WHRO Public Media’s Emerging Leaders Board loves bringing new and exciting events that connect the Hampton Roads community to public media content. As a self-proclaimed group of public media nerds, they are announcing their second annual event launching June 1, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. at COVA Brewery.

Presenting the 2023 musicians!

pyho23 Ben Brown

Ben Brown

"I love artists that speak from the deepest parts of their heart like Tyler Childers, Sleep Token, Zach Bryan, and Noah Kahan. Songwriting has been a great way to show parts of yourself people may never see.”

pyho23 DaraLynn HarleySmall1

Cara-Lyn and Harley

"We grew up on country and have since delved into all genres including jazz, classic rock, soul, oldies, and pop. When we write it usually has something to do with an experience we have had and how it made us feel. Through our written songs you can tell we grew up on old country but recently our style is beginning to spread out to other genres. We love songs we can relate, connect, and jam out to and hope to provide the same for our listeners."

pyho23 Chelsea Hanson1

Chelsea Hanson

"I write folk/pop music, but also love every genre, and have collaborated with hip hop, rock, country, and electronic artists also! I write music because it's a tool to heal, both myself and others around me. I love how every single person can feel music in their hearts, and how one song can be relatable to one person's life, but also shift to another's perspective too, depending what they're going through. I write music that's emotional but also empowering, and a general theme that can be seen in my songs is how powerful we all are, and how life is beautiful even if it can be hard at times. As a kid and thanks to my parents, I grew up listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac and classic rock, but even from a young age on my own I dove into all genres- I loved soul, blues, hip-hop, folk, country, reggaeton/latin, and even classical music (huge Claude Debussy/romantic era-esque style music). I like to joke I'm a walking jukebox!"

pyho23 James Manno1

James Manno

"I listened to a lot of comedy albums growing up. Adam Sandler, tenacious D ( I even was in a tenacious d tribute band called hellacious Z), Cheech and Chong, corky and the juice pigs. Even listening to Irish Drinking Songs at Mo and O’Malleys on Thursday nights to catch Don Bunch. I’ve always used comedy as a way to process my emotions and filter my music. I’m now listening to artists like Hank Williams and his son, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Wilco, and Jason Isbel to inspire my solo album. I will also tell you that as a child I wanted to play guitar like Slash, dance like MJ, and sing like Boys2Men. I’m all over the place. But one thing that has remained constant is I love to play songs that inspire people to participate."

pyho23 Roberta Lea

Roberta Lea

"As a songwriter, most of my inspiration comes from a very particular moment. The moment may not seem special to the average eye, but for me, it becomes a seed that I plant in my subconscious that later turns into a song. I good example would be "He Can't Dance," an endearing song about my husband joining me for a dance in the middle of our living room, know that he can be a little rhythmically challenged sometimes, lol. It just really meant a lot to me that he tried and to me, that was worth writing about. It's definitely a fan favorite! As a 90's kid, I'm influenced by sentimental lyricism and now that I'm diving into country music, I get to have fun fusing the genres together."

pyho23 Serious Black1

Wine Dark Sea**

"One thing we share in common is that, as kids, we listened to the Beatles a lot and still love their ability to carve improbable melodies out of thin air and twine them with energetically sublime harmonies. But we were both, early on, drawn to folk music as well, whether traditional or in the spirit of Bob Dylan, Fairport Convention, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, and Nash and others. We write our own music from a similar organic aesthetic, created to be played on acoustic instruments, whether guitar, mandolin, piano, or concertina, in ways that accentuate our very different voices. We hope for our songs to inhabit and fill the deep currents of lived moments that we all share--contemporary life in its raw, sad, happy, unadorned, joyfully tragic, complexity. We always want the totality of what we do to be embodied in live performance, with just the two of us--our instruments and our voices--supplying the sound and emotion we hope to convey to our audiences. Our songs attempt to speak to the times, touch upon current events, heartbreak, love, longing, laughter etc., but seek commonality through an approachable poetics, allowing audiences to emotionally engage and feel all the feels. I was a top-five finalist in the WHRO Lyrical Singer Songwriter competition back in 2019 and have been featured on Barry Grahams' Acoustic Highway program. Lizzie and I have appeared as Serious Black on WTKR Coast Live and on WHRV's Hunter at Sunrise."

Come join us for a night of fun and music as emerging artists from right here in Hampton Roads Play Their Heart Out. The event, MC’d by WHRO’s Barry Graham and members of the Emerging Leaders Board, will feature original songs and interviews with the musicians so we can all get an inside look at their inspiration and creative process. 

*Emerging artists are not established as well-known local musicians and need to, or are just starting to, develop an audience and local awareness of their music. 

**Formerly Serious Black


Author: Zoë Hardy-Rappmund is an Emerging Leaders Board Member. Learn more about the Emerging Leaders Board.