Night two of Chico Unplugged brings down the house


Michaela Harris

Demondra Martin performs her song “Affirmations” with keyboardist Avi Correa.

Chico Unplugged returned for its second round at Madison Bear Garden on April 12 with a new set of performers. The singer-songwriter competition featured 17 artists, the majority of whom performed in rap and indie styles.

First place winner, Demondra Martin, performed her song “Affirmations,” the first song she has ever written. As a fusion between ballad and rap, her song tackles overcoming insecurities.

Partnered with friend and fellow Unplugged performer Avi Correa on keyboard, Martin delivered a soulful performance which received an outstanding round of applause. 

“It was so magical feeling the energy in the room,” Martin said. “This experience definitely affirmed me to keep going!” 

For placing first, Martin will receive a free two-hour recording session with Chico State’s Audio Engineering Society.

Second and third place winners August Knight and Cameron Sue received a recording session for one full song with the up-and-coming production studio, The Kitchen.

Second place winner Cameron Sue performs “Forgotten Face.”

While the first round of Unplugged unveiled three winners, the second round further surprised the audience by announcing an additional six runners-up. Judge Benny Pando believed that the talent Unplugged exuded should be acknowledged beyond the top three spots.

“These singers went even harder than last week,” Pando said. “There are people who performed tonight that deserve to be recognized.”

Runners-up Serena Faith, Tim Downing, Ronny Jean, AJ, Juan Narcos and Ella Andrew were awarded with recording sessions for the length of one song with The Kitchen.

Third place winner August Night plays electric guitar.

Chico Unplugged is facilitated by Chico State’s School of the Arts Productions (SOTA), a student-run record label and music-focused PR group. SOTA’s goal with Unplugged is to feature talent from local artists as well as platform SOTA sponsored musicians.

The show featured three SOTA musicians, two of whom placed among the runners-up. Indie singer Ronny Jean and rappers AJ and DBRO$ performed in Unplugged to showcase their work.

“These artists are hungry and they have been striving to make more music for you guys and the Chico music scene,” SOTA student Karla Alverez said. 

As a fundraising event, round two of Unplugged successfully raised over $300 for the Boys and Girls Club. Between both rounds, SOTA raised over $500 to fund community based activities for the non-profit’s members. 

As an incentive to donate, audience members could participate in a raffle to win an Epiphone acoustic guitar provided by The Music Connection. All proceeds from the fundraiser will directly benefit the Chico chapters of the Boys and Girls Club.

Michaela Harris can be reached at [email protected] and @MichaelaRH21 on Twitter.