Bold art and passion displayed at the Flint talent competition

FLINT, MI – The finalists in a talent contest rocked the scene Thursday night as they bared themselves through music, song and poetry for the chance to become a champion.

Signal Boost, a talent competition run by Shop Floor Theater Company and Luma Legacy, took place on the evening of Thursday, December 9 at the Capitol Theater in downtown Flint.

The artists – Messiah “Siah D” Douglas, Jenna Clark, Kameron “King Kam” Motley, Jo Ikigai and Bleau McCray-Morel – took to the stage to express their vision for a better future through poetry and music. , but an artist took home the grand prize.

Related: New Genesee County Youth Talent Competition Aims To Help Artists Empower Their Communities Through Poetry, Music

Bleau McCray-Morel won the competition with a grand prize of $ 2,500 and a matching grant to the Whaley Children’s Center in Flint.

McCray-Morel, 21, sang a jazz soul and R&B inspired song called “Something in the City” as he plucked the strings of his guitar.

He gave a confident performance and captivated audiences with his wide range and falsetto.

The day after the performance, MLive-The Flint Journal spoke with the Flint native about his victory.

“It was out of left field. I was not expecting this one, ”said the artist, adding that he had not planned to win over his talented competitors.

A Mott Middle College alumnus, McCray-Morel has an undeniable natural talent, but has recognized that practice really makes a performance nearly perfect.

“I played this song every day,” McCray-Morel explained. “You can be good, but anyone who feels like I’m just talented is a liar. If you don’t practice, you’re going to suck on stage. You have to work on it.

The song McCray-Morel performed was based on her thoughts on the Flint community and how many things she needs to change.

“The ideology of the people here and how we live it,” said McCray-Morel. “I was like we needed to talk about it and no one was really talking about it and I was like I might as well write a song about it and see what comes out of it. Things change when people get together.

The artist was heavily influenced by the blues genre because his parents, Larry McCray, a blues musician, and Kelly Morel introduced him to music at an early age.

After the concert, Kelly McCray said she was excited about her victory and in awe of the other talent.

“He’s always been singing,” she said.

The next steps for McCray-Morel will be to continue delivering his music to the masses and taking it to the next level.

I hope things go well, “he said.” All I worry about is taking care of myself and my people. “

Competition finalist Jo Ikigai boldly delivered a poem titled “Me Too” about her unfortunate experience of sexual assault and the difficulties she encountered in sharing that information.

The gripping performance earned her $ 1,500 and a matching grant to I Found My Voice, a non-profit organization that serves the needs of survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence by providing quality programming that helps attendees to find healing through artistic creation and self-expression.

“I struggled so much to overcome trauma,” Ikigai said in an introductory video before his stage performance. “Some people go dumb, some people scream. My gift is my word, so when it happened to me it turned into poetry.

Detroit-based rap artist and record producer Helluva (Martin McCurtis) was one of the contest judges and asked Ikigai what prompted her to share the story the way she did.

She replied that she was using art to heal herself.

Clark, one of the finalists, performed a song called “Haunted”, which was also inspired by her experience of sexual abuse and trauma.

“It feels like such a win because I have gained so much knowledge, experience and friends,” Clark said of his time with the other talent in the competition. “It doesn’t look like competition, it’s kind of like a family.”

The event also included performances by Flint’s Mama Sol and Tha NUTS, Flint rapper and producer Jon Connor, and Detroit Charity artist.

The judges included Helluva, Kiaira May, executive director of the Flint Downtown Development Authority, Tia Scott, editor-in-chief of Flintside, and Charles Winfrey, commissioner of the 2nd district of Genesee County and executive director of the New McCree Theater.

Kate Glantz, director of Luma Legacy, and Kendrick Jones, executive director of the Shop Floor Theater Company, have teamed up to create a platform for emerging artists to express their vision for a better future through music and performance. poetry.

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