Fort Mill Times

TALENT SEARCH: Auditions begin

A group called Serenity performs at a past C.A.T.S. event held by The Inspiration Networks. Local singers are invited to try out for this year's show. Songs must have a Christian theme.
A group called Serenity performs at a past C.A.T.S. event held by The Inspiration Networks. Local singers are invited to try out for this year's show. Songs must have a Christian theme.

Do you have what it takes to be the next Christian recording star?

If the answer's "yes," then The Inspiration Networks wants to hear you loud and clear.

The Inspiration Networks is searching for performers for the seventh season of the Christian Artist Talent Search. The "American Idol"-style event brings 32 finalists together to compete on the INSP show for a chance at a national recording contract with Charlotte-based Dave Moody Productions and Lamon Records.

Groups and solo artists aged 15 and older are eligible. To qualify, contestants must submit a CD or audiocassette with two Christian songs, two copies of a recent photo and two copies of a biography. All sub-genres of Christian music are welcome, from rap and hip hop and gospel to rock. Entries must be submitted by Monday, April 21.

Executives from INSP and Lamon Records will review the CDs and select 32 finalists who will be invited to travel to the INSP studio in Charlotte this summer and spend several days taping the seventh season of C.A.T.S. scheduled to air in January.

Music industry professionals and celebrity judges from the Christian entertainment community will judge the performances and select a winner from the 32 finalists.

Past judges have included Christian recording artists Russ Lee, Janet Paschal and Tammy Trent.

There's no Simon Cowell figure on C.A.T.S. Although contestants will be given suggestions and advice, it will be positive and encouraging, according to Kristina Hill, INSP media relations manager. The show is about lifting people up and helping them improve their music, Hill said.

"For a lot of people, music is their ministry. This is uplifting to build people up," Hill said. "Even if you are not a winner, you get a lot of positive feedback and positive reinforcement."

INSP recently moved to Indian Land, onto a 93-acre campus called The City of Light.

Employees began moving into the WorldReach Center, the company's new headquarters, last month.

Right now, INSP is spread out over more than 10 offices in the Charlotte area. Over the next 10 years, they will move all of those offices, including their studios, to The City of Light.

Hill said the C.A.T.S. will likely film in late June or early July, and local residents will have a chance at being in the audience.

Each show is filmed in front of a live audience, she said, but the winner is kept secret until the show airs.

Visit www.insp.com for more details and to download the contest entry form.

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