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Breezy Point musician named best in Queens

By Merle Exit

After the roar of rap, rock, blues and jazz quieted down, Annika Scilipote remained and was dubbed the best in Queens at the annual Battle of the Boroughs earlier this month.

Scilipote, 16, a high school student from Breezy Point, will now represent all of Queens in the competition’s finals in June.

“I am beyond thrilled to have won!” Scilipote said. “I was up against some amazing musicians, all of whom could have easily won.”

About a dozen acts covering nearly every genre of music performed in the Queens bracket of the fifth annual contest, which promotes up-and-coming musical acts in New York City.

At the March 7 show, held at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in SoHo, each of the acts was given five minutes to wow the three judges. But just like that other talent search show, people could vote for their favorite performer during an online balloting process.

The 12 acts were whittled down to the top five vote getters, and Scilipote earned the No. 1 spot.

“I think the support from my friends, fans, and family is really what helped me to win. My mom was unbelievable in getting people to vote for me,” Scilipote said. “Also, I had a lot of support at school and just in my local community in general. I also have a lot of fans over in Italy who voted for me and spread the word.”

The international contingent of voters was a result of one well-known fan in Italy.

“There is a popular Italian singer named Manu, who found my Youtube channel and has been supporting me,” Scilipote. “We did a duet together. It’s his arrangement of my original song. I just sent him a vocal track and he did the rest. Neither one of us did any traveling and my fans there have been so supportive, I’m sure they would vote again for the finale.”

But Scilipote (www.annikamusic.com) also has plenty of fans on this side of the Atlantic.

Since 2009, she and her sister along with two other friends, have performed as the indie-rock group Still Saffire. The quartet has played at Lincoln Center, The Knitting Factory and the Great South Bay Music Festival, just to name a few.

Scilipote’s music incorporates the sound of the classic female singer/songwriters, such as Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon, with a twinge of indie rock spark.

An avid song writer, Scilipote has penned dozens of songs and is currently part of the Real Women Real Songs project, where 22 female songwriters have committed to compose a song a week, which they post to the Internet, for an entire year.

The runners-up from Queens include Astoria’s Tati Ana (www.ilovetatiana.com), who describes her music as “electronic, rock and indie.” She performed “Four Walls” with her bass player and drummer.

Nick Moran (heynickmoran.bandpage.com) also of Astoria, plays a mix of what he calls “funky, bluesy, old soul rock ’n’ roll.” His band rocked the crowd with the original song “Out of My Control.”

Elmhurst-based rock band Born of Scars (bornofscars.com) also placed in the top five.

“It was a great feeling going to the Greene Space and singing,” Victoria, the band’s singularly named lead singer, said. “The judges were pleased to hear that rock ’n’ roll music is still alive.”

Rounding out the Queens finalist was South Richmond Hill resident Jessica Rowboat (www.jessicarowboat.bandcamp.com).

She sang her composition “Mirrors.”

“It’s just great that all of these musicians are so wonderful to listen to,” Rowboat said.

Queens musicians made up the first round of the competition, which continues monthly with showdowns of bands from the other four boroughs.

The winners from each of those contests will face Scilipote for the crown June 27.

“I’m so honored to be repping Queens in the final battle,” Scilipote said. “I can’t wait!”

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