Michigan native and Indiana transplant Jay Filson was named “The SoBro Star” in Nashville’s first artist-in-residence competition Saturday, April 22. In coordination with Chicago-based Magellan Development Group, The SoBro Star was a musical showdown between three artists who were competing to serve as in-house talent in exchange for a yearlong, rent-free stay at the downtown high-rise. Nearly 100 residents and guests attended the event, which was the culmination of a month-long social media contest and finalist search. “We couldn’t be more thrilled that Jay is our first The SoBro Star,” said Cory Owak, property manager at The SoBro. “Having an in-house musician is an exclusive amenity for our residents, and Jay is the perfect fit.”
The competition was stiff as Katie Ray, Kelly and Parker Bradway of the trio MamaDear, and Jay Filson each took the stage to sing one cover and one original song. From Maren Morris to Eminem, guests were certainly entertained as finalists riffed and belted on the building’s 10th-floor amenity deck.
“We were extremely lucky to find three finalists who varied in musical style but still had so much talent,” said David Carlins, president of Magellan Development Group. “We wanted the winner of The SoBro Star to personify “Music City,” and Jay does absolutely that, no doubt.”
After working to hone his sound for years, Filson considers himself to be a mix between Ed Sheeran and Jon McLaughlin. Listeners receive a one-of-a-kind show as he loops beatboxing, vocals, piano and guitar live and on the spot. Filson released his debut EP last April.
“I’m still in shock that I won,” Filson said. “I’ve always been passionate about music but haven’t had the opportunity to pursue it like I want. This is my opportunity.”
An honorary finalist, Andrew Henderson, was also highlighted at the event. Although he was selected as the fourth competitor, Henderson is actively serving in the U.S. Air Force in North Carolina and was unable to travel to Nashville to join the fun. Teams at The SoBro and Magellan Development Group were amazed by his talent and are honoring him outside of the competition for his service.
In addition to outstanding musical talent, the emcee, local radio personality and “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise” contestant Wells Adams, provided the laughs. Judge Ashley Haugen, managing editor of StyleBlueprint, gave Adams a run for his comedic money while Morey Hill, co-host of “The Ben & Morey Show,” and Jodi Lynn Dawes, music industry publicist at Webster Public Relations, offered constructive commentary and occasional playful banter throughout the afternoon.
The SoBro Star is one of two artist-in-residence competitions hosted nationally by Magellan Development Group. Exhibit on Superior, a Magellan property in Chicago, also hosted an artist-in-residence competition, The Exhibit A-Lister, in April.