance
First Place: Anna Hawkins Mount (Maunganui, New Zealand) – “Wayfaring Stranger / Yea Though I Walk”
Second Place: Jasmine Crowe (Hilo, HI, USA) – “Love Is Love”

World Music
First Place: King B-Fine and Afrikaya Band (Freetown, Sierra Leone) – “E don Tay”
Second Place: Priyant Sundas (Darjeeling, India) – “Bending Yaman”

Fandemonium (online public vote)
Riccardo Moccia (Rome, Italy) – “2050”

Special Promotion Winners

Triple Play
Week One – Get Feedback
Madison Olds (Kamloops, BC, Canada) – “If You Wanna”

Week Two – Get Published
du0 (Brisbane, QLD, Australia) – “Come Home”

Week Three – Get Paid
Dustin Starks (Snowflake, AZ, USA) – “Winter To Spring”

Win Some Love – three winners (in alphabetical order)

Bun (Lichtervelde, Belgium) – “Burnout”
Desolo (Olympia, WA, USA) – “Mars”
Trent-Jean (Perth, WA, Australia) – “B4IDie”

Hop To It
Lachlan Edwards (Newcastle, NSW, Australia) – “Little Too Late”

Video Only
Professional Video: Max M Max M (Bry, France) – “Imaginary Problems”
Homemade Video: Zach Evans (Boerne, TX, USA) – “Little Bitty Man”

Listen to the list of winners here: https://www.unsignedonly.com/winners

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