Midtown Raleigh News

Raleigh teen wins Deep South singing competition

Kaylin Roberson has a résumé that includes singing with tours for anti-bullying organizations, dancing and playing piano. Soon, the 17-year-old from Raleigh will release an original song that could be heard around the world.

Roberson is the youngest winner ever of Deep South Entertainment’s open mic competition, which has been held annually in Raleigh for the last five years.

As part of her win this year, Deep South, a Raleigh-based company, will connect Roberson with professional songwriters and producers to record and release a single next spring.

She hasn’t started working on her single, but she knows she wants listeners to connect with it. Most of her songwriting focuses on relationships.

“It’s really cool that I write things and people can relate to them,” she said.

Roberson won the competition because of her talent, said Deep South owner Dave Rose, but also because she was unlike any artist he’d seen before.

“It’s difficult to describe greatness in music,” Rose said.

Deep South Entertainment owns Deep South the Bar in downtown Raleigh. It’s a live music venue, but the company also includes a record label, artist management services, event planning and staffing and audio services.

“Open mic came from very genuinely wanting a welcoming place for singers and songwriters to play,” Rose said. “It made sense we offered something more than just a stage and microphone.”

The open mic competition offers most of Deep South’s services to the winner. In addition to a professional recording experience, the company will launch a regional publicity campaign for Roberson’s single. The song will be available worldwide through services like iTunes and Spotify.

Roberson found the competition by accident. When she started homeschooling last year, her mother, Valerie, wanted her to find an internship. They came across Deep South’s internship program, but it’s for college students.

Instead, they were invited to the open mic event. They attended for the first time last December.

“And then we just kept going and going,” Valerie Roberson said.

Members of the Deep South staff judge performers and consider the audience members’ votes when picking a winner, Rose said.

Roberson is not new to the performing world. She’s been singing since she was young and recently ventured into songwriting.

She’s recorded some of her own songs, but never with the help of professionals. She’s even made her own music videos. And she continues to dance at Cary Dance Productions.

“I started to realize that the people that make it write their own songs,” Roberson said.

Mechelle Hankerson: 919-829-4802, @mechelleh