Rhyme Report Project: Aloft Star winners REYNA with Karli Henriquez, the host of Aloft's original content series, EMERGING (PRNewsfoto/Marriott International, Inc.)

Published on November 3rd, 2018 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


Aloft Hotels And Universal Music Group Announce Winner Of ‘Project: Aloft Star’ Americas, REYNA

Project: Aloft Star winners REYNA with Karli Henriquez, the host of Aloft's original content series, EMERGING (PRNewsfoto/Marriott International, Inc.)

Project: Aloft Star winners REYNA with Karli Henriquez, the host of Aloft’s original content series, EMERGING (PRNewsfoto/Marriott International, Inc.)

Mentored by Platinum-Selling Band X Ambassadors, REYNA Crowned Grand Prize Winner at Finale of the Artist Discovery Competition & Will Record Single at Capitol Studios

REYNA has been crowned the winner of the Americas chapter of the global Project: Aloft Star artist discovery competition. Aloft Hotels, in partnership with Universal Music Group & Brands (UMGB), the brand strategy division of Universal Music Group (UMG), launched the global competition in search of emerging talent looking for their big break. After receiving more than 2,000 entries – a record for the initiative –  REYNA was among the three finalists that had the opportunity to be mentored by UMG’s platinum-selling band X Ambassadors and perform in front of a panel of industry judges at the Project: Aloft Star finale at Aloft Austin Downtown. A combination of online votes from fans and the judge’s scores on the night resulted in REYNA being crowned this year’s Project: Aloft Star.

Milwaukee-by-way-of-Texas sister-duo REYNA comprised of Vic Banuelos and Gaby Banuelos first appeared with their shimmering 80s inspired pop debut single ‘Spill Your Colors’, attracting over 20Kstreams in its first day. Since then REYNA has released a series of singles which have so far garnered over 3 million combined streams on Spotify to date. It wasn’t long before they were opening for the likes of CHVRCHES, Death Cab for Cutie, KESHA, Coast Modern and The Naked and Famous. Featured on Billboard’s 12 LGBTQ Artist to Discover During LGBTQ Pride Month and Beats 1/Apple Music Chart Show sparkling declaration that REYNA has arrived.

By winning the grand prize, REYNA will have the opportunity to record a single at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood, receive mentoring from UMG’s executives to help select a song to record as well as highly coveted 500,000 Loyalty points redeemable for stays at more than 6,700 hotels across 29 brands that participate in Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.

“We are beyond thrilled to have been part of this experience, it’s such an honor to be named as this year’s Project: Aloft Star winner,” said REYNA. “Emerging artists rarely have the opportunity to have a real shot in the industry so we’re so grateful for Aloft, UMG and X Ambassadors’ support. Next we’re going to record a single at Capitol Studios and play around the world thanks to the Marriott Loyalty points.”

REYNA’s journey to the top began in June when unsigned artists were invited to join the competition by uploading two original songs along with a photo to the dedicated Project: Aloft Star website. All entries were submitted to a panel of judges from UMG and Aloft Hotels who then narrowed down the record-breaking number of submissions to the three finalists who performed at the finale event in Austin. Music lovers were then encouraged to view and vote on their favorite artist during a near three-week period leading up to the finale.

The guest judges included executives:

  • LJ Gutierrez, GM, Universal Music Group and Brands
  • Bridget Higgins, Senior Global Brand Director, Aloft Hotels
  • Fabrice Sergent, Managing Partner, Bandsintown

Aloft Hotels is for music lovers and music makers, we are proud to have supported emerging artists since the inception of the brand,” said Toni Stoeckl, Global Brand Leader, Aloft Hotels, and Vice President, Distinctive Select Brands for Marriott International. “After a record number of entries this year REYNA is a deserving winner and we can’t wait to see them take the next steps in their career with support from Aloft and UMG.”

“The raw talent that we have seen come out of Project: Aloft Star has been outstanding and all the finalists should be very proud,” said Mike Tunnicliffe, EVP, Head of UMGB USA. “However, REYNA’s performance really blew the judges away and we’re so excited to be bringing them on board to record a single at Capitol Studios with us. Project: Aloft Star has been a fantastic extension of our partnership with Marriott International, not only for discovering amazing new talent like REYNA, but for the platform it has given our existing emerging talent through the Project: Aloft Star Tour.”

Aloft Hotels has been an incubator for emerging musical talent for a decade. Aloft Hotels are in thriving music destinations, welcoming touring musicians with special discounted artist rates, the opportunity to use the W XYZ® bar as a performance space for free, and a musicians’ guide featuring everything from where to dine late-night after a gig, the best nearby affordable recording studio, where to purchase guitar strings, and more to hit the right note for each stay.

Project: Aloft Star Tour
The finale event marked the culmination of a five-city tour of some of the great music cities, which aimed to inspire emerging talent to enter this year’s competition. The free performances at the brand’s signature W XYZ® bars featured UMG’s hottest breakthrough artists, kicking off with Years & Years in Philadelphia on June 23, and continuing in four other locations, including Tank & the Bangas in New Orleans on August 9Bea Miller in Asheville on August 21Stanaj and Fátima Pinto in San Jose, Costa Rica on September 14 and BANNΞRS in Denver on October 17. The tour stops and the finale event featured special perks for members of Marriott International’s award-winning loyalty programs Marriott Rewards, SPG and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards – including an opportunity to meet and interview X Ambassadors at the finale event for one lucky member who redeemed the experience on SPG Moments using their starpoints.

UMG and Marriott International Partnership
Since UMG and Marriott International first started working together in 2015, the global partnership has grown to encompass Marriott’s expanded portfolio and has come to life through concerts showcasing UMG’s premiere talent at Marriott properties across the globe, most recently at an emerging female-led artist showcase at Aloft Austin Downtown during the 2018 South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals.

For further details about Aloft Hotels, please visit www.alofthotels.com.

For contest Rules, visit ProjectAloftStar.dja.com.

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