Janesville66°

Group helps musicians get heard

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Kayla Bunge
February 1, 2009
— Gretch Hladish has heard the collective cry of emerging musicians: “How do I get heard in the music industry?”

Singing karaoke on weekends isn’t enough.


Recording a demo track and leaving it at the front desk of a music label doesn’t work.


Competing on national television for a record deal (and probably not making it past auditions) isn’t worth it.


Why?


“There’s no next step involved,” Hladish said.


The Walworth woman, who is perhaps best known for her cabaret-style shows at Millie’s Restaurants & Shopping Village in Delavan Township, has what she thinks is an answer: The Midwest Artist Network.


The network is an alliance of singers, songwriters and other musicians sharing information, experiences and resources to develop the potential of regional artists through mentorship, publicity and performances.


“There are too many talented people who pass on their dreams because they don’t think there’s a way,” Hladish said. “There is a way. It’s not magic, but there is a way.”


The majority of budding musicians don’t know the ropes of the music industry, she said, and the majority of established musicians had to learn the hard way.


“Why not bring them together?” Hladish said.


As a part of the network, up-and-coming musicians not only will receive vocal, instrumental and songwriting coaching but will be given the opportunity to perform in front of an audience, she said. And for professional musicians, the network is an opportunity to give back and network with each other, she said.


“We’re creating a cottage industry for regional artists,” Hladish said.


The first product of the Midwest Artist Network is a regional talent competition called Midwest Artist Search 2009 to be held this spring in Lake Geneva.


One hundred contestants will be selected in late February from singers who submit audition tracks or participate in live submission nights. Contestants will compete in groups of 25 in four live events in March.


Twenty finalists will compete in the final “showdown” over two nights in April.


The grand prize winner will receive a 10-song recording package, a professional CD and merchandise design package and promotional materials, among other prizes.


Nine second-place winners will have the opportunity to record a song to appear on a Midwest Artist Search sampler CD.


Similar competitions for songwriters and young singers are in the works.


Hladish said Midwest Artist Search 2009 has the potential to make the lakes area of Walworth County a regional “destination for music.”


She said the competition is expected to draw hundreds of people; boost business for local motels, hotels and resorts in the off season, and provide the community with affordable entertainment options.


“This region has the potential to become a Mecca for singers, songwriters and other musicians,” Hladish said. “And there’s no reason it won’t.”


MIDWEST ARTIST SEARCH 2009


- Submissions


Four live submission nights are being held for singers who might not have the ability to record an audition piece. Two live submission nights already have been held. The remaining two live submission nights will be from 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Feb. 7, and Thursday, Feb. 12, at the Lodge at Geneva Ridge, W4240 Highway 50, Lake Geneva.


Entrants must register online at www.midwestartistsearch.com. Entrants also must fill out an application and pay a $25 submission fee, which grants them membership to the Midwest Artist Network.


Only 20 submissions will be accepted each night, and submissions are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.


One hundred contestants will be selected Feb. 21 to compete in Midwest Artist Search 2009.


- Competition


Contestants will compete in groups of 25 in four live elimination events from 7 to 10 p.m. March 12, 19, 26 and April 2 at the Lodge at Geneva Ridge.


Five finalists from each group will be selected to compete in the “showdown” round of Midwest Artist Search 2009.


The public is invited to attend the elimination events. Tickets are $10 at the door.


- Showdown


Finalists will compete in two shows, singing one song in each show, from 8 to 11 p.m. April 10 and 11 at the Lodge at Geneva Ridge.


The grand prize winner will receive a 10-song recording package from HMG Productions in Walworth, a professional CD and merchandise design package from MidwestLove Art & Design in Walworth, promotional materials, professional sound equipment, a resort package from the Lodge at Geneva Ridge, an article in True Woman magazine and mentorship through the Midwest Artist Network.


Nine second-place winners will have the opportunity to record a song to appear on a Midwest Artist Search sampler CD.


The public is invited to attend the “showdown” events. Tickets are $10 at the door.


MORE INFORMATION


For more information about the Midwest Artist Network or to become a member of the network; or for more information about Midwest Artist Search 2009, to register for the competition or to become a corporate sponsor of the competition, contact Gretch Hladish at (262) 949-4358 or submissions@ midwestartistnetwork.com or go to www.midwestartistsearch.com.



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