If you’ve been following us on Ram Zone, you’ll remember our Battle of the Bands contest we kicked off back in January. We put the word out that if you had a country music group, we were looking for you. The top 10 videos that received the most votes from our fans were reviewed by a Ram Truck panel of judges. Well the time has come, our fans and judges have spoken and now we are down to the two finalists that will perform live at this year’s Rodeo Austin in Texas. The first place winner will take home a full $5,000 and the second place winner will go home with $2,500 in their guitar case.
Our first finalist is a 26 year-old who calls the Motor City her home. Justine Blazer (yes, that’s her real name) grew up in the auto industry and even knows a thing or two about cars and trucks in addition to her affinity for great music. She has been performing since she was four years old and has been writing songs since and was eight. She learned to play the guitar, piano and harmonica at 10 years of age. By the time she was 13, Justine recorded her first three-song EP. When asked what artist inspired Justine to pursue a country music career, she had this to say. “My musical influences included Patsy Cline, Martina McBride, Faith Hill Reba McEntire” said Justine. “My father was an automotive engineer and we moved to Nashville when I was younger and that’s probably where the country roots started. My mother owned a dance studio and it was there I was exposed to all sorts of different music”. Later her family moved back to Michigan and she continued to hone her vocal skills. The hard work and dedication paid off as she was nominated for 15 Detroit Music Awards and won the Detroit Blues Challenge in 2007. Her recent single ‘New Country Beat’ was released in July 2010 and was immediately picked up by XM satellite radio, AOL radio and CMT radio.
When we reached Justine to tell her the news that she is a finalist, she was ecstatic. “This is indescribable and a once in a lifetime opportunity. My band I have worked so hard over the past years and I feel so lucky to be a finalist. This is one of the biggest events in my career. As a musician you work so hard to achieve that goal. To be recognized by Ram Truck is simply awesome!”
Our second finalist hails from a region in the country better known for seafood, Paul Revere, cranberries and maple syrup than country music. Just formed over four months ago, The Natalie Turgeon Band claims Concord, New Hampshire as home but their heart and soul is definitely southern. Hearing of the Ram Battle of the Bands contest, they answered the challenge by creating their first music video in a matter of days, with no budget. The band practices in the basement and their music epitomizes the true spirit of an authentic country sound with just a hint of R&B. The driving force behind the band is the lead vocalist, Natalie Turgeon. At four years old, her music talent became evident as she sat at the piano and easily played her favorite Christmas carol. Despite being a trained pianist, Natalie decided to concentrate on singing and working on her vocal range. Her dedication paid off and in 2007 and 2008, where she was a finalist in the New Hampshire Idol Competition. In 2010, Natalie stepped up her game and swept the New Hampshire Country Music Association’s annual competition by walking away with Female Vocalist and Female Entertainer of the Year. This month, Natalie and the band will be representing the Northeast in the National Country Music competition in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. When Natalie and her band mates heard the news of being a finalist for Our Battle of the Bands contest, they were blown away. “It’s very unexpected, this came as a big surprise. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity that I have for the band and myself. I’m excited to see where this takes us and to see the opportunities that come from this!” said Natalie. “I can’t thank Ram Truck enough for this contest and I know the band and I will be practicing real hard between now and Rodeo Austin.”
We know the music is going to be hot and the competition fierce, between these two highly talented bands. Make sure to check back at Ram Zone as we’ll post the winner of the Battle of the Bands from the Austin Rodeo on Sunday, March 20.