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Country's top upcoming artists battle at Ignite Urban National Finals

ATLANTA — They are the future of the music business. And on Tuesday night, they'll battle it out at the Ignite Urban National Finals at Center Stage.

Ignite Music is a digital platform that aims to fill a gap in the music industry.

"That's the lack of development that's being done with promising artists that want to be in the business," Ignite Music's Rob Berryman told's Nelson Hicks.

The platform helps artists develop skills, enhance their value and gain performing opportunities. Part of that development comes in the form of a competition. Over 1,000 artists entered the Ignite Urban competition. Organizers selected the top 100 artists from the group to advance.

At that point, four skill-based challenges began. The challenges included creating an original song using a blend of integral elements from the roots of '70s R&B and soul music, creating a 30-second jingle for Red Stripe, creating a hometown anthem and doing an acoustic Facebook Live video.

The challenges reduced the field down to the 10 finalists. Those 10 created an original song and working with the Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts students, they created an original music video.

Tuesday night, the finalists will gather in Atlanta for the final competition, a live show where they'll perform their original song from the video along with a second original song in front of several judges from the music industry and a live audience. The winner will receive a single recording deal, including international distribution and a possible publishing contract.

The finals have an interesting twist, too. The Ascension Pops Orchestra, made up of professional musician mentors and students who play beside one another, will provide the music for the performances. The Pops Orchestra was created out of the need to get music back into the Atlanta community. The community musicians are made up of middle school, high school and college students, mentored by professional musicians.

"Every one of those artists songs, which there are 18 of them, have been scored to full orchestration, which has never been done before in 30 days," Berryman said. "And this orchestra is going to play those songs with those artists."

"We have some of the biggest artists on the planet in urban music that live in Atlanta," Berryman said. "Our job is to pull these people together, to give back to the community, to help that community, to give them performance opportunities, to put music back into the schools, which has been taken away for a long time now, and that's really important."

Tickets to the finals are $15.