Best Newcomer: Sarah Grace
Houston’s blues fans might consider “Best Newcomer” a misnomer since the spitfire of Campfire Soul and Sarah Grace & The Soul has been wowing them for a while now. Though she’s still a student at Kinder HSPVA, the pint-sized, big-voiced blues belter is also a veteran of rooms like Green Oaks Tavern and McGonigel’s Mucky Duck. She and her bandmates (including sister Reagan) have twice represented Houston at the International Blues Challenge and have been previously recognized by the Houston Press.
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What qualifies this exciting artist as a newcomer is her rapidly-expanding fan base. Sarah Grace’s star turn on NBC’s The Voice is deserved and has moved her from hometown accolades in a niche genre to the verge of crossover mass appeal. Though they’re losing their best-kept secret, her local followers must be thrilled to share her with a world which now includes fans like Kelly Clarkson and Mariah Carey, who’ve both gushed over the Houstonian’s vocal prowess.
Readers' Choice: Oliver Penn