The search for the most talented rising vocalist at the 2018 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola finally ended as American Airlines crowned the lucky winner of the New & Next ‘Show Us Your Range’ challenge during Festival weekend.
The judges had their work cut out for them on Saturday afternoon as each of the three finalists took to Centerstage in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to belt out their own original music. It was their last chance to prove why they deserved to be crowned New & Next ‘Show Us Your Range’ champion.
Finalist Kevonna Rose from New Jersey was most excited about the opportunity to share her music with a new audience.
“I mean, this is super exciting,” Rose told ESSENCE. “Anytime I get the chance to perform in front of a crowd and let new people hear my music, I’m super stoked to do it. Everyone’s been so kind and nice and accommodating so, we’re having a great time. The best part of this experience for me is having people with influence be able to hear my music and hopefully, like it, and want to talk to me about it and….give me a deal [laughs]! Everyone can check me out @KevonnaRose on Instagram.”
For finalist Shardé of California, receiving positive feedback from industry professionals who loved her music was major.
“Performing at ESSENCE Fest was everything that I ever wanted and more,” she said. “My favorite part about doing this competition is getting the feedback from the professionals. They know what they’re talking about, they see talent all day, every day and so the feedback was very helpful. They loved my song so, I’m psyched about that!”
Although nerves were naturally running rampant leading up to the announcement of the winner, finalist Ella René wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.
“This experience was great,” she said. “It was nerve-wracking at the same time but, I loved every moment of it. As far as what’s next, there’s more music! I’m recording more, putting out more visuals and performing more so I can continue to get better. Check me out @officialellarene on Instagram.”
In the end, it was Shardé who wowed the judges with an empowering performance of her song, “Adjust Your Crown” and came away as the first-ever New & Next ‘Show Us Your Range’ championship trophy.
“I’m a mix of emotions right now,” she said immediately after Centerstage host, Rocsi Diaz, announced her as the winner. “I’ve been through a lot in my life and this is like, the best day of my life right now. The other two ladies are wonderful. I was nervous going up against them, they’re so talented.
“I have a single coming out soon. I’m working on it now so, hopefully, that will be the follow up to the win. You can keep up with me on Instagram and Twitter @shardesangz.”
Missed out on the competition? Watch the full competition including audience reactions, feedback from judges and the unforgettable moment Shardé was named New & Next ‘Show Us Your Range’ champion of 2018.
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