HomeNewsLocal musician wins WXPN contest

Local musician wins WXPN contest

WXPN announced today that Northeast resident Khalil Amaru is the grand prize winner of its inaugural 24-Hour Song Challenge. The new contest for local songwriters required participants to write, record and submit a video of their performance of a new, original song within just 24 hours.

Amaru’s song Dear June was selected from more than 300 songs/videos submitted. He receives $1,000, 10 hours of recording time at Milkboy Studios, a one-year WXPN Program Partner Membership ($1,500 value) and the opportunity to perform his winning song onstage at WXPN’s 2024 XPoNential Music Festival in September.

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Amaru said, “ ‘Dear June’ is about the summer I experienced what they call a ‘summer fling,’ which I thought would blossom into something beautiful but never did. June, the month we met, symbolizes our relationship — a union that was planted but never took root. I crafted the song to convey the full spectrum of emotions I experienced — pain, joy, anger and frustration — over a catchy melody and a soulful drum/piano combo. Completing this project without a band was incredibly tough, but I’m proud of what I achieved. I didn’t finish until 3 a.m., and contemplated not submitting it, like, three times.”

The 24-Hour Song Challenge started at noon on June 1, when WXPN announced the song prompt “summertime,” which songwriters had to interpret in creating an original new song. They then had to record and submit their video performance of the song to YouTube and the contest site within the 24-hour deadline. The contest was open to independent musicians (not signed to any record labels) aged 18 or older.

A panel of six judges reviewed the 310 submissions, evaluating them based on lyrics, composition/melody and performance. Four finalists were selected and announced on June 24. The three runners-up, who will each receive $500 and a one-year basic-level WXPN membership ($120 value), are Mackenzie Johnson, Blue Barnett (who performs as Best Bear) and Yuneer Gainz.

Bruce Warren, WXPN Assistant General Manager for Programming, said, “WXPN has supported local and independent musicians for years, and the 24-Hour Song Challenge is just another example of that support and our mission to connect artists with audiences.”

He added, “Philly and our surrounding listening area have a rich history of incredibly talented musicians and songwriters, and this challenge continues that legacy. We were absolutely blown away by the impressive song contributions of the 310 musicians who sent songs about or inspired by ‘summertime.’ “

The winning song and those by the three runners-up can be viewed at https://songchallenge.xpn.org/watch. ••

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