December’s Breaking Artists: Kudos to these ReverbNation Opportunity Winners

Wondering who submits to all those opportunities you see in your email inbox every week? What happens after submissions close? Our monthly Breaking Artists newsletter, along with this nice, shiny blog post, breaks it down and shows some of the opportunity winners.

Take a look and a listen, show your support for your fellow musicians and send them kudos in the comments.

Breaking Artists are selected by Reverb staff from opportunity winners. Increase your chances of being one of them by submitting to opportunities here >>

Jammed Out at The Big Ticket Music Festival

Black Bottom Lighters aren’t your average reggae-rock band. The Phoenix, Arizona natives started making music back in 2010 and released their debut EP in 2012. Though the influence of stoner bands like Sublime and 311 resonates throughout their music, Black Bottom Lighters seamlessly integrate hip-hop and other rock genres in their sound. With their versatile style and beloved presence in their local scene, the band was ready for something even bigger – The Big Ticket Festival in Jacksonville, Florida.

“We heard about The Big Ticket through a ReverbNation opportunity, and after reading the lineup we knew we would be a perfect fit, so we went for it,” said Zelig Hess, manager of Black Bottom Lighters.

The festival took place on Sunday, December 8 and featured three stages packed full of acts like Jimmy Eat World, Stone Temple Pilots, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and A Day to Remember. Aside from performing for hundreds of fans, taking photos and signing autographs, Black Bottom Lighters were also able to see some of their own favorite bands at the festival.

“The festival was amazing, and one of the biggest bills we have ever been on. It felt surreal to be chosen for this show, especially since we were up against 1,200 other bands. We were super stoked, and felt somewhat accomplished, to be chosen over so many others. It just goes to show that hard work commitment and perseverance can pay off!”

Performed Post-Panel at Knitting Factory Brooklyn

Brooklyn-based band Sweet Soubrette is the brainchild of singer-songwriter and frontwoman Ellia Bisker. Their dark edgy music features songwriting, vocals and ukelele from Bisker, backed by bass, drums, piano, strings and horn. Since their debut release in 2008, the indie band has played shows mostly in the New York City and surrounding areas. While preparing for the release of Sweet Soubrette‘s latest album, Burning City, Bisker came across the opportunity to perform at the Knitting Factory and ReverbNation Music Industry Secrets Panel on Licensing and Publishing.


“I’ve attended other editions of the Knitting Factory’s industry panel series in the past, and I’ve found them informative and galvanizing,” said Bisker. “I was pleased to have the opportunity to perform in this one, especially as I’m interested in pursuing synch licenses for Sweet Soubrette‘s third album, ‘Burning City,’ set to release in January.”

The panel, a crash course in music licensing, focused on ways for artists to get music into TV and film, position themselves top-of-mind with music supervisors and learn the basics of publishing rules. Musicians heard from industry experts representing La Ti Done Music, BMI, Deep Freeze and ReverbNation, followed by the show. Bisker said opportunities like this offer a chance to play at shows and for audiences she normally would not play otherwise.

“I’ve been selected for a couple other ReverbNation opportunities in the past and it’s encouraging to be recognized when there are so many musicians trying to stand out in the crowd.  I anticipate continuing to submit to opportunities in the future.”

Took the stage at the Decked Out All-Female Showcase

Abbi Walker, Carmen and Camille, and Jordyn Mallory brought the girl power to the Decked Out selection showcase in Nashville, Tennessee. The performers were chosen as finalists for the showcase, which took place on November 15. At the event, a team of industry judges selected one leading lady to open for Martina McBride in 2014.

Though none of the three were chosen as the final winner, the showcase offered a chance to show off their chops, get heard by some of the best country music industry professionals in Nashville and get experience writing and performing their own original music. Hear about each artists’ experience below.

“The performance was a BLAST! I was able to work with some great Nashville musicians for the show, and built some great new relationships for writing, production, and promotion. The opportunity to get to play in Nashville, the mecca for country music, was huge, much less to get to compete to try to open for Martina McBride’s 2014 tour!

This wasn’t the first time I have submitted for a ReverbNation opportunity. In fact, I have submitted many times before this and was beginning to get frustrated. I’m so glad I didn’t stop! When I got the email notifying me that I was a winner I screamed out loud, because it felt like a breakthrough in terms of getting myself out there.

ReverbNation does a great job of spurring their artists on in every way. I really see that these opportunities are about finding the right match for each artist. It’s important for artists to continue to work hard while they are submitting. We can’t just sit back and hope that the right opportunity will come along and make our  careers, or that it will be as easy as clicking ‘submit.’

