Updated: Apr 25
Tuesday December 19th 2021
Ivory Blue, from Kansas City, Missouri, was announced as the winner of Cumulus Media’s inaugural neXt2rock 2017 competition — a national and local grassroots search for the nation’s newest rock star. The final competition event featured live performances from the top five national finalists, and a special performance by John Varvatos Records recording artist Badflower. The competition featured up-and-coming rock talent through this first-of-its-kind national radio grass roots talent search and artist development program for rock music, sponsored nationally by Tile, the world’s best-selling Bluetooth tracker.
(L-R) John Varvatos, Scott Borchetta, Ivory Blue, Keenan Franklin.
The competition featured up-and-coming rock talent through this first-of-its-kind national radio grass roots talent search and artist development program for rock music, sponsored nationally by Tile, the world’s best-selling Bluetooth tracker. “You exude artistry from the minute you step on the stage,” “you’ve got star quality and a lot of potential,” “there is something special about you, you’ve got great stage presence,” “you sing what you’ve lived and that’s real; that’s credibility,” “we’ve been waiting for the WOW, and you are the WOW” were a few of the comments by the neXt2rock 2017 expert judges to describe Ivory Black’s performance. Ivory Black humbly accepted their high-praise and went on to win the top honor and will receive national radio airplay on Cumulus Media radio stations, and a recording contract on John Varvatos Records label under the Big Machine Label Group umbrella.
"Last year, my manager Klaartje Van Lue said, "by the end of 2017, you will have a record deal." Those words still ring in my ears, but what I never expected was to be recognized by the biggest independent record label in the world and get the response I received by experts in the music business after my performance at The Viper Room. It’s hard to put into words and I’m still trying to take in all that’s happened in the past week. I’m so honored and can't wait to start working with John Varvatos, Scott Borchetta , Desmond Child, Chris Lord-Alge and many more. Cumulus’ neXt2rock has changed my life forever."
The winner of the neXt2rock 2017 was selected by a panel of Rock music luminaries and industry professionals, including, Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale; Sex Pistols' guitarist and host of “Jonesy’s Jukebox” Steve Jones; Big Machine Label Group President & CEO Scott Borchetta; fashion designer and record label head John Varvatos; musician, songwriter and producer Desmond Child; and engineer/mixer Chris Lord-Alge. This illustrious panel will also provide mentorship to the winning band as they embark on their journey from discovery to national exposure.
"Radio leads the way when it comes to music discovery," said Mike McVay. EVP, Programming and Content, Cumulus Media. "neXt2rock 2017 genuinely discovers new artists, enables all of the contestants to be heard and allows the winners to take advantage of an amazing opportunity to have their music backed by a major label as well as played nationally on the radio. We’re very excited to see what the future holds for Ivory Black.”
"John and I came together with an A&R mission to find a unique artist with a vision, and last night we found that in Ivory Black," said Borchetta. "There are artists like Ivory Black that never would have had an opportunity to showcase their talent, and the power of rock radio brought us five great acts, with Ivory Black prevailing."
The judges included Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale;
Sex Pistols guitarist and host of “Jonesy’s Jukebox” on Cumulus rock KLOS (95.5) Los Angeles, Steve Jones;
Big Machine Label Group president and CEO Scott Borchetta;
fashion designer and record label head John Varvatos;
musician, songwriter and producer Desmond Child;
and engineer/mixer Chris Lord-Alge.
The group will provide mentorship to Ivory Blue for one year.