Songbird 3 Winner: Kaleia Brown

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Tuesday night marked the finale of Josh Schonewolf's Songbird Season 3. The competition was fierce, the performers were on fire and in the end, only one walked away the winner. And that one was singer-songwriter Kaleia Brown. She was both excited and nervous during the competition but in the end, she came out victorious.

Josh Schonewolf, the producer of Songbird, met Kaleia at another of his events, Drink or Swim, last year. After a short conversation, Kaleia was on board and ready to compete.

"My first impression of song bird was pure excitement but I was also concerned about the level of respect, and how would everyone treat me, do to the fact I was transgender," Kaleia said, "but I must say everyone was exceptionally nice and loving…I was shocked!"

"The judges reaction to me was like an OMG! I think they were shocked at the fact that I performed the way I did that first night of the competition," said Kaleia, "I blew the roof off of Tabu with my rendition of Kelly Prices version of 'As We Lay' "

Kalei's biggest inspiration in music is Ms/ Patti Labelle. "The soul she brings in her music, moves me – people often tell me I have a lot of her in me." Her iPod has a lot of gospel, jazz, and RnB tunes in the play list. She also likes hip hop, and pop but gets her day started with the inspirational sounds of Ms. Patti Labelle's song 'We Need A little Faith' from her 'Be Yourself' CD.

She never stopped impressing the judges every week up to the very end. Schonewolf commented, "It was Kaleia's night. The other finalists Jeremy Adam, Tara Hendricks, Robert Alexander had amazing moments, but it felt like Kaleia's night truly. She connects with the audience, always preforms reliably amazing vocals, and leaves you wanting more."

And you will definitely hear more from this amazing performer. She was awarded $2000, and produce a single on iTunes as well as a headlining concert plus and the title of The Best Singer in Philly. She also has several other bookings in the works, so keep an eye out for her.

Kaleia sent some shouts outs: "To my team songbirds I love u all! And don't y'all ever stop chirping. ..#tweet tweet! To the judges – I love u all, and thank you for seeing my vision, and feeling my spirit! I love you!"

Season 4 of Songbird will be back in September. It'll feature 10 past contestants who didn't win, but we're stand-outs vs. 10 brand new contestants – a twist on doing an all-stars season.

[Photo credit: Jonathan Hernandez]

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