What is the Rising Star Jazz Vocal Competition?

The Michigan Jazz Festival strongly believes in supporting upcoming artists of every age and instrument. We would like to take this opportunity to feature an up-and-coming male or female talented jazz vocalist, ages 14–114 at the 28th annual Festival on Sunday, July 16, 2023, at Schoolcraft College. We want to give you the opportunity to sing two to three songs with a professional jazz trio, opening for a headlining act.

How do I enter the competition?

  • To enter, submit two YouTube links demonstrating your ability to sing. In the videos you should be singing diverse styles of standards from the Great American Songbook. One should be a ballad or slow tempo song. The other should be medium to fast in tempo.
  • The recordings need not be of professional quality, but the of use pitch correction or editing software is prohibited and will be disqualifying.
  • Submitted songs can be a cappella, accompanied with a backing track, or with a live group. 
  • Any kind of jazz performance is welcome, from a “jazz stylization” like something from Frank Sinatra, or a jazz performance with scat singing like something from Ella Fitzgerald.
  • The clip can contain an entire performance with solos, or just a rendition of the melody. We ask that all YouTube clips be at least :30 seconds in length, singing the entire melody of a song at least once.
  • Each clip should consist of one song only. Full-concert videos will not be accepted.
  • Please make sure you are visible in your video submission. Audio-only clips will not be accepted.

What is the fee to enter the competition?

There is no entrance fee.

What are the next steps after submitting my application?

  • In April, five finalists will be chosen by a panel to perform in a live contest at Aretha’s Jazz Cafe on Sunday, May 21, at 7:00 p.m. 
  • The five finalists will rehearse and perform their songs with a professional rhythm section.
  • First-, second-, and third-place awards will be given by a panel of jazz artists based on their performances

What are the prizes?

  • First-place selection will receive the opportunity to perform two or three songs at the Michigan Jazz Festival, $150 cash prize, and certificate
  • Second-place selection will receive a $75 cash prize and certificate
  • Third-place selection will receive a $25 cash prize and certificate

When is the due date for entering?

  • Submissions are due April 1, 2023.

When will I know if I am one of the five finalists?

  • All contestants will be notified via email after the selection process.

What else do I have to know about the Rising Star competition?

  • This contest is limited to amateur vocalists residing in Michigan and northwest Ohio. 
  • With your submission, you accept that the Michigan Jazz Festival and its representatives reserve the right to use all contestants’ videos, photos, names, application information, and likenesses for any purposes related to the Michigan Jazz Festival and its promotion. 
  • The first-place vocalist must be available for the Sunday, July 16, performance at the Michigan Jazz Festival. If you are unable to attend, the honor will be bestowed upon the second-place vocalist.
  • No judging preference is given to the age or sex of the vocalist.

Michigan displays a wealth of artistic talent; there are rising stars of all ages. The Michigan Jazz Festival invites you to a competition of finding a vocal jazz rising star in a brand new fundraising event.

On Sunday, May 21, MJF is hosting the finals of the 2023 Rising Star Jazz Vocal Competition; you will get the opportunity to hear five outstanding vocalists compete, singing standards from the Great American Songbook. This event will be hosted by jazz vocal legend Ramona Collins with contestants and Ramona backed by the Scott Gwinnell Trio. The winner will receive a cash prize, certificate, and will open for Ramona at the 2023 Michigan Jazz Festival. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite, reserved seating.

This magical event will take place at Aretha’s Jazz Cafe at Music Hall Fine and Performing Arts Center in downtown Detroit (350 Madison St). The time of the performance is 7:00 – 9:00 pm. There will be food and drinks available throughout the performance and cabaret seating in this historic venue. There is an adjacent lot and garage parking. Tickets are available on Eventbrite for $30 (plus small ticket surcharge).

Your ticket purchase supports the future of jazz as well as the continuation of the Michigan Jazz Festival. Please support this festival; it is a one-of-a-kind event that provides entertainment from Michigan’s best jazz artists to you at no cost.