17 Chicagoland Artists and Bands Selected for the ChicagoMade 2018 A&R Auditions on Saturday, October 27, at the Chicago Cultural Center

October 16, 2018

At the epic showcase of up-and-coming local talent, the artists will each perform live for A&R executives from major and independent record labels to earn possible performance and recording opportunities

Christine Carrino    christine.carrino@cityofchicago.org, 312.744.0573


The City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is pleased to announce the 17 local artists and bands selected to participate at the 2018 ChicagoMade A&R Auditions. The epic live showcase of up-and-coming local talent will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) on Saturday, October 27, 12:30–4:30pm in the Claudia Cassidy Theater. A limited number of artists were selected from more than 170 applications submitted to DCASE in September. The showcase is FREE and open to the public.

The selected artists will perform live in front of A&R (Artist & Repertoire) executives from major and independent record labels to be considered for the following possible opportunities:

  • A creative meeting with Kosine at Chicago Recording Company immediately following the event,
  • A talent consultation with Radio's Disney Network's Phil Guerini, with possible performance opportunity on a Radio Disney-hosted show and/or an on-air interview and "First Listen" of your song on Radio Disney,
  • A meeting in Nashville, TN, with a Big Machine Label Group A&R staff member,
  • A chance to play their music for the A&R staff of EMPIRE Distribution and Records at a private offsite listening session immediately following the event, and 
  • Performance opportunities at the 39th Annual Taste of Chicago in Grant Park in July, 2019,


2018 Participating A&R Executives

  • Kosine, nine-time Grammy® Award-nominated producer and songwriter, Beats 1 Radio personality and motivational speaker. He is behind some of the biggest hits for Nikki Minaj, Rihanna, Big Sean, Justing Bieber, Nas and many more.
  • Laurel Kittleson, A&R Director, Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) where she oversees the recording process and scouts for potential artists. Her roster of artists includes Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts
  • Phil Guerini, Vice President, Music Strategy Disney Channel World Wide & GM, Radio Disney Network. He oversees the music strategy of the DCWW networks including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior and all aspects of Radio Disney programming.
  • Tina Davis, Vice President, A&R, EMPIRE Distribution and Records and the Creator and Executive Producer of BET music competition show, The Next Big Thing.


2018 Artists/Bands and Genre


Bella Button Band

Kaiisha Brown

RJ Collins

Superstar Patience

Rachel Sarah Thomas






John the Author

Mother Nature

Solow Redline



Blah Blah Blah






Soul/Folk Pop






Hip Hop

Hip Hop

Hip Hop                                           

R&B/Hip Hop




The event will be hosted by Chicago hip hop artist and producer Matt Muse. He took part in the A&R Audition in 2017 and was an opportunity recipient earning a spot on the Goose Island stage at the 2018 Taste of Chicago. As a Chicago artist on the rise, he released his hit album Nappy Talk in July.

In conjunction with Chicago's Year of Creative Youth, designated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, this year's ChicagoMade A&R Auditions will feature four artists and bands between the ages of 14 and 17. This year’s application reduced the minimum age requirement to age 14, allowing younger artists to participate as well as adults. They are the Bella Button Band, Superstar Patience, Kaeyra and Coda.

Bands and solo performers of all music genres were welcome to apply. Absolutely no walk-in auditions will be allowed on October 27. DCASE does not guarantee any audition outcomes. If interested, music label representatives will contact participants directly. For complete details and updates visit cityofchicago.org/dcase and follow the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events or Creative Chicago–Music on Facebook and on Twitter @CreativChiMusic or @ChicagoDCASE.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase.


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