out perform // outlast // out work
“Out of the Woodwork” has had its eye on over a hundred rising stars over the past six months, and I am proud to announce this year’s cream of the crop! I predict that these 14 people have the highest chance of breaking into nationwide recognition this year. Though they have already been producing quality art for several years, I believe that this group is about to accomplish major feats before 2015 rolls around. Who are they? Why should you pay attention? Read on, friend, and you will learn!
Here’s the rundown:
14. Julianna Stasio is a model from Charleston, SC. She was recently featured on the cover of the novel “Carolina Gold” by Dorothy Love. Julianna is currently signed with Tout Talent Agency in Mount Pleasant, SC.
13. Malece Miller. You may remember Malece from “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 10. Last year, she fought her way to the top 12 contestants before being eliminated on August 6th. Malece has maintained a large fan base since leaving the show, and has hosted multiple dance workshops with her fellow Season 10 contestants.
12. Brittany Rose Umstead. Often simply known as “Brittany Rose”, this Southern model has rapidly gained momentum over the past year. An advertisement featuring Brittany appeared in historic Downtown Charleston, SC on King St., a highly coveted marketing space.
11. Lisa Tucker. Lisa Tucker Photography recently exploded onto the entertainment scene from Ogden, Utah. Lisa’s work with the SYTCD team and edgy urban style have gained her a considerable amount of fame.
10. Spence Mills. In the field of music production, Spence Mills is, in my opinion, a prodigy. He is known mostly for his instrumental music and unique fan/artist relationship. His Youtube channel alone has nearly 2.5 million views. To date, all of Mills’ music has been available for free to anyone who wants it. His beats are wildly popular among aspiring rappers, yet he (at this point) refuses to “tag” them (“tagging” refers to the insertion of the producer’s name into the song to protect their rights to it). Mills released several posts to Facebook about his upcoming album, “If the Devil Wrote Songs” earlier this year.
9. Torrey Mercer. It always inspires me when I see artists living to bring happiness to other people. Of all the rising artists I follow, Mercer may have the greatest cause of all: she dreams of bringing an end to bullying. Mercer is a gifted singer and songwriter, and was named “Best Teen Artist” in LA’s 2014 “Artists in Music Awards”. Mercer appears regularly at schools to educate and inspire kids about how to understand and overcome bullying.
8. Jenny Kleiman. The winner of “Out of the Woodwork”‘s 2013 Holiday Contest has continued to impress over the past few months. You can read my earlier post about her here. I have no doubts that Jenny will be making major moves throughout 2014.
7. Jake Simpson. This New York City photographer is no stranger to “Out of the Woodwork”. Simpson was featured as a celebrity judge during our 2013 Holiday Contest. Simpson has recently added bow tie design to his growing list of services. You can check out his original designs here.
6. Spaceship Days. Spaceship Days is a pop band from Durham, North Carolina. They took big strides last year, releasing the wildly popular music video “December“, and working closely with entities such as Every New Day Pictures and Butterflies Radio.
5. Soren Bryce Martin. It’s been less than six months since we featured Soren here on “Out of the Woodwork”. Since then, a swarm of public attention has turned her way, due in part to walking away with TWO different awards from the AIMAs in Hollywood. Soren was simultaneously voted “Best Folk/Acoustic Artist” and “Best Singer/Songwriter”. Mark my words, the days are numbered before Soren breaks into National/International stardom.
4. Justin Wheelon. This is a man of many talents. Wheelon worked for several years as an actor before recently founding his own production company: Southern City. Since we last spoke with him, Wheelon wrote/directed a commercial for FOX that played in the Augusta, GA area during the Super Bowl.
3. Jason Gourdine. Founder of Crown Vision Media, Jason Gourdine has been featured in numerous newspapers, interviews, and social media posts surrounding Charleston, SC. His film “Dominion” was received the “Best Feature Film” award at the Charlotte Black Film Festival this month. Gourdine is already filming several other projects as well, leading me to believe that he will heavily impact the Southern entertainment industry this year.
2. Elise Testone. Elise is one of those artists that I almost consider to be too well-known to be featured on “Out of the Woodwork”. Her success on American Idol a few years ago garnered her nationwide praise and thousands of fans. However, I feel that we sometimes leave our television contestants in the dust after shows drop them. How often do we hear people talking about Clay Aiken anymore? Not very. The sad truth is that these artists don’t lose their talent after the show. We just neglect them. That being said, Elise Testone has worked hard on her musical career since her season of American Idol ended. She plays regularly in venues all up and down the East Coast, and released her new album “In this Life” on February 11th, 2014. I can easily see Testone reestablishing her name and making big moves this year.
1. Lauren York. Of all the actors, singers, dancers, photographers, etc. I’ve had my eye on, Lauren York seems to have the highest potential of “breaking through” this year. She has already gained a large amount of attention in the past few months for both her acting and her modelling endeavors. She will appear in “17” magazine this summer. York also starred in the film Southern Comfort, which is scheduled to premier in April at the Bare Bones International Film Festival.
“Breaking through” and “Making it big” are terms that offend me, as an actor, just a little. Most artists don’t live or work because they want to build themselves up. Most work in their industry because they genuinely enjoy it and love bringing fun and feelings into the lives of other people. Though fame is sometimes a necessary component to being able to work full time in the entertainment industry, I think that these artists have already “broken through”. They’re doing what they love. They’ve pursued the things that they loved in life, they’ve pushed through skeptical relatives and numerous rejections to bring you the movies and songs and photos that you get to enjoy. My purpose, as always, is simply to shed a little more light on these deserving people, and to encourage them in their efforts this year. So keep your eyes peeled and send them a good word!
That’s all for today, folks! Tune in next time as I push to bring them~
Out of the Woodwork.