Contest discovers area’s top talent

Tiffany Jane, Erick Macek Band open for Joan Jett

By Kirsten Adams


Musicpalooza, San Diego County Fair’s musical talent contest, concluded July 3 with singer Tiffany Jane winning the solo division and the Erick Macek Band winning the bands division.

Beyond the $25,000 prize money, studio time and exposure to industry professionals, the winners had the opportunity to open for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at the Heineken Grandstand stage.

“It was a glorious, glorious opportunity,” Jane said.

Hailing from Coronado, Jane began her musical odyssey at the age of four and holds a degree in Vocal Performance from The Musicians Institute in Los Angeles.

Facing heavy fair traffic on the afternoon of the final, Jane was forced to leave her car and walk in order to perform on time.

“I literally ran onto the stage,” Jane said, laughing. “It was a really crazy start. And now I have this huge cardboard check in the back of my car that I don’t know what to do with.”

Performing a combination of musical theatre classics, blues and cabaret, Jane said she particularly likes the rockabilly sounds of the 1950s.

“If I could sing anything and everything from the fifties, that would be wonderful,” Jane said. “I love Amy Winehouse, minus the drugs and craziness.”

Erick Macek, who took first place for bands, began his career in Pennsylvania and began performing in Southern California in 2005.

After receiving an e-mail invitation to compete in the 2009 Musicpalooza, Macek said he and his band decided to give it a shot.

“Once we hit the top 12, we just kept performing and performing and performing,” Macek said. “I’m still trying to think of what just happened today.”

Both a singer and songwriter, Macek performs original material that he describes as a combination of pop and blues.

“It’s important to hit a lot of different genres, to get that radio play,” Macek said.

San Diego natives Allegra Barley and Geanie Jenkins placed second and third place respectively in the soloist division and San Diego band Endoxi took home the second place prize and the People’s Choice award for the most online votes.

After accepting the hefty prize checks in a ceremony Friday afternoon, the winners are both making plans to further their musical careers.

Jane plans on recording a demo CD and performing an hour long set at Anthology, a dining and live music venue in San Diego.

The next big step for Macek will be a concert tour to Europe and then more performances throughout Southern California.

“We’re kinda on the cusp of something,” Macek said. “We just don’t know what.”