At least we had one top winner — SD resident Javier Ortiz Lopez won the singer/songwriter contest. He plans to spend his $3000 first-place prize winnings to obtain American citizenship.
  • At least we had one top winner — SD resident Javier Ortiz Lopez won the singer/songwriter contest. He plans to spend his $3000 first-place prize winnings to obtain American citizenship.
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There’s good news and not-so-good news for local musicians regarding talent shows.

Local alt-rockers Creature Canyon say they will use the $2000 second-place prize they won in the San Diego County Fair’s June 16 battle-of-the bands contest to help with expenses for their second album or help cover expenses for an upcoming tour.

First-place winner Manuel the Band walked with a tidy $5000, while third-place winner Big Bad Rooster scored $1000. But Manuel the Band and Big Bad Rooster are from Long Beach.

“In a way, that kind of messes us up,” says Christopher Cash, who owns and operates local recording studio Sonic Rocket. Part of the first-place prize package was a weekend recording session at Sonic Rocket. “We were hoping to work with a local band that didn’t have to drive two hours to get here.”

Cash says he has heard nothing from Manuel the Band about when or if they would like to use the studio time they won.

“I guarantee you can’t just drive down here from Fresno with your pig and enter the livestock contest,” says one miffed musician who didn’t want to be identified. “I thought the county fair served the county. Why should it be different with bands?”

Fair spokeswoman Shawn Feisst says talent contests were not restricted to locals.

Video:

"Run Away," by Javier Ortiz Lopez

The winner of the fair’s singer/songwriter contest held two days later says he plans to spend his $3000 first-place prize winnings to obtain American citizenship.

“My wife is an American citizen but I am not,” says 28-year-old Javier Ortiz Lopez, who plays keyboards and sings his own songs. He says $3000 is just about what it costs to initiate the naturalization process.

“There’s just nothing for singer-songwriters in Tijuana,” says Ortiz Lopez, a middle-school teacher. He’s been focusing on music for five years. “It’s difficult to connect with audiences in Tijuana. Generally in Latin America people want you to sing pop or in a pop style like reggaeton or bachiata. They expect Latin rhythms.”

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