Hola to all! A few months back we entered a contest on ReverbNation. If you haven't heard of ReverbNation (RN) it's a site for bands and fans all over the world to gather, listen, interact and promote. Think of it as every band's own personal website all gathered into one place. Based on algorithms of traffic and followers, RN then ranks each band starting with general city, region, nation, and finally worldwide. Currently we're #1 in the city and #2 regionally, we've been working hard! Anyway, RN offers contests for bands to enter. These contests are for a variety of things such as festival gigs, recording contracts, publication and interviews, mixes/mastering, etc. Even though this particular competition was out of our wheel-house, we took a chance and entered for placement in the live round of the 2019 Texas Dream Night Talent Search and were selected! After uploading videos, photos and bio of ourselves, we arrived at the two-day event over Korey's birthday, April 27 & 28. Not only was this a competition that resembles The Voice, America's Got Talent, American Idol, but it was a mentoring event as well. Wendy Klein Kay, owner of Dream Night Talent Search and Utopia Artists, LLC, brought in fellow judges Dennis Gelbaum, CEO/EDC of Ramp It Up Entertainment and Debi Lewin, vocal coach, seasoned pro and vocalist extraordinaire with guest judge Craig Wayne Boyd, winner of The Voice in 2014. Every contestant was gathered in the beautiful Texan Theater in Greenville where one at a time we went on stage to play one song. Choosing the right song was the hardest decision! Just like those shows on TV, the right song choice can make or break you. We went into the competition prepared to perform our original songs, but after much deliberation and listening to what the judges told the contestants before us we decided to go with a strong cover, "Black Horse & the Cherry Tree" by KT Tunstall. That first day I (Dana) was so nervous I was shaking once I got on stage, which was super weird for me because I don't get nervous performing anymore! Korey played amazing as always and we both gave it our all. The only criticism after that performance was that the jam we tag onto the end of the song was too long since this is a competition and not a gig, but hey, we left it all out there! We came home after day 1, were exhausted and in a very small way celebrated Korey's birthday since we had to be back for day 2. Sunday morning came early but we were rested and ready to take day 2 by storm. Again every contestant was gathered, listening to each other's performances and to the wisdom the judges were doling out. This was the day it started to feel like a community, like a family, since we were all in this together and were encouraging of one another. This competition, mind you, had musicians from age 9 and up, so there were many young acts with their parents in tow and they were all good professional musicians! It was insanely amazing! I wish I had been doing this since age 9; these kids are going to take the industry by storm. Craig joined the judges on this day and most people performed snippets of two songs. We decided to go with another cover for our first song "Barton Hollow" by The Civil Wars and took a chance with an original for the second song "Run Away". I was no longer nervous and shaking, and really lived in the moment while on stage. The judges unanimously agreed that we should perform "Barton Hollow" for our first song of the live competition Sunday night, with tight harmonies and a strong lead line, but they did miss the awesome guitar work that Korey did in "Black Horse", so we decided to do that one second if we got that far. Unfortunately some people were cut at the end of day 2 going into the live competition, leaving only 18 acts to perform Sunday night for the audience, judges and prizes. We made it through round 1 of the live competition, leaving only 10 acts to perform a final and deciding song. Tuning guitars, warming up vocals, running through performances one last time, teaming up to sing songs they loved, sharing encouraging words and well wishes, the backstage was alive and buzzing with excitement. Once the last performer exited the stage and it was time for the judges to deliberate we killed time by taking group photos, sharing jokes and following each other's social media. Finally the final 10 acts were asked to gather on stage with the judges where 3 oversized checks were sitting. Wendy spoke about the events of the past two days and then made the first announcement. An Honorable Mention, 3 Blocks Away, who is a four piece band of 13, 14, and 15 year olds, were asked if they could be represented by Utopia Artists, LLC! This group was a lot of fun to watch and it was incredible the songs they tackled at their age. Then, the winners of the entire competition were to be announced. I heard our name called and looked back at Korey to see Craig handing the oversized check of $500 to us. We were one of the winners! What a whirlwind! So many hugs and congratulations! The Jack Tasty Band was announced as another winner, a fun down-home southern rock band with a ton of energy, and finally the grand prize winner Will Gurley, a high school student with a great personality and theatrical vocals. Many pictures were taken, congrats given, encouraging words and love, last tidbits of industry advice, and finally good-byes were said. The experience being in this competition was one we could not have envisioned. Like I said, this was completely out of our wheel-house; we had no idea what to expect, but we're both so thankful for having gone through this. We learned, we grew, we have a renewed motivation and confidence that we are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing. And even though it's hard sometimes, the hard is what makes it great. Thank you again to Wendy, Dennis, Debi, Craig and all of our fellow contestants for the learning experience and growth! Now keep rockin!