January 10, 2007 12:14 AM by Joe Reality
After evaluating thousands of video submissions from unsigned artists,
a VIP Blue Ribbon panel has selected the Top 12 finalists in the "My
GRAMMY Moment" campaign who will compete for a performance with
multi-GRAMMY Award nominee Justin Timberlake, it was announced by
The Recording Academy. The winning performance will be seen on THE 49th
ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS," Sunday, Feb. 11 (8:00-11:30 PM, live ET/delayed
PT) on the CBS Television Network. The historic opportunity for
unsigned artists to vie for a special performance slot on the awards
show will now be in the hands of music fans. The public can log on to
Yahoo! Music to view the video
submissions, bios and photos of the 12 hopefuls, and vote for their Top
5 favorites. The results of this round will be announced on January 17.
Fans will continue to narrow the field from five to three finalists by online voting at Yahoo! Music. The three finalists will be announced during Super Bowl weekend and each will rehearse with Timberlake during GRAMMY Week in Los Angeles. The public will choose their favorite performer via online and text message votes during THE 49th ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS. The winner will be announced live on the show before his or her "GRAMMY Moment" with Timberlake.
Following are the Top 12 Finalists:
Candace Devine (27), Burbank, Calif.
Amanda Dunn (26), Charlotte, N.C.
Jillian Gaudious (25), Long Branch, N.J.
Candice Jackson (25), Austin, Texas
Jessica James (18), Warner Robins, Ga.
Africa Miranda (30), Montgomery, Ala.
David Moore (18), Orlando, Fla.
Brenda Radney (22), Staten Island, N.Y.
Phillip Ray (28), Oakland, Calif.
Jayne Rio (20), Vallejo, Calif.
Robyn Troup (18), Houston
Mandy Ventrice (21), Pittsburg, Calif.
Following is biographical information on the Top 12 finalists:
CANDACE DEVINE, 27, was born and raised in Burbank, Calif., until the age of 14 when her family moved to Laguna Hills, Calif. She currently resides back in her hometown of Burbank and works as the head coach of the University of Southern California Equestrian team and trains horses for private clients. Candace has been singing her entire life and has written a number of her own songs. She also dances and plays the piano and guitar. She aspires to be a successful recording/touring artist and describes her sound as "soulful rock, kinda retro…like Aretha Franklin meets The Rolling Stones in Memphis with some BBQ."
Describing herself as tenacious, funny and driven, Candace says her inspiration comes from not just one source or one person, but everything and everywhere: love, travel, good times with friends and family, heartache, random adventures, death, etc. In her spare time, she loves dance, musical theatre, drama, writing songs, snowboarding, volleyball, hiking, camping, scuba diving and cooking. If she could no longer pursue a singing career, Candace would continue coaching — because it is rewarding — and songwriting for other artists.
Although she cites Stevie Wonder, The Beatles and U2 as her favorite artists, she most admires Barbra Streisand’s career because she has won a Tony®, a GRAMMY® Award and an Oscar®. "Because she has maintained such longevity, she has earned the respect and admiration from so many of her counterparts in the industry and is a true ‘Triple Threat,’" she continued.
On why she deserves her GRAMMY Moment, Candace says, "I think people will appreciate that I love to perform as much as I love to sing. Winning this competition would be one of the greatest dreams come true and would change my life forever. I would be the most thankful and grateful winner you will ever meet."
AMANDA DUNN, 26, was born and raised in Charlotte, N.C., and currently is working full-time and making music with her local band Super Nova. Citing her musical style as hip-hop, pop and R&B, she has written several of her own songs. She has been singing since she can remember and hopes to be creating music for the rest of her life, whether or not she makes it big in the industry.
Describing herself as animated, giving and loyal, Amanda says she always is on the go. She loves traveling, taking photos and being with her family. Her dad serves as her inspiration because he’s her best friend. Although she sees herself making music somewhere in five to 10 years, Amanda says that if she had to pick another profession, it would be writing songs for another artist.
Amanda feels that the music industry is like a circle; everything comes and goes, but always comes back again. Mariah Carey, Brian McKnight and Christina Aguilera are Amanda’s top three artists, but Mariah Carey’s is a musician’s career she most admires. "Although Mariah has had her share of ups and downs, she still shines and has a great voice through it all," she said.
When asked why she wants to duet with Justin Timberlake, Amanda says it would be a great opportunity and surmises that, "The winner will be the person who deserves it the most, but all of us are winners just for uploading a video!"
JILLIAN GAUDIOUS, 25, was raised in Long Branch, N.J., and currently works there full-time. She began singing when she was just four and has dreamed of becoming a star ever since. Describing her sound as soul with pop and R&B, Jillian plays the guitar, writes her own material and hopes to become a successful recording artist.
Humble, caring and unique are three adjectives Jillian uses to describe herself. When she is not playing with her cover band, The Philadelphia Funk Authority, Jillian enjoys snowboarding, surfing and traveling. If she had to choose a profession outside of recording music, she would be interested in writing music for others or discovering new talent.
Stevie Wonder’s "Sir Duke" would be a song that best describes Jillian because music is her life and she loves having it around her. Citing Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and The Supremes as her favorite musicians, she most admires Alicia Keys. "She’s not only vocally talented, but [she's talented] as a writer and composer. She’s not just a phase. She’ll be around for a long time," she said.
On why she should be chosen for her GRAMMY® Moment, Jillian said, "I’ve always admired Justin’s talent and I enjoy his music. I have always seen myself doing a duet with him. I believe I have enough talent and experience to hang with the ‘Big Dogs.’ I am eager, determined and deserve it."
CANDICE JACKSON, 25, was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and currently is an academic advisor at Austin Community College. A pop/R&B singer, Candice says she began singing in church because both of her grandfathers were Baptist ministers. She plays the guitar and has written many original songs, which she hopes to have published one day. She appreciates all aspects of music, and her dream is to obtain a record deal and tour the world singing.
"Don’t Stop Believin’" by Journey is a song that Candice says best depicts her life now because despite the setbacks she has faced, she refuses to stop believing in herself. She also cannot imagine being in a field that does not positively affect people. "I love the way music can heal people. I work in education now, and I love it because everyday I make a difference in someone’s future," she said.
Describing herself as passionate, creative and dependable, Candice enjoys dancing, working out, watching movies, attending live shows and traveling. Citing Mariah Carey, Brian McKnight and Christina Aguilera as her favorite artists, Candice says it is BeyoncÃƒ’s career she most admires. "She is famous because she has true talent. She worked hard over the years to get where she is and doesn’t depend on gimmicks to get ahead," she continued.
On why she should be chosen for