I write, sing, and perform music because that is what I love. I know that no one will hand me my dream, my career, and I am willing to work harder than anyone to make it happen. But it is incredibly helpful and encouraging to those of us trying to make it to have the support and infrastructure offered by companies like ReverbNation. Thank you for caring about independent artists just as much as the big guys.” – Abbi Walker


“Firstly, we were definitely surprised that we got chosen for this! We really didn’t think we’d get chosen because we are not really a country act, but we thought it would be good experience if we did. It was one of those ‘it’s worth a shot’ moments. Our management talked to the promoters and they insisted that even though we were pop, we were a top choice for their event. The enthusiasm from the promoters and opportunity to represent ReverbNation in this competition made us feel really honored.

It was our first time in Nashville and everyone involved with the showcase was really friendly. We were performing against some really talented people and it was nice to be noticed. The highlight of this event was definitely getting the chance to go to Nashville and meet such great people. We definitely created new fans because of our performances there and we felt we really played at our best. We are grateful to ReverbNation for being such a great conduit between artists like us and the industry.

We will definitely be entering for more opportunities because this one left us with such a great feeling. In fact, through this opportunity we ended up having some great writing sessions while we were in Nashville and it’s opened even more doors.” – Carmen and Camille

Jumped Ahead of the Competition at America’s Got Talent Auditions

Christina Custode is a multi-talented musician and award-winning vocalist, currently working with legendary producer Stuart Epps on her second album. Custode’s music is current, honest, and soaked with the musical integrity the artist upholds in all of her musical endeavors. The singer-songwriter was chosen to receive a special front-of-the-line pass at America’s Got Talent Season Nine auditions.

“Being chosen for this opportunity felt absolutely amazing! I feel so honored that out of everyone who submitted, I was chosen as one of the five to represent New York State. It’s actually a bit surreal to me, especially when I think about the numbers and statistics, that I was given this opportunity.”

Custode said that the audition was great, and that the judging panel was extremely nice and made everyone feel comfortable during their audition. She hopes submitting to opportunities will continue to help her make professional contacts and gain more exposure.

“I have learned so much from different submissions and have been given an amazing opportunity that I never would have had without ReverbNation. As an independent artist, it’s tough finding appropriate and legitimate opportunities to submit your music to. ReverbNation makes a tough business a little bit easier. I’ve learned a lot and have grown as an artist thanks to contacts I’ve made through the site and I am honored to receive this enormous opportunity!”

Chosen for Song Placement in Popular iPhone App, KiloRun

17-year-old Brazilian rapper Vitor Vieira is making huge strides in the international rap scene. After performing with numerous well-known Brazilian rappers and releasing his first album, “Só o Começo,” Vitor Vieira took the stage at A3C Hip Hop Festival in Atlanta earlier in 2013. In addition to winning awards for best album and best live performance from Akademia Music Awards, Vieira was a finalist in the Unsigned Only 2013 Music Competition. His latest opportunity to add to his list, is being chosen to have a song placed in the revolutionary new iPhone running app, KiloRun.

“It’s great to be chosen and to know that my music will be heard by millions of people. These opportunities are very important for independent artists, and can help us pursue our dreams,” said Vieira.

More Winners: Rock’A’Dees, Urban Rebel, The Honorifics, Retro Lake, LADYBOI

Rock'A'Dees ReverbNation

Rock’A’Dees played SCoRCHeR FeST
“It was great being selected to play this event. We were able to network with a bunch of other bands who played and have made some industry friends and connections as a result.”

Urban Rebel ReverbNation

Urban Rebel opened the Saigon Kick reunion tour

The Honorifics ReverbNation

The Honorifics had their music added to the Evver Music Library

Retro Lake ReverbNation

Retro Lake was chosen as the Psychedelic Freak Out Artist of the Week through the Captain SIB Show Podcast


LadyBoy ReverbNation

LadyBoi was chosen to receive a full recording package from Fort Knox Studios
“I’ve been submitting to opportunities for over a year without much acknowledgement except for the courtesy letter of refusal. But I kept going, and then it finally happened. It felt good to have this victory. It felt like I broke through something inside and this was a great external breakthrough.”

Don’t want to miss out on the next opportunity?

There are four ways you can use to stay up-to-date on the latest gigs (we recommend using all of them to ensure nothing gets missed!):

  • Follow our updates on Twitter (@Gigs and @ReverbNation) and Facebook
  • Check the email updates we send you
  • Check the latest Opportunities on this page
  • Go to your Control Room on your Reverb page > click “Opportunities”

So, where’s your next gig?


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KevinDecember’s Breaking Artists: Kudos to these ReverbNation Opportunity Winners

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