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Gladstone grad gets soulful at Portland Soundcheck

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Gladstone High School graduate Sarah Billings is featured on Friday, Jan. 25, at the Aladdin Theater in Portland.Television shows like “Portlandia,” “Grimm” and “Leverage” have put Portland on the cultural map, but Raymond De Silva wants people to know there is a vibrant music scene in the Portland area, and he has organized just the concert to announce that fact.

“Portland Soundcheck creates an opportunity for music enthusiasts here in Portland to catch a fresh glimpse of this rich culture,” he said. “Through a selection of local music on the cusp, as well as artists from national successes such as ‘The Voice,’ ‘American Idol’ and ‘MTV Real World,’ Portland Soundcheck offers a taste of the diverse musicians currently playing their talents here in the Rose City.”

And one of the singers featured at the concert, taking place on Friday, Jan. 25, at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, is Gladstone High School graduate Sarah Billings.

‘Soulful’ vocal stylings

“Music has always been a big part of my life,” Billings said, adding that while she was at GHS she sang in the jazz choir and regular choir and played in the wind ensemble, jazz band and pep band.

“I’ve been told my voice is very soulful with rock grit. I just love to do it, and learned awhile back to never force a sound; so whatever people hear, it’s coming straight from the heart,” she said.

De Silva said he asked Billings to be part of Portland Soundcheck, “because of her heart to always give back to the community. I’ve been impressed throughout the years as she volunteered in music programs by teaching the youth about music. She demonstrated qualities of leadership and compassion. I’ve witnessed Sarah Billings grow as a talented artist and individual.”

Billings said she wanted to be on the bill at the Aladdin, because she admires the “eclectic mix of awesome talent in Portland.”

“When I was asked to take part in a show that would feature such an outstanding level of talent and experience, I was so on board. This is going to be a night to remember.”

De Silva said he has seen Billings perform in small cafés and festivals across the city, and noted that she “consistently has the ability to connect with the hearts of each audience in small and large venues. She quickly gains fans with her upbeat personality and soulful jazz vocals. You’ll walk away tapping your feet and feeling good after her performance.”

Although Billings does not have any performances scheduled in the immediate area, she does play every Wednesday night at Gemini in downtown Lake Oswego, and will perform at Maher’s Pub’s St. Patrick’s Day Fest in downtown Lake Oswego as well.

She will be releasing an album this year and noted that people can visit her website, sarahbillings.com, to check for updates about the release and upcoming performance dates.

An ‘array of genres

Featured Portland-based performers who have appeared on TV shows in the last couple of years include Haley Johnsen, from “American Idol,” who made it to season 11’s top 24; Beat Frequency, whose audition on “The Voice,” season three, landed the duo on Christina Aguilera’s team; and Patrick Hammond, whose music was featured on MTV’s “The Real World: San Diego.”

Another performer, Enric Sifa, was the winner of “Rwanda Idol.”

“He had a rough beginning,” De Silva said. “A survivor of the Rwanda genocide and an orphan at a young age, his story is one of perseverance and hope. Currently he attends college here in Portland, and continues to use his music to touch lives as an advocate for children’s rights.”

“Portland Soundcheck attendees will discover and encounter new music from artists that are local. We hope to bring continued excitement to Portland’s culture, and it’s a great way to support local musicians and appreciate the abundance of growing talent in our city,” DeSilva said.

He added, “With an array of genres represented, highlighting styles ranging from rock ‘n’ roll to hip-hop, acoustic-folk to indie, soul to jazz and more, Portland Soundcheck promises to be an eclectic, electric, live experience; an evening tour of Portland’s music scene, all at one venue.”

Portland Soundcheck

A showcase of local musicians who represent a wide variety of styles takes place Friday, Oct. 25; doors open at 7 p.m., and the concert begins at 8 p.m. at the Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., in Portland.

Tickets: $15 and are available on ticketfly.com.

Other performers at the concert include: Dearborn, Katie Carlene, Alessandra Rose, Xile, Brant Colella, Talilo and David Martin.

For more information, visit portlandsoundcheck.info.



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