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  • Take Aim: Amy Sciarretto vs. Josh Doyle

    Fri, 02 Mar 2012 16:28:06

    Take Aim: Amy Sciarretto vs. Josh Doyle - He won Guitar Center's first-ever singer-songwriter competition

    Guitar Center's first ever Singer-Songwriter competition has chosen a winner. Josh Doyle, from Antioch, Tennessee, was handpicked by Grammy Award Winning producer John Shanks as the nation's top undiscovered singer-songwriter. 10 Finalists were chosen from more than 17,000 entries, and in a live competition in Hollywood on Feb. 18, Doyle came out on top. The singer-songwriter takes home a prize package including $10,000 cash, a three song EP produced by Shanks, new gear from Fender, Taylor, Ernie Ball and Shure and much more.

    We decided to engage Doyle in a Take Aim, since he just won a huge contest. We figured he'd be up for our round of Qs after the stress and pressure of being embroiled in a major contest.

    If you did not win this competition, you would be doing ______?

    I would probably be doing the same thing as I am now. People didn't expect me to come back to my day job (I work in a restaurant). Even though I was scheduled to work two days after the competition, people were betting that, win or lose, I wouldn't come back. But I'm back at work. Instead of celebrating, I plan to put the prize back into things that will help further my career. I would like to build a fan base large enough to make a music career sustainable. Until that day comes, I will continue busing tables.

    Winning this competition is a big deal -- how do you feel now that it's over?

    The moment my performance was over I felt relieved, regardless of the outcome. It had been nerve-racking up to that point. All ten of us finalists were nervous and, right before we were scheduled to perform, Guitar Center took us out for a nice dinner but everyone so nervous that they boxed the food up as soon as it hit the table. So yeah, for a couple days I was just relieved. I was also a little paranoid that they would change their mind and give the prize to someone else, especially when the news got out that I had won, and all my friends, family and fans were congratulating me. I did have an "aha!" moment on the plane when it sank in that I had won and I smiled for a second to myself.

    Why do you think you won the competition?

    Well, I think I got into the top ten based on the caliber of my entry song, and I am very proud of the song I submitted, "I Figured the World Out." Actually winning the thing, that's tough to say because all of the top ten were so strong. John Shanks was extremely thorough in picking the 10 finalists, even listening to songs that weren't our submitted videos in order to get a bigger picture of us as artists. So you ended up with talented people like Maria Zouroudis and Jocelyn Scofield who brought a lot of vocal technique and power pitted against artists like Rocky Gunderson and Sarah Bella who are doing something more low key and artsy. What I do is maybe a combination of the two. I know that John said the way I engaged with the audience was a definite point in my favor and perhaps that's something that gave me an edge. Playing as many live shows as I do, I've learned how to warm up to a crowd. That's something that no number of YouTube views can teach.

    What was your approach to the competition -- did you adopt a strategy or just do your thing?

    I listened to a lot of advice from people who liked my music. They told me to place emphasis on my singing over my guitar playing, to keep an eye on my dynamics, and to make sure I brought it down again at the end of the song. I gave it my all during the final performance; after all, I had nothing to lose. I was one of the few artists who talked to the audience before the performance, which helped calm my nerves.

    What's next for Josh Doyle?

    The first item on my agenda is to finish 10 songs which John Shanks will then listen to and chose his favorite 3 that we will then record for the EP. I'm in the studio with him for about a week. Then I will decide how-to best invest the prize money. In my situation its all about using it as seed money for things that will advance my music and, in turn, allow me to provide for my family with my music career. I am hoping that the recordings with John will open up some doors but everything is up in the air. I guess I'll keep doing what I've been doing all along and that's improving my craft as a writer and hopefully making more and more lifelong fans, one by one.

    Any non-musical skills or hobbies?

    I would like to play more soccer. In Nashville I was playing in a Latino soccer league - I was the only white guy - that was fun. Hobby wise I love watching movies and have about 220 in my Netflix queue.

    Congrats to Josh Doyle.

    Are you pulling for Josh Doyle? We love how down to earth he is.

    —Amy Sciarretto

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