Ten Utah musicians came to Refinement Records’ All-star Open Mic Fight on Friday, Sept. 20, but only one left as the winner.
Utah musician John Allred, who performs under the name “Allred,” left with $250 and two new connections in the music business. While he was excited to win, Allred said he wasn’t there for the cash.
“Honestly no amount of money is ever going to make me happy,” Allred said. “It’s what you do that matters.”
Refinement Records’ “all-star” mic nights are unique because participants must be past winners of a regular open mic night. The record company enjoys hosting the events, hoping they provide a chance for Utah musicians to show off their talent.
“We very much believe in the law of abundance. The music community in Utah can grow as we come together and support what we’ve got here,” said Adam Reader, president of Refinement Records. “Utah has just as much talent as the rest of the U.S.”
Two Nashville music publishers, Bobby Rymer and Chris Oglesby, agree with Reader and were inspired to come take a look at Utah’s musical offerings.
“You think you know where the music communities are, but when I came out here a few years ago I was just stunned at the amount of raw talent,” Rymer said.
Rymer hopes to discover new talent and is prepared to spend a lot more time in Utah looking for it.
“This is not a one and done,” Rymer said. “This is step one. I’m just a huge fan of turning over rocks and seeing what’s there.”
Shana Warner, 27, of Kissimmee, Fla., went to the open mic night to enjoy the music but was impressed by Rymer and Oglesby as guest judges.
“Things like this get people interested,” Warner said. “They get the artists out there.”
Both Rymer and Oglesby each have over 20 years of experience in the music business and have helped develop the careers of several artists. Rymer has worked with Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson and George Strait. Oglesby has worked with Jason Derulo, Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum, among others.
Allred has been making music since 2005, touring both the East and West coasts. During that time, he’s shared the stage with several big-name artists including Blink-182, Dashboard Confessional and Ben Folds. He will visit BYU Friday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. at The Wall in the Wilkinson Student Center.