The Seven Finalists have been Selected for CNS’ Talent Show on Feb. 23
It was back in September, when the idea of a talent show for the city was born. And after months of accepting music submissions from artists around Milwaukee, the 28 submissions have been reduced to the top seven finalists who will perform at our talent show.
The Talent Show: Milwaukee Music Edition will be held on Feb. 23 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, located at 1531 W. Vliet St.
The show is free and will offer free wings: BBQ, Buffalo, Lemon Pepper and Parmesan Garlic. Food will be available when doors open at 6 p.m. for a limited time.
Seven Milwaukee artists will compete for cash prizes—First: $200, Second: $100 and Third: $50. Included in first place will come with a free 2-hour recording session with artist and producer CAMB. Second place includes a spot on Kickin’ It With Tyree. And third place will receive a free photoshoot by artist and photographer AWill ThaGreat. The audience will vote on who wins third place.
The goal of the talent show is to give a platform to Milwaukee artists and to give the city something enjoyable to do.
A free group photoshoot and private networking event is also offered to all of the finalists. The networking event is intended to connect the finalists with other resources around the city.
All submissions were judged by four individuals, who rated each song submission on a scale of 1-5. The top ten submissions with the highest rating moved on to the second round of “auditions.” Each artist was then given a little over 24 hours to send in a freshly-recorded 30 second video of themselves performing a song. Those who didn’t make the deadline were disqualified.
After a couple of hours of two days of judging, we’ve got our performers.
Introducing the seven finalists who will perform at CNS’s first talent show:
C-Yonko turned his band experience into a developing rap career. As a previous member of Rufus King’s drumline, he understands how much it takes to make it in the music industry. The biggest take away C-Yonko took from band was rhythm and flow.
He started rapping around his freshman/sophomore of college, but just started recently releasing beats and music.
Music has a way of expressing our emotions and thoughts better than we ever could, he said about one of the many aspects of music.
“I want to show I have talent with music,” said C-Yonko. “But I always want to have something people can enjoy.”
According to C-Yonko, we really don’t have music that sticks with people, so he hopes to create everlasting music.
As a recent graduate of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, C-Yonko is transitioning from college to find his true passion within his field of degree: Public Relations.
It’s all about where he sees himself the happiest.
”Doing what I love is completely different than working a job,” he said.
Coming from a sheltered life, C-Yonko was either misunderstood or looked at as a joke, so he puts his frustration into his music because that let others know they’re not alone.
”Once you find out you’re not alone, you’re more willing and open to have [difficult] conversations.”
C-Yonko said he doesn’t know much about Milwaukee’s music scene, but he’ll be using the talent show to connect with other artists. The talent show will be his first performance on stage in front of others, and he’s just ready to showcase his talent.
”Take notice because you’re going to hear my name come up,” C-Yonko said. “I don’t know where and I don’t know when, but I know ima do something big.”
Grey Genius tried to quit music three times but somehow it kept coming back. She’s been rapping since 11 and has been singing her entire life. This isn’t her first performance and it sure won’t be her last.
She has some buzz around the city and it’s constantly growing every day.
“I want music to be the only thing I do,” said Grey Genius.
Her latest EP, “Late Nights Cool Drinks” has a chill, relaxed mood, she said, but it’s quality over everything. Her vibes will make you close your eyes and listen intensively to her voice and words.
When it comes to her performance at the show, “expect to like me,” she said. “I always try to connect with the audience…and to vibe out.”
As an artist trying to make it, Grey Genius says Milwaukee, as a community, needs more people to share artists’ music. But she also stated that she sees the love the city has to offer.
“I don’t understand when people say Milwaukee is full of haters,” she said. “I don’t see it as often.”
Through the multiple stages of quitting her music career, Grey Genius says her support system helped build her confidence, which goes back to the point of coming together to support one another.
Call your local radio stations and request Milwaukee artists’ songs because they need platforms like V100.7 to shed light on artists, she said. Artists need more things like “Heat from the Street.”
“Play the music. Listen to it,” she said.
It’s been a long but eventful adventure for Jax Fontane. He started rapping last year and now he’s found his voice and is ready to share it with anyone who’s willing to listen.
“I always felt out of place until recently,” he said. “I was always floating, I guess.”
Nine years ago Jax Fontane enrolled at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for elementary education. Four years later he decided to drop out. At this time, Jax Fontane said he wasn’t exploring his creative side.
Also during this time, his father introduced him to AmeriCorps, which was his turning point, he said.
