The American Traditions Vocal Competition’s (ATC) unveil of its 2020 contestants is right around the corner and the organization is thrilled to announce its star-studded lineup of judges for the 2020 season: singer, actress, songwriter and recording artist Morgan James; nine-time Grammy winner and seventeen-time Grammy nominee Janis Siegel; and Grammy nominee Jubilant Sykes.
The 27th Annual ATC will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, with these phenomenal vocalists performing in the competition’s annual Judge’s Concert, and the competition week continues through Friday, Feb. 21 with rounds of competition featuring some of the best vocal performers in the country, and in the world.
Morgan James is a Julliard-trained singer, actress, songwriter and recording artist in New York City. James is preparing to release her third studio album of original soul music, recorded to analog tape in Memphis, Tenn. Her other albums include "Reckless Abandon," which prompted the Huffington Post to call her the ‘Brightest Breakout Artist of the Year,’ a full album cover of the Beatles’ iconic "White Album," Joni Mitchell’s "Blue," and two full-length original albums with Epic Records: "Hunter and Morgan James Live."
On Broadway, James was in four back-to-back original companies: "The Addams Family," "Wonderland," "Godspell," and "Motown: The Musical." With the viral sensation Postmodern Jukebox, and her own YouTube channel, James’ music videos have accumulated over 200 million views. Stay in touch with James by following her on Instagram at @morganajames.
Over the past four and a half decades, the voice of Janis Siegel, nine-time Grammy winner and seventeen-time Grammy nominee, has been an undeniable force in The Manhattan Transfer’s diverse music catalog. She sang lead on some of the Transfer’s biggest hits, such as “Operator,” “Chanson D’Amour,” “Twilight Zone,” “Birdland,” “The Boy From New York City,” “Spice of Life”, ”Ray’s Rockhouse”, “The Shaker Song”, “Mystery”, and co-wrote and sang lead on the Grammy winning “Sassy”. She also gained a reputation as a vocal arranger by writing five of the charts for the group’s acclaimed masterwork, Vocalese, seven charts for the group’s Grammy-winning album "Brasil" and won a Grammy herself in 1980 for her arrangement of “Birdland.”
Siegel’ tenth solo album, released on Palmetto Records, is called "NightSongs," and she is currently working on solo collaborations with trombonist/singer Nils Landgren, in tribute to Leonard Bernstein, and a Brazilian/jazz vocal adventure with her group, Requinte Trio, called "Honey & Air."
American Baritone and Grammy nominee Jubilant Sykes brings a new dimension to the traditional career of the classically-trained vocalist by drawing on gospel and jazz influences, to deliver performances of differing musical genres. Sykes has worked with conductors such as Kurt Masur, the late Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, Christoph Eschenbach, Marin Alsop, John Williams, and the late Marvin Hamlisch. He has been the featured soloist with many of the world’s finest orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, London Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London.
His unique gifts have taken him to diverse stages around the world, such as the Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, London’s Barbican Centre, the Apollo Theater, and the New Orleans Jazz Festival. His versatility has allowed him to collaborate with renowned artists including Renée Fleming, Julie Andrews, The Boston Pops, Josh Groban and Carlos Santana. Of his performance, The Atlanta Journal- Constitution was inspired to proclaim: “Jubilant Sykes’ voice is extraordinary. He isn’t merely an outstanding singer, his voice is art at its highest expression."
“This year, the American Traditions Vocal Competition welcomes two new performers of stratospheric caliber to our musical family – Mr. Jubilant Sykes and Ms. Janis Siegel. Ironically, the two superstars already know one another from their work with the Boston Pops years ago. Complementing these two performers is ATC veteran Morgan James. Having competed and won an ATC Silver medal and having judged our competition in its exciting 25th anniversary, Morgan will bring a body of knowledge on our organization, as well as her own musical expertise to the judging table. Every year at the American Traditions Vocal Competition is a celebration of American song, but this year, we will also be celebrating the great artists that bring these songs to our ears, hearts and minds,” says ATC Artistic Director Mikki Sodergren.
The American Traditions Vocal Competition celebrates and preserves all styles of classic American music. The organization promotes these songs by producing an annual vocal competition in Savannah, Georgia, that awards over $35,000 in cash prizes. The ATC is committed to serving the great Savannah community. The organization provides musical education, musical opportunities and performances for Savannah locals of all ages. This 501(c)(3) arts institution was born of the desire to foster and preserve traditions of musical expressions, which have been significant in the culture of the United States, by celebrating the repertoire that represents both the art and the popular cultures of our country.
For more information about this annual vocal competition, taking place Feb. 17-21, 2020, please visit www.americantraditionscompetition.com.