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Finding Charlottesville: Singer/Songwriter Night at The Haven



By Madeline Curott for Charlottesville Newsplex

The date has been set for area songwriters to showcase themselves and of course collaborate during this year’s Tom Tom Founder’s Festival (TTFF).

The 2nd Annual Singer/Songwriter Night will take place April 15 at The Haven.

“My dad’s in a Hip Hop group so I listen to a lot of Hip Hop. My mom listened to a lot of 80s rock and 80s metal. I just have inspirations that come from all over. One of my biggest idols would be Janis Joplin,” said Harli Saxon, the winner of the inaugural Singer/Songwriter Night during the 2014 TTFF.

At just 14 years old, Saxon entered her first musiccompetition, and won!

“I’m not really used to competing with different people,” said Saxon. “It’s usually just me, so it was a really nice experience.”

Saxon sang two songs she wrote during the competition.

“I think I was so happy that I was crying at one point. Like I was so, completely overwhelmed and it was great. I described it as euphoria almost because it was, just that thrill of winning a competition. And there were so many performers there who were way ahead of me. They had been doing this for years longer than I have and I just felt so inspired,” Saxon said.

She attributes a lot of her success to the Music Resource Center where she has been attending since 11.

Now, 15 years old, Saxon said the after school program has brought structure to her craft.

She also added that MRC has helped raise her abilities to new levels and given her many opportunities to expand.

“I’ve definitely gained a lot more exposure and I’m walking down the street and people that I don’t even know are coming up to me and complimenting me on my music,” she said.

One of Saxon’s mentors at MRC, local singer/songwriter Terri Allard, recalls the response during last year’s Singer/Songwriter Competition, “It was just so wonderful and supportive and the look on Harli’s face when she won, absolutely priceless,” said Allard, who is also the Community Engagement Coordinator at MRC.

She said the competition is an incredible experience.

“Even if you’re just hanging out and absorbing everything around you and it’s a very nurturing community. Everybody is very kind and supportive, so I think it’s an incredible opportunity for young artists to be a part of,” Allard said.

When asked what Saxon would tell local musicians on the fence about applying for the competition, her response was direct, “Do it! It was a great experience!”

The deadline to apply is March 15.

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The Tom Tom Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, EIN: 46-2048771