2016 Battle of the Bells Talent

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The Young Celebrity Breez’e

Breez’e has performed for different crowds of all sizes like Africa in April, Beale Street, School Tours, Go Army Tour with Drumma Boy, Memphis Hip Hop Weekend and more. She has been the spokesperson for Rock the Vote during the 2012-2016 presidential elections. She has recently been nominated for 8 local music awards and been showcased in the news and newspaper in Memphis TN. Breez’e is also an advocate and philanthropist for teens and at risk youth.

eva-brewerEva Brewer

Born into a legacy of impoverished musicians, Eva Brewer carries on the family tradition of music making in Memphis, TN.  Starting with a makeshift drumset at the age of 8 (pots and pans for cymbols, a suitcase for a snare), she  first began experimenting with songwriting from an early age.  By 11 she was playing Nirvana covers on an electric guitar she bought at a pawnshop.  Debuting at the Overton Park Shell (now the Levitt,) her first band Self-Centered played a spectacular arrangement of originals on that historical stage (including the classic- Do you Believe in Santa Claus) before a rainstorm set in and forced the band to leave the stage, leaving the adolescent’s temporary purple hair dye dripping down her face in a messy aftermath.  Within 2 years Eva had begun playing drums in a different youth oriented band, Deluded Princess. Specializing in birthday parties and Barmitzvahs.   After about 15 years of learning and loving genres across the board, growing up, having children and breaking hearts, she picked up an upright bass and began a fresh round of songwriting.  Colors resulting from the various experiences of Eva’s 20 somethings tint her songs with a passion and intensity most ears can identity with. Ultimately, any opportunity to perform the product that she creates is one worth taking.

rebeccahelmerRebecca Helmer

A singer/songwriter originally from Seattle, WA, currently producing her fourth album, On Fire, which she accompanies on guitar and piano.  She is presently shooting the music video for her forthcoming original, Boy Down in Mississippi, which will premiere soon on RebeccaHelmer.com.

Collin-collin-keel-curtis-tateCurtis

Curtis Tate and Collin Keel are the Country Soul Band and have been playing together for 8 months. Their influences are 90’s Country and Motown.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-2-23-52-pmJoel Bourret

Joel, formerly of the NYC band Mutronium and UK band Melt has also worked with Ambulance Ltd and Hefner as a recording engineer.  The song “Burning Records” is based on the 1966 incident when John Lennon remarked that The Beatles were “more popular then Jesus”. This caused an uproar in the south where bonfires where organized to burn Beatle records.

stephenmcneillpicStephen McNeill

Stephen is a multi-instrumentalist who has been playing music since childhood and teaching private music lessons since 2003.  He is a former member of Memphis-area bands Philadelphia and Other Stories, and he released his debut, full-length instrumental album, Our Roots Run Deep, in 2012.  Stephen currently plays guitar in the band The Last in addition to his solo songwriting.  Drawing from diverse influences such as Caedmon’s Call, Grateful Dead, Andrew Peterson, The Beatles, Sandra McCracken, and Paul Simon, Stephen’s songs bear the imprint of folk music while seeking to explore the intersection of faith and everyday living.

van-prestonVan Preston

New to Memphis in 2015, Van Preston is busy working on her newest album at Ardent and Royal Studios in Memphis. The new project will feature blues, blues rock, americana, and country songs.  A singer-songwriter, her music encompasses many genres. Van grew up in a small town in Arkansas, and started writing songs at the age of nine. Named by her mother after a Southern Pentecostal Evangelist from the 1960’s, Van’s music has a broad appeal. She has earned many accomplishments, including:  six top-20 country songs in Europe (Hotdisc Charts) and three Top 40 songs on secondary U.S. Country radio stations (New Music Weekly Charts), debut album was nominated 2007 Country Album of the Year in Europe by the European CMA and her song “Bought Myself A Toy” was signed in Europe to Universal Records-France.

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Blue McGhee

Blue Mcghee came together in  beginning of 2016.  A home brewed backyard family band…with birds and all….and a stray squirrel

aaron-jamesAaron James

Both a storyteller and a story himself, Aaron James represents the universal and never-ending journey of finding yourself and being unapologetically you.  Aaron James is an artist unhindered by concerns of comfort.  Evolving from a place of uncertainty, this Memphis-based musician sheds his former self in order to absorb the world around him and experience it to the fullest.  His first EP,  “Here Comes The Rain”, follows a relationship through the seasons of a year, showcasing the introspective, purpose-driven music of a man reborn.  He turns himself inside out to tell the simple yet complex story of a young man’s life, personal growth, and maturation towards emotional strength.  Not one lyric is wasted, not one note is played without reason as Aaron James sonically paints the path that travels throughout his self reinvention.  He is more interested in what can be experienced and learned on the journey than he is on simply reaching the destination.  Aaron James is a living example of how honesty with oneself can dramatically change a person’s life for the better, a message which resonates in everything he does.  Aaron James recently performed at the Levitt Shell This is Memphis Music.

billie-doveBillie Dove

Billie Dove began performing as a duo (Jim Duckworth and Kimberly Koehler) in Coffee’s shops and at art openings in 2013.  As our material began to take shape and draw a small crowd we knew we needed  to add our friends Stephanie Arcega and her  playing partner, Javi Hunger to give Billie Dove a primal yet gentle feeling. Billie Dove is named after Kimberly’s aunt and the band, now 1 yr old, has become family. Billie Dove is in the early stages of writing and performing. Separately we are all accomplished writers, players and performers. We feel  this is an opportunity to grow as artists. We are influenced by country, folk, blues, punk and jazz. We’d like to offer the world the gifts we have found by staying true to our influences while finding our own collective voice.

madelaine-pattonMadelaine Patton

Madelaine has had music in her veigns from an early age. During High School Madelaine played in the marching band and eventually went to UCLA where her love of music expanded into singing and songwriting. While at UCLA she finished 3rd in the annual Frank Sinatra awards for performing artists. Upon returning home to Memphis, Madelaine began playing with several local bands while taking up the harmonica. She has played at such places like BB Kings, No. 1 Beale, Silky’s, and Ernestine & Hazels.

daniel-grahamDaniel Graham

Known for his powerful and melodic bass playing, evocative and cinematic vintage keyboard arrangements and thoughtful lyrics as well as his highly distinctive, eccentric and theatrical voice – has been the frontman of the cult Atlanta progressive rock band Omnipresent for nearly a decade.  Also actively contributing to recordings and performances by [Berklee-educated composer/songwriter] Corey Lennox’s prog-pop supergroup Surreal, having previously worked with Atlanta punk-metal heavyweights Abide By Lies and multiple respected jazz ensembles at the University of North Georgia, and also drawing on an extensive background in choral music and theatre, Graham’s experience and versatility as a musician and performer is considerable.   A gifted multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with a passion for creating unique and boundary-crossing music with a poignant message, Daniel Graham is an artist to watch closely.  Fans of Rush, Marillion, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Yes, Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson & the late Kevin Gilbert will find plenty of familiar territory in Graham’s blending of accessible, emotive, melodic hooks with complex, ambitious song structures and contemplative lyrical themes.

riley-mccormickSquirrel Omelette (Riley McCormick)

Riley’s song was written as part of a longer piece submitted by Riley McCormick as a research project for the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies at Rhodes College. Inspiration was drawn from composing at Elvis’ first purchased home in Memphis and the musical history of the Delta Region. The band name is derived from an excellent animal I witnessed fall from a tree today and a delicious food made with eggs.