Hillsboro’s Ricky Coyle and the rock group Heart Means More competed recently in the Next 2 Rock Cincinnati finals.
Next 2 Rock is a nationwide contest for local talent, giving them a chance to break into the recording industry, with the top five finalists competing at a live event in Los Angeles on Oct. 4.
The Cincinnati area competition was sponsored by Cincinnati radio station 96 Rock and Miami Valley Gaming, where the concert was held.
“This was our second year getting into the competition,” Coyle said, “and it’s like ‘America’s Got Talent’ on steroids.”
Coyle said there were between 300 and 400 people in the crowd cheering them on at the Lebanon venue, with judges from both the recording industry and the radio station rating their act.
There were five aspects of their performance that the judges were looking at: overall appearance, musicianship of the band, stage presence, overall musical quality and the crowd’s enthusiasm.
Up for grabs was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Coyle and the other bands, not just money and recognition, but a contract with a major recording label.
“The grand prize winner, whoever that’ll be, really nails it,” he said. “That solo act or band will be offered a recording deal with a label for either a single or a full album.”
Axel Rowe, 96 Rock program director, told The Times-Gazette that the national winner gets a contract with Big Machine Records, which is Taylor Swift’s label, and radio play across the country on all the Cumulus rock stations.
In the Cincinnati area competition, the winning act was You vs. Yesterday, a band from Dayton.
They received a $1,000 cash prize and a slot at next year’s Bunbury Music Festival, a three-day event held in Cincinnati at Sawyer’s Point Park and Yeatman’s Cove on the banks of the Ohio River.
For Coyle and fellow band members John Scott, Kevin Best, Justin Paris and Alex Hale, there’s a new album in the works set to debut either later this year or early 2019.
Heart Means More will be back on stage at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 at The Mad Frog on East McMillan in Cincinnati.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571