Project: Aloft Star Part 1 – Winning Press Release

Aloft Long Island City, NY

Project: Aloft Star Press Release from Aloft Hotels and Ballantines PR
Commentary by Tristan Olav Torgersen
Originally Posted on IndieEntertainmentMagazine.com

On November 7, 2017, Project: Aloft Star came to a climactic finish at the Aloft Long Island City Manhattan View.

We decided to do a 4-part series on the finale of Project: Aloft Star, and this press release marks just the first in the series! I was able to be at the event, interview the finalists and judges, and enjoy the amazing performance of the finalists and Gavin DeGraw.

Aloft has won our hearts with their dedication to Indie music, up and coming artists, and the communities that surround them. We hope that through this series on Project: Aloft Star we can bring the same excitement and awe to our readers and those wishing to learn more about all that Aloft brings to the world of Indie music and musicians.

Without further adieu, enjoy the press release below, and follow to the end for links to related articles and the rest of the series!

From Ballantines PR and Aloft:

Mentored by Grammy-nominated, multiplatinum-selling artist Gavin DeGraw, indie-folk-rock duo The Bergamot will be able to kick-start their career by appearing as part of the Live at Aloft Hotels 2018 Tour.

Bethesda, MD – November 8, 2017 – Brooklyn-based indie-folk-rock duo The Bergamot has been announced as the winner of this year’s Project: Aloft Star competition, the global initiative from Aloft Hotels that identifies the hottest emerging music talent from around the globe, offering them a chance to kick-start their careers and take center stage at the world’s fastest-growing hotel brand.

Husband and wife Jillian Speece and Nathaniel Hoff, who make up The Bergamot, learned of their success at a nail-biting finale performance last night at Aloft Long Island City, one of the brand’s newest properties in New York City.

The Bergamot and runner-up pop/soul artist Gigi Rich were both given the opportunity to perform for the crowd following a special mentoring session led by Project: Aloft Star’s 2017 celebrity mentor, multi-platinum recording artist Gavin DeGraw.

Gigi Rich at the Aloft Long Island City, NY
Does this soulful red-haired singer look familiar? You may have seen her on The Voice…but you’ll have to read her interview to find out more.

The two finalists were chosen after a process that began in August that invited any unsigned artist to share up to two original songs, a brief description, and an artist photo on the Live at Aloft Hotels web page.

Out of over 1200 submissions, entries were narrowed down to five semi-finalists that the public were then invited to view and vote on during a ten-day period to choose the two that would perform at the finale.

The two finalists performed for a series of guest judges, which included the following music industry executives:

Mitch Mills, Vice President, Adult Formats Atlantic/Roadrunner Records

Danny Buch, Senior Vice President of Promotion at RED

Michael Solomon, co-founder of Brick Wall Management and co-founder of Musicians On Call

Darrell Brown, world-renowned songwriter, arranger, manager and record producer

“We had a record number of entries for Project: Aloft Star this year, showing us that eight years on from its inception, this initiative is still something that really resonates with the indie music community as a platform to kick-start their career,” said Bridget Higgins, Global Senior Brand Director, Aloft Hotels. “Supporting up-and-coming music talent is a cornerstone of the Aloft brand, and we’re thrilled to host this event as the culmination of our Live at Aloft Hotels tour, which brings intimate, live music performances to guests and music-loving locals around the globe.”

Gavin DeGraw at the Aloft Hotel in Long Island City, NY.
If your mentor doesn’t look at you the way Gavin DeGraw does right here, you need a new mentor.

“The Bergamot are authentic touring artists. They should be extremely proud of winning this year’s Project: Aloft Star,” said mentor and singer/songwriter, Gavin DeGraw.

“It’s great see artists who’ve honed their craft through live performance succeed. Really enjoyed my time with them today. Thanks to Aloft Hotels for making it happen.”

The Bergamot (11/7/2017)
This is couple goals. And musical duo goals. And apparently Project: Aloft Star goals, because they left with a win.

“With so many strong entries, it’s such an honor to be named this year’s Project: Aloft Star winner,” said Jillian Speece and Nathaniel Hoff of The Bergamot.”It’s always been our dream to make it in the music industry and we’re so grateful to Aloft Hotels for giving us the opportunity to take a step towards achieving that goal. This competition means that becoming a big music star is within reach to anyone, and we’d strongly encourage other musicians like ourselves to take the plunge and submit an entry – it could change your life.”

Beyond the honor of the 2017 title, The Bergamot’s prize includes a songwriting and recording session in a professional studio with renowned producer Darrell Brown, who has previously worked with names including LeAnn Rimes, Neil Young and Keith Urban.

The pair will also get a coaching session with a publicist to help craft their story, and finally the chance to perform onstage as part of the 2018 Live At Aloft Hotels Tour.


Live at Aloft Hotels is an international program that brings in local sounds to Aloft properties around the world by hosting free, intimate, live music performances at its W XYZ® bars.

Alongside several local emerging artists, this year’s lineup included notable performers like acoustic singer MAX, country star Drake White, and LA-based blues performer ZZ Ward.

For a complete list of all 2017 performances, please visit LiveAtAloftHotels.com and join the conversation by connecting with Aloft Hotels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag #AloftLive.

Gavin DeGraw at the Aloft Hotel Long Island City
By the end of the night, everyone was smiling like Gavin is here. Everyone.
About Aloft Hotels

With more than 125 hotels now open in nearly 20 countries and territories around the world, Aloft Hotels, part of Marriott International, Inc., delivers a fresh approach to the traditional staid hotel landscape.

For the ‘always on’ next generation of traveler, the Aloft brand offers a tech-forward, vibrant experience and a modern style that is different by design.

Take a look at our other pieces on the Project: Aloft Star Finale

Part 2 – Project: Aloft Star Winner: The Bergamots

Part 3 – Project: Aloft Star Runner Up: Gigi Rich

Part 4 – Project: Aloft Star Judges: Industry Q&A