Help local musician Roxi Copland win $10,000! The Milwaukee-based singer-songwriter is currently ranked No. 3 in ArtistSignal’s February competition. Her soul-infused jazz/pop sound has garnered over 16,000 votes so far.
For those of you who don’t know, ArtistSignal is a pretty cool social media platform that allows users to sign in with their Facebook accounts, search and discover new artists from around the world and cast votes for their favorite. The month's winner gets a check for $10,000 - and Copland is closing in on the competition.
A native of Aberdeen, Wash., Copland grew up in the same town as legendary Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. "His family lived just a few blocks away from us," she recalls. "While I was certainly aware of the grunge scene, I was more interested in other genres of music during that time."
Music was a lifelong passion for Copland, who began studying classical piano at the age of four and often accompanied her trumpet-playing father to jazz festivals as a child. Though her family was supportive of her love for music, she was always leery of making it her occupation.
"I’d been warned in no uncertain terms by a dozen members of my family and well-meaning friends that you simply can’t make a living in music, it would be foolish to try and it’s a crazy lifestyle to boot," she says.
So she attended Grinnell College in Iowa, double-majoring in music and international law. During a stint in London interning in Parliament, she missed playing the music so badly that she would sneak into churches to play their pianos.
"After graduation, I was all packed up, ready to drive home to Washington State and take the LSAT," she says. "I was out at a winery listening to some friends perform, and they invited me up on stage to sit in and sing with them. As I was singing, I looked over and saw a guy holding his cell phone up to the speaker. The same guy walked up to me after I finished and offered me a job as a back-up vocalist for a top-40 cover band."
She took the job and never looked back.
"I traveled the Midwest playing wedding and casino gigs," she said. "It was a hell of an educational experience, but I can’t say I loved it. I really just wanted to do my own music. So after a couple years of the cover band thing, I struck out on my own."
Now Copland has released two full-length CD’s, two EP’s and two singles and is gaining ground and recognition. At the end of March she begins a five-week tour to promote her album "Pretty Lies." She’s also writing new material for her next album, which is why she wants the ArtistSignal win so badly.
"I hope to begin recording this fall. Winning the ArtistSignal contest would give me the means to produce this record the way I want," she says. "The prize for winning the Artist Signal contest is $10,000, which is about 75 percent of the budget I’ve put together for the album. It would be a dream come true to head into the studio as soon as I’m done writing for the project, rather than having to put that off for a year or so while I put together the funds. I’d love to be able to get this music out into the world as soon as possible."
Copland will be performing at the Jazz Estate, 2423 N. Murray Ave., on March 25 and April 8 at 9:30 p.m.
Colleen Jurkiewicz is a Milwaukee native with a degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and she loves having a job where she learns something new about the Cream City every day. Her previous incarnations have included stints as a waitress, a barista, a writing tutor, a medical transcriptionist, a freelance journalist, and now this lovely gig at the best online magazine in Milwaukee.