American Song Contest is rolling into heat four this week, continuing the search to find the state or territory worthy of winning the title of Best Original Song.
With eight states (Oklahoma, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Montana, Kentucky, North Dakota, Kansas, Tennessee) and one territory (Puerto Rico) sitting pretty with spots in the semi-finals already booked, we wait to find out the remaining three public vote qualifiers from heat three.
The next show will also introduce us to 11 more acts from heat four, who will be looking to win a slice of state or territory (or in this week’s case, federal district) pride. This week’s acts represent maybe the most eclectic collection so far. Get to know them all below.
American Song Contest: Heat Four Acts
Arizona — Las Marías — “De La Finikera”
Las Marías are a group fronted by 21-year-old twin sisters Maria Isabel and Maria Teresa, both of whom can sing mariachi, corridos, norteñas, cumbias and sierreño. In 2008, the sisters’ parents were deported, and the family relocated to Nogales, where they started taking music lessons. This spurred their involvement in regional Mexican music and reconnected them to their Mexican culture.
Las Marías have collaborated with influential artists in the regional Mexican genre and are currently opening for legendary Mexican rancheras singer Paquita la del Barrio (who was Grammy-nominated for Best Regional Mexican Music Album [including Tejano] in 2013). They have released five studio albums and are currently working on their sixth.
Now residing in Phoenix, the sisters are proud to represent Arizona because it reminds them of how fortunate they are to be doing what they love, living in and performing regional Mexican music all over their home state.
You can connect with Las Marías here:
Georgia — Stela Cole — “DIY”
Twenty-four-year-old Stela Cole hails from Peachtree City, Georgia, and currently resides in Los Angeles. Living in the area around Atlanta until she was 18, it is where she has spent most of her life and what she credits for helping her develop such a strong passion for music. Stela exploded on to the music scene in 2018 with her debut single, “You F O,” and has continued winning praise from fans and critics.
After releasing her first full length album, Woman of the Hour, in 2020, Stela stormed through 2021, continuing to grow her loyal audience. Her most popular song, “I Shot Cupid”, has earned over 7 million streams on Spotify. She enters this year with one million monthly listeners, 500,000 followers across her social accounts and continues to win respect for her emotional vocal style and meaningful lyrics. She’s humbled and honoured to represent Georgia, a place she still thinks of as home.
You can connect with Stela Cole here:
- Tiktok: @callmestelacole
- Instagram: @callmestelacole
- Facebook: callmestelacole
- Twitter: @callmestelacole
- YouTube: Stela Cole
- Website: www.stelacole.com
Hawaii — Bronson Varde — “4 You”
Bronson Varde is a singer-songwriter who grew up listening to Hawaiian and island reggae music, termed “Jawaiian” in local lingo. This style of music heavily influenced him as a songwriter, and he still incorporates it into his music today.
Varde gained a local following with original music released with his band No Pressure. He continues to pursue his passion for music and songwriting in hopes that one day his music will spread around the world. He feels a deep responsibility representing not just himself in this competition, but his entire state and culture.
You can connect with Bronson Varde here:
- TikTok: @vardebigbody
- Instagram: @vardebigbody
- Facebook: NoPressureMusic808
- Twitter: @nopressure808
- YouTube: NoPressureMusic808
Massachusetts — Jared Lee — “Shameless”
Boston born Jared Lee is a singer, songwriter and platinum-selling producer who has amassed well over 80 million streams online writing and producing for a diverse group of renowned artists, including Jason Derulo, Jordin Sparks, TIESTO and Michael Bolton. Jared wrote, produced and performed the theme song “Don’t Wish Your Life Away” for the film Fantasy Island.
He has collaborated with some of the world’s top DJs, including Nicky Romero, Markus Schulz and Fedde Le Grand, writing and featuring as a lead vocalist on their music. His most recent collaborations include “Those Were the Days” with Midnight Kids (a top ten song on U.S. dance charts), “Ain’t Deep Enough” with Autograf and “Afterglow” with Nicky Romero and GATTUSO.
You can connect with Jared Lee here:
- TikTok: @jaredleemusic
- Instagram: @jaredleemusic
- Twitter: @jaredleemusic
- Facebook: jaredleemusic
- YouTube: JaredLeeMusicOfficial
- Website: www.jaredleemusic.com
Nevada — The Crystal Method — “Watch Me Now”
For nearly thirty years, The Crystal Method has remained one of the most influential and well-respected acts in electronic music. Co-founded by Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan in 1993, the Grammy Award-nominated duo pioneered the big-beat genre and popularised electronic music with mainstream audiences. While Scott reimagined The Crystal Method as a solo act in 2017 following Ken’s retirement, TCM’s popularity has only gained momentum.
Now, the innovative musician, producer and DJ continues the evolution with The Crystal Method’s seventh studio album and his second solo outing, The Trip Out. Growing up in Las Vegas, Scott got to see how quickly the city grew in size and relevance to the broader entertainment world. He considers it a thrill to be able to come back and represent the great state of Nevada for American Song Contest.
