News October 27, 2015

Brisbane artist wins global Unsigned Only Competition

Former Editor
Brisbane artist wins global Unsigned Only Competition

Australia’s Jared Porter and New Zealand’s Kaylee Bell have made history as the first act outside of North America to take out the Unsigned Only Music Competition.

The US-based competition, which seeks to uncover the next emerging artist not signed to a major label, announced its 2015 winners today.

Porter and Bell, country music solo artists in their own right, won the overall Grand Prize for their duet Pieces. The pair takes home US$10,000 in cash, US$20,000 in merchandise and services and mentoring sessions by top tier record company professionals. Mentors include A&R executives from Atlantic, Warner Bros., Capitol, Roc Nation, Sony Music, American Recordings, RCA, Sugar Hill/Vanguard, and Big Machine.

The country duo were chosen by a team of judges including The Cure's Robert Smith, Sinead O’Connor, The Killers, alt-j, Aimee Mann, and journalists from music publications including Rolling Stone, Billboard and NME.

Porter is one of 18 Australian acts to win either First, Second or an Honorable mention in the 12 categories of the competition. Scroll down for the full list of Australian winners.

Bell was awarded a NZ Gold Guitar at age 18 and in 2013 also won the Toyota Star Maker award. Last year she sang with Keith Urban on his Light The Fuse Tour of Australia.

Bell told TMN the prize money will go towards her new album: "[…] the money will go straight towards getting into the studio early next year with release mid-year.

"It will be awesome to have the ear of some industry big guns through this process," Bell added. "It's just great to have the foot in the door into the Nashville music industry to get our songs heard, set up some great writes and just start some future relationships."

Porter also took out Tamworth’s Toyota Star Maker award in 2014, and since performing at Nashville festival CMA World GlobaLive, was announced as a Golden Guitar finalist for New Talent of the Year 2015, and a finalist for CMC (Country Music Channel) New Oz Artist of the Year 2015.

Interestingly, the pair came together through Star Maker. Pieces was actually released on Jared’s Star Maker winning album East To West.

Porter told TMN that following his recent songwriting trip to Nashville he has half an album of songs "ready to go."  "I’m really excited about the mentoring and what can come of that […] There is a bit of interest out there so hopefully this all helps push that along quicker both here and my birth place."

Tom Inglis, who counts Bell and Porter of his HSF Artists Services & Management roster, told TMN the global appeal of local acts is growing.

"We now have a number of young artists coming through: Jared Porter, Kaylee Bell, Kaylens Rain, Melanie Dyer, Caitlyn Shadbolt and Victoria Avenue that all have global appeal and are influenced by Nashville’s contemporary country sounds, but there is much work needed here first before we think we can go be the next Keith Urban," he said. "There is a young audience out there in Australia only listening to the contemporary Nashville artists. It's definitely growing in Australia – and we have exciting things happening that we are announcing soon. There is definitely a change."

Founders Candace Avery and Jim Morgan said, “The Grand Prize winners, Jared Porter and Kaylee Bell, embody the future of music, and we hope that the recognition they receive through Unsigned Only gives them the inspiration and ammunition to keep growing as artists and succeed in attaining their goals.”


Organisers of Unsigned Only are behind the lauded International Songwriting Competition (ISC); previous winners of ISC include New Zealand’s Gin Wigmore and Kimbra and Australian acts Kate Miller-Heidke, Kasey Chambers, Gotye, The Living End, Missy Higgins, The Preatures, Guy Sebastian and Josh Pyke.

The Australian Unsigned Only winners are:

Grand Prize

Jared Porter and Kaylee Bell (Brisbane, Australia / South Canterbury, New Zealand) – “Pieces”


AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

Second Place

Allie & Ivy (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – “Cowboys And Indians”


Honorable Mention

Nova & The Experience (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – “Jennifer Lawrence”

Enola Fall (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) – “Lions”


AC (Adult Contemporary)

Honorable Mention

Danielle Deckard (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – “I Lied”

Liam Burrows (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – “Never Fallen In Love”

Liam Burrows (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – “You Shook Me”



Second Place

Day (Kirrawee, NSW, Australia) – “How Great Is The Love”


Honorable Mention

Alabaster Box (Gold Coast, QLD, Australia) – “Give Me The Rain”



Honorable Mention

The Blackbird Collective (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – “Maybe, Maybe”


Pop/Top 40

First Place

Rita Satch (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) – “Not Ready For Love”


Honorable Mention

Jeremy Drakeford (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) – “Anyone But You”



First Place

Lucy Lowe (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – “Red Car, Cold Heart””


Honorable Mention

Stone Parade (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – “Be Someone”

Wren (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – “Raw”



Honorable Mention

Brooke Allan (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) – “Act Like This”

Anna Mannering (Albury, NSW, Australia) – “Son Of Korah”


Vocal Performance

Second Place

Liam Burrows – Sydney, NSW, Australia – “You Shook Me”


Honorable Mention

Rita Satch (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) – “Not Ready For Love”

Lucy Lowe (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – “Red Car, Cold Heart”

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