He eventually applied and began working for FEMA, where he also wrote for their blog. One month his article was the top post.
Once he dropped out, Jax Fontane began reading a lot and now he’s written a book. But before his interest in reading grew, he was always into poetry, which has translated into his music.
”There’s a connection between your present self and your past self,” he said.
He doesn’t have much performance experience but he plans on taking breaks in between songs to engage with the audience by sharing stories about himself.
“I see the music as another form of communication,” he said about his love for music. “Music is a form of conversation…[where you’re] able to talk uninterrupted,” which doesn’t happen in real life.
And through his journaling and reflecting, he found his voice.
“Not being afraid of your own voice,” is key he said. “Your voice is kinda in everything [and] that voice is their for a reason.”
If you haven’t heard of Troy Tyler than you’re missing out. He’s been capturing all of the girls hearts with his powerful R&B voice.
“You see how you touch people,” Troy Tyler said about the effect his music has on others.
He’s always around the city meeting with people or performing one of his hits. Troy Tyler said this performance will differ from his others because he doesn’t want to keep giving his fans the same thing.
“Every performance I give the same 120% but in a different way,” he said.
Troy Tyler is usually the light of the room, but lately he’s been in a dark place due to the death of two people close to him. Although they both died from old age, his mental hasn’t been the same.
“I have mental struggles just like anyone else,” Troy Tyler said. “And I know I’m not my thoughts. I know I’m better than what I’m thinking [and I have to] remind myself that I’ll be over this eventually.”
His parents are his biggest supporters and credits all of his accomplishments to them. Troy Tyler has performed for CNS before and he says he’s grown since that performance. The more shows that he does, the more his fan base grows. Now everytime he performs, the audience is singing his songs with him.
Troy Tyler knows at least handful of people—it’s way more than that—who want to see him make it, so he keeps pushing even when he isn’t himself.
“I’m not perfect by any means,” Troy Tyler said. “I’m human.”
Tru West loves the color purple, but she loves singing even more. She expects to capture the audience’s attention in ways she hasn’t before while performing.
Just like other artist, Tru West wants individuals to understand the importance of supporting local artists.
“It’s necessary for people to know who we are,” said Tru West, referencing the artists around the city.
When she’s not in the studio, she’s working with young women at Milwaukee Academy, which is a mental health service. The young women usually have no other family, are high-risk runners and have experienced high amounts of trauma.
Tru West works with females aged 13-18, and she basically helps them become a productive citizen, by providing the services they need—education, guidance, love and much more. She’s considered a youth care worker and was hired on spot.
“My first week there I was inspired to write a song,” Tru West said. “A lot of these girls have nothing to go home to.”
Tru West wants to leave the message with the girls that “there’s a way of out of this.” The city has failed the youth, which is why they tend to act out, she said. “We need stuff for these kids to do,” because when they don’t have nothing to do, they tend go looking for trouble.
Though her music, she wants to give a voice to girls like the ones she works with.
“I’m just a woman trying to bring realness back into everybody,” Tru West said. “By rebuilding our community and slowly rebuilding the world. My purpose is for more than just music.”
Myndd speaks the truth with every word that leaves his mouth and ends up on a track. He’s kind of a wordsmith and he can thank his mother for that. Every day after school, his mother would have him sit at the table to practice his writing. She’s a poet and a singer, and her skills definitely rubbed off on Myndd. He used to take those moments with his mom for granted, but now he cherishes them.
“I tell a story with each and every song,” Myndd said.
His dad was also a DJ, so it was no escaping music for Myndd.
In his younger days he received the nickname “brainiac” because he was a smart kid. And the spelling of his artist name, “Myndd” means giant mountain.
Myndd said he wants to touch souls.
“The goal is to build on to a movement that’s bigger than myself,” he said. “I’m inspiring to be an inspiration to the youth that nothing is really impossible.” It’s more than just music for Myndd. He wants to be that light the youth look to when they’re not doing their best.
“I seen too many loved ones gone. Half of em dead, half of em locked up right now,” he said. “You control your destiny.”
And, instead of seeing the talent show as a competition, Myndd wants the audience to focus on enjoying the show more than anything. “I want people to feel free,” he said to those who come to the show.
Make sure to come see these seven artists perform on Feb. 23 at the King Center starting at 6 p.m.
MOST OF THEIR MUSIC CAN BE FOUND ON STREAMING PLATFORMS, SOUNDCLOUD AND YOUTUBE.
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After the article was published, the seventh finalist dropped out, so there will only be six performances.