You can connect with The Crystal Method here:
- Tiktok: @the_crystal_method
- Instagram: @thecrystalmethod
- Facebook: thecrystalmethod
- Twitter: @crystalmethod
- YouTube: thecrystalmethod
- Website: thecrystalmethod.com
New Hampshire — MARi — “Fly”
MARi is a singer-songwriter known for her powerful vocals. Her Cuban and Puerto Rican roots play a big part in her music, as does her hometown of Milford, New Hampshire, her larger-than-life personality and her fashion sense (as seen in both New York and London Fashion Week).
MARi is a Billboard top 20 charting artist and has reached the top the in the UK. She has appeared on Despierta America (Good Morning America) and La Voz, the Spanish version of The Voice.
You can connect with MARi here:
- Tiktok: @mariburelle
- Instagram: @mariburelle
- Facebook: mariburelle
- Twitter: @mariburelle
- YouTube: MARi Burelle
Pennsylvania — Bri Steves — “Plenty Love”
New rapper, singer and songwriter Bri Steves has gained attention for refusing to let herself be limited to one genre of music. The 25-year-old MC from Philadelphia was first inspired by greats such as Marvin Gaye and Lauryn Hill. At age ten, she began studying the viola at the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. Years later, artists like Biggie, Joey Bad Ass and J. Cole inspired her to start rapping.
While attending Temple University, she began dabbling in singing and eventually became a double threat on the mic. Before graduating, she signed with Atlantic Records and balanced her final collegiate year alongside studio time in Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles, where she worked with several high-level producers, including Sonny Digital.
You can connect with Bri Steves here:
- TikTok: @bristeves
- Instagram: @bristeves
- Facebook: therealbristeves
- Twitter: @bristeves
- YouTube: Bri Steves
- Website: www.bristeves.com
Utah — Savannah Keyes — “Sad Girl”
Originally from Sandy, Utah, Savannah Keyes has been writing songs since she was 13, after making her first television appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Having roots in country music but also having influences in pop allow her to bring a fresh spin to the country genre.
After moving to Nashville, she became a radio host and correspondent for Radio Disney Country’s new show Let the Girls Play and released a debut EP, I’m Not California.
You can connect with Savannah Keyes here:
- TikTok: @savannahkeyesmusic
- Instagram: @savannahkeyesmusic
- Facebook: savannahkeyesofficial
- Twitter: @savannahkeyes
- YouTube: Svannah Keyes
- Website: www.savannahkeyes.com
Washington — Allen Stone — “A Bit of Both”
Allen Stone was raised in the small town of Chewelah, Washington, and grew up on gospel music, spending much of his childhood as a pastor’s son watching his parents lead their congregation in song. By the age of 11, he’d learned guitar, wrote his first song and soon began self-recording demo tapes to pass along to his school friends. After dropping out of college, he moved to Seattle to pursue his music career, often driving up and down the West Coast to play any gigs he could. He quickly developed a reputation for powerful live shows, playing up to 200 dates in a year.
Since those early days, Allen has built a devoted following on the strength of his sensitive songs, while still expressing a message of hope and promise. His expert ability to flow from edgy soul-pop and earthy folk-rock to throwback R&B and Parliament-inspired funk is reflected in his five full length albums – from his 2010 self-released debut album, Last to Speak, to 2021’s Apart, an intimate album recorded in a converted cabin during the pandemic.
Even though he has travelled the world, Washington repeatedly calls him back, and has always been the only place Allen wants to call home.
You can connect with Allen Stone here:
- TikTok: @allen_stone
- Instagram: @allenstone
- Facebook: allenstone
- Twitter: @allenstone
- YouTube: AllenStoneMusic
Washington, D.C. — NËITHER — “I Like It”
NËITHER is a multi-disciplinary creative. He’s: written songs alongside legends George Clinton (Parliament) and Ty Dolla $ign; developed original content for Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions (The Chi, Queen + Slim); sung background for Childish Gambino; and acted in shows produced by Broadway heavyweights Charles Randolph Wright, Kenny Leon and Oprah Winfrey.
His music is an eclectic blend of R&B, hip-hop, pop and even classical elements. NËITHER wants to create a new voice and history of the D.C. area and redefine what it means to be an artist from there.
You can connect with NËITHER here:
West Virginia — Alexis Cunningham — “Working on a Miracle”
Born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia, and now living in the neighbouring state of Pennsylvania, Alexis Cunningham got her start on YouTube, writing songs on her acoustic guitar. She signed her first development deal at age 19. At age 23, she wrote and recorded a folk album with music producer Eric Bazilian (who wrote Joan Osborne’s 1995 hit “One of Us”) and toured Sweden. Together, Alexis and Bazilian have entered into a long-lasting creative partnership, writing and recording in a variety of styles.
It was with Slovenian producer Martin Stibernik (who wrote the music behind Slovenia’s 2003 Eurovision entry, “Nanana”, sung by Karmen) that they found their right sound in a new album with the first single, “The Medicine,” which was released early this year.
You can connect with Alexis Cunningham here:
- TikTok: @alexiscunninghamofficial
- Instagram: @itsalexiscunningham
- Facebook: AlexisCunninghamMusic
- Twitter: @AlexisCuningham
- YouTube: AlexxisandTheMedicine
- Website: www.alexiscunningham.com
Which artist interests you most this week? Do you think any of them has the edge to help them take the win? Let your voice be heard in the comments below!