The key to a good cover song is making it your own. It also helps if you can play the guitar.
East Carolina University junior Jared Ackerman did both in winning the 2015 Clayton Idol competition with his cover of Passenger’s “Let Her Go.”
Held on Town Square, the local iteration of the TV singing competition kicked of Clayton’s 2015 Harvest and Music Festival. Dozens of families spread out on blankets and in bleachers to hear nearly two hours of the area’s best young talent.
For the win, Ackerman recieved $350, a recording session and release party, radio play and interviews, and a photo shoot. Of his song choice, Ackerman said he hoped to play something the audience would recognize, or at least enjoy.
“I put it on the line, and I guess it worked out,” he said.
On Twitter, Ackerman said he would share the studio time with his band August is Ours, of which he’s the lead singer.
Last week’s competition produced three other winners, with each receiving $150 and limited versions of Ackerman’s prizes. Mimi Mollins won Junior Idol, Kaylin Roberson won Teen Idol, and Melode Stanton took the Young Adult competition.
“I can’t play the guitar and didn’t think karaoke showed off all of the talent I have,” Roberson said of playing the keyboard and singing. “Plus, I love Kenny Chesney.”
Stanton performed perhaps the least contemporary number, with “Summertime” from “Porgy and Bess.”
“I like classier songs and that’s why I chose ‘Summertime,’ ” she said.
Last year’s overall winner, Eric Gotelli, returned to perform Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down” while the judges tabulated their scores from the competition.
“I think you got better,” emcee Marty Young of 94.7 told Gotelli.