The Unsigned Only Music Competition has announced its 2018 winners. Unsigned Only is open to all artists who are unsigned to a major record label, and over the years it has become an important source for discovering new talent. Since Unsigned Only’s inception in 2012, four Grand Prize winners have been signed to major label record deals.
Winners were selected from over 6,000 entries submitted from 95 countries. One overall Grand Prize winner (as well as a First and Second Place winner in each category) was selected by a panel of judges comprised of celebrity artists and industry excutives, including: Aimee Mann, Grouplove, O.A.R., Frank Foster, David Crowder, Aaron Shust, Jack Ingram, Lydia Loveless, and many more. Additionally, one artist was selected by an online public vote as the Fandemonium winner.
The 2018 Grand Prize has been awarded to Canadian country artist Eric Ethridge. The past few years have seen Ethridge’s career gaining momentum; he was mentioned in Rolling Stone, won the CCMA Discovery Program, charted on the Canadian Country charts, and most recently was debuted on SiriusXM’s The Highway. His much-anticipated debut EP was released in July of 2018 and peaked at #1 on the iTunes Country chart and #3 on the all-genres chart.
“Being named the Grand Prize winner of the 2018 Unsigned Only Music Competition has truly been an incredibly humbling and life-changing experience,” said Ethridge. “This opportunity has truly given me the chance to take my career to the next level and live my passion, and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.”
In addition to winning $20,000 in cash (U.S.) and $20,000 (U.S.) in merchandise and services, Ethridge also receives one-on-one mentoring from a group of upper-echelon music industry executives, including: Dan Chertoff (VP of A&R, RCA Records); Riggs Morales (VP of A&R and Artist Development, Atlantic Records); Nick Haussling (Sr, Director of A&R, Concord Music); Kim Stephens (President, Forward Entertainment); Zoe Young (VP of A&R, Epic Records); Doug Johnson (VP of A&R, Black River Entertainment); and Allison Jones (Sr. VP of A&R, Big Machine Label Group).
“Canada has produced many great artists, and this year’s Grand Prize winner, Eric Ethridge, is its newest artist to emerge on the scene,” said UO founders, Candace Avery and Jim Morgan. “The Grand Prize winner needs to be an artist who possesses extraordinary talent and is ready to take the next step in his or her career. We are always on the lookout for that artist who not only creates music that will be in demand but also makes music that is enduring. Ethridge embodies these traits, and he is one of the most exciting artists Unsigned Only has been privileged to discover. We are proud to honor him with the 2018 Grand Prize.”
The complete panel of 2018 judges includes: Aimee Mann; David Crowder; Frank Foster; Jack Ingram; Aaron Shust; Lydia Loveless; O.A.R.; Grouplove; Josh Jackson (Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Paste Magazine); Anthony DeCurtis (Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone); Lyndsey Parker (Managing Editor, Yahoo Music); Jed Gottlieb (Music & Theater Writer, Boston Herald); Kevin McNeese (President, NewReleaseToday); David Sikorski (Sr. Editor, EARMILK Media Inc.); Hardeep Phull (Music Editor, NY Post); Jeff Zuchowski (VP, Artist Marketing / Industry Relations, Pandora); John Dibiase (President, Jesus Freak Hideout); Miriam Di Nunzio (Arts Editor / Entertainment, Chicago Sun-Times); David Silbaugh (Talent Buyer, Summerfest); Brandon Chitwood (Assistant Director, EDM Joy); Matt Maher (Artist Manager, ROAR Mgmt); Chad Jensen (Artist Manager, Jensen Artist Mgmt); Brinson Strickland (President, Collective Music Nashville); Deborah Klein (JV Partner and Artist Manager, Primary Wave Ent); Chris Sampson (EVP, Programming Superfly Presents); Kristyn Ciani (Talent Buyer, C3 Presents); Alicen Schneider (Sr. VP, Music Creative / NBC Ent); Connie Farr (Music Supervisor / Creative Director, ThinkSync Music); Evan Stein (Owner, Experience Music Group); James Kempner (Owner, JMK Connections); Jennifer Taunton (Music Supervisor, Level Two Music); Jessica Cole (Founder/President, Lyric House); Samantha Carew (Music Creative, Sky TV); and Velma Barkwell (Music Supervisor, East End Music Productions).
Unsigned Only is now accepting entries for the 2019 competition. This year, Unsigned Only has added five new categories for artists to enter. The complete list of categories includes: AAA (Adult Album Alternative); AC (Adult Contemporary); Americana; Blues; Christian; Country; EDM; Folk/Singer-Songwriter; Instrumental; Jazz; Latin; Pop/Top 40; R&B/Hip-Hop; Rock; Screen Shot (songs suitable for placment in film, tv, etc.); Teen (for artists 18 years old and younger); Vocal Performance; and World Music.
More information can be found at unsignedonly.com