Aug 13, 2015 View All News

NJPAC and WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM Announce Launch of 4th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition

Starting April 17th, female vocalists can submit applications online at

(April 13, 2015-Newark, New Jersey) For the 4th year in a row, singers from around the world will gather online to compete for the coveted Sassy Award, tops honors in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, a twenty-first century version of the amateur night at the Apollo Theater that helped launch the career of an aspiring teenager from Newark, Sarah “Sassy” Vaughan, more than seventy years ago.

The Sarah Vaughan Competition is the only international jazz vocal competition of its kind and provides a platform for one outstanding jazz singer to launch a career within the music business.  The first three years of the competition saw nearly 1,500 total song submissions, which music fans from around the globe shared, listened, voted, commented on, and liked nearly one million times online.  Furthermore, the competition received over 2 million hits during last year’s competition, making it the world’s most visible jazz vocal competition. 

Starting April 17th, female vocalists can submit applications online at  Five finalists will be chosen to perform in NJPAC’s Victoria Theater on November 15th before a panel of judges that includes American jazz bassist and 4-time Grammy-award winner, Christian McBride along with additional celebrity judges, to be named at a later date.

The competition is open to solo female vocalists of all nationalities who are not signed to a major record label. Singers must submit audio clips online through an interactive platform powered by Indaba Music, by September 1st.  The public can vote online to help select the finalists who will be announced on October 8th.  Singers will be judged on vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation and ability to swing; winners will receive cash prizes of up to $5,000.

This year’s winners will join a legacy of talented, breakout female artists.  Previous winners include Ashleigh Smith from Lewisville, Texas who won the 3rd Annual Sarah Vaughan Competition.  Smith, who creator and producer of the Sarah Vaughan Vocal competition, Larry Rosen, has called ‘a huge talent with a dynamite voice,’ was actually the first runner-up in the first Sarah Vaughan Competition in 2012.

Additional winners include Jazzmeia Horn (2013) and Cyrille Aimee (2012), the first-ever winner of the competition, whose major label debut in August 2014 was called "a bravura turn, presented with a smile,” by The New York Times.

Sarah Vaughan, the competition’s namesake, was born in Newark in 1924 and known as “Sassy” throughout her life for her vibrant personality. After winning the top prize of $10 at the Apollo Theater’s amateur night at age eighteen in 1942, she went on to become one of the most popular singers in jazz, and recorded with Count Basie, Miles Davis and countless others.

Musicians remember Vaughan as “The Divine One” for her exceptional musical gifts, and in 1989 she was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, the nation’s top honor for a jazz musician.

Vaughan was a graduate of Newark Arts High School. NJPAC and the TD James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival contribute to Arts High in Vaughan’s name to support the development of an enhanced jazz vocal training program.


New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey -- where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day.  As New Jersey’s Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city.  Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts.  NJPAC has attracted over seven million visitors (more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.  Visit or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.


WBGO Jazz 88.3FM/

Founded in 1979, WBGO (Newark Public Radio, Inc.) is a publicly supported cultural institution that champions jazz at WBGO 88.3 FM in Newark, New Jersey and worldwide via WBGO is the recognized world leader in jazz radio and one of the most respected jazz presenters in the country, and offers award-winning news and innovative children’s programs. Beyond reaching 350,000 weekly listeners (including 17,000 contributing members) on air, online and via mobile devices, WBGO presents live broadcasts from prestigious jazz venues and produces acclaimed programs for NPR heard by millions.


TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®

TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing nearly 8 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,300 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Portland, Maine. To learn more, visit Find TD Bank on Facebook and on Twitter


TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol "TD." To learn more,


Indaba Media

Indaba Media, LLC is an entertainment technology and marketing services company. Established in 2005, the company operates Indaba Music (, a musician community and contest platform with over 750,000 independent artists, as well as Indaba Sync (, a portal for licensing the best emerging content from the Indaba Music community. Indaba Music pioneered the online music collaboration and community space when it launched in 2007, enabling anyone with internet access to create, edit and mix studio-quality music online. Indaba Music now provides musicians with opportunities ranging from remix contests to sync and licensing opportunities to branded marketing programs. Indaba Music currently boasts musicians from 205 countries and territories. To date, Indaba Music contests have featured artists and brands including Daft Punk, Red Bull, Snoop Dogg, Peter Gabriel, Linkin Park, Yo-Yo Ma, Paul Simon, Foster The People, Bacardi and Usher.


Jazz Education Network

The Jazz Education Network is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance, and developing new audiences. With a home base in the United States, and members in more than 22 countries, this thriving organization hosts a popular annual conference that serves teachers, students, artists, performing arts presenters, music industry partners, and more. It runs ongoing programs of scholarships for students and educators, student composition showcases, community outreach, virtual workshops, music and instrument donations to schools in need, and mentoring with jazz pros and students.