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Judge for stephen vickers

Montgomery, AL
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Portrait of stephen vickers
In a modern rock landscape dominated by half-hearted crooners clinging to what remains of the grunge movement, Stephen Vickers' self-assured baritone and honest lyrics serve as a welcome relief. While he counts late 90s alternative acts such as Matchbox Twenty and Third Eye Blind among his wide range of influences, Vickers points to his childhood as his earliest introduction to music.

"Like pretty much every Southerner, I grew up singing in church," Vickers said. "Towards the end of high school I started taking the guitar more seriously. I would try to learn things like Dave Matthews songs and then just started writing my own stuff."

After graduating high school, Vickers picked up and moved to Los Angeles at the urging of his good friend and fellow musician Ken Merrione. Unlike so many others who migrate West with dreams of stardom only to watch them fade beyond the horizon with the setting California sun, Vickers' rock-ballad "Give You My Life" (recorded with Merrione) caught the ears of L.A. radio station Star 98.7 and earned him and his band a spot among the top five finalists for its "Rockstar 987" contest.

"That was a pretty cool experience being in L.A. and hearing my song on the radio," Vickers said. "We got to perform at the Key Club on the Sunset Strip with all these other amazing bands."

After the untimely passing of his friend and mentor Merrione (and much soul searching), Vickers moved to Nashville to return to his Southern roots and reinvigorate his songwriting. These days, Vickers is busy working on new material that he hopes to release later this year.

"Describing the new songs to people I tell them to imagine if Rob Thomas wrote an album for Chris Daughtry and it was produced by Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic," he said.

No doubt, Vickers will have a whole new group of fans eagerly awaiting his latest offerings.