Walter Riggi

Walter Riggi

The stage is set for an earth-shattering showdown as Raise Your Voice, Windsor’s premier vocal competition, gears up for its highly-anticipated Season 7 finale on Monday, May 13, at Below The Tracks. Creator, judge, and mentor Walter Riggi pulled back the curtain, revealing insights that will leave music aficionados buzzing with excitement.

“The energy in the room has been incredibly electric every single night this season,” Riggi proclaimed, his voice brimming with palpable excitement. “At the end of every performance, there was yelling, screaming, and cheering erupting from the judges’ table.”


If that’s any indication, the finale promises to be a sonic supernova, leaving audiences spellbound and craving more.

Riggi reminisced about the humble beginnings that sparked this vocal phenomenon. “The original intent was to have people win some time in the recording studio. The initial expectation was to get three or four singers if we were lucky, and some support from their families.”

Little did he know, that modest vision would ignite a firestorm, resonating deeply with the local community and providing a platform for hidden talents to shine.

“Instead, our first season went way past expectations, and that inspired us to keep it going,” Riggi revealed. “I believe it resonated with the community because it was an outlet for people that could otherwise not be given a chance to perform on stage. Most of the people that come out to sing have never had an audience, so it’s nice to see that it’s been well-received.”

The competition has proven to be a breeding ground for breakout stars, with past winners and finalists going on to achieve remarkable success. “The most exciting thing is to see a Raise Your Voice finalist or competitor go on to perform in the community at different venues,” Riggi beamed. “It’s nice for them to be recognized as part of Raise Your Voice and given an opportunity they probably would not have had. Some competitors have even gone on to perform in theater productions in big cities like Toronto. It’s very gratifying.”

What sets Raise Your Voice apart from other singing competitions? Riggi pointed to the show’s unique elements, such as themed nights where competitors dress up and perform songs from specific genres or eras. “I find the most unique element of our show is that there is family and friends coming out that haven’t seen each other for a very long time, all connecting over a singer they’re close to. That uniqueness itself is so gratifying.”

Riggi emphasized the importance of selecting judges with active involvement in the musical community and a wealth of experience and accomplishments. “One of the qualifications we search for in judges is how active they are in the musical community. It’s important for a judge to speak from experience, the more the better, and any accomplishments they may have garnered.”

The judging process itself is focused on finding the best in each performance and providing constructive guidance. “The mandate for the judging process is to find the best things that resonate during a competitor’s performance and comment on them,” Riggi explained. “There have been many times when a performer does well, and they may have flubbed a technique. Then a judge will comment on it and try to guide them so it won’t happen the next competitive night.”

As the top two finalists, Haley Doucet and Eva Konstantakos, prepare to battle it out, Riggi couldn’t contain his excitement. “What’s really impressed myself and everyone else involved is how the top two shine in different genres – Haley is more country, while Eva leans more towards rock and roll. I’m excited to see who will win. They’re both so excellent.”

The contrast between Doucet’s country stylings and Konstantakos’ rock prowess sets the stage for an electrifying showdown. Riggi teased, “The finale of Season 7 on May 13th, 2024, will hold a special surprise or two. I can’t give you more details than that because it won’t be a surprise, but it’s definitely something that’s been planned all season, and it will be an opportunity for the competitors to really put on a good show. Something we have never done before, so we are excited as well.”

With two immensely talented finalists from different musical worlds vying for the crown, the Season 7 finale is shaping up to be an unforgettable night of must-see performances and surprises.

Looking to the future, Riggi expressed a desire to expand Raise Your Voice beyond Windsor’s borders. “We would love to see this competition expand past the Windsor borders. As a matter of fact, Rob Palumbo and I talked about this a few seasons ago. We even visited different cities to see if we can make a go of it. We didn’t meet much resistance, but the venues that we chose were occupied on a Monday night, which is when we have our festivities. Once again, never say never.”

For the Season 7 winner, a world of opportunities awaits, including four songs written for their voice and genre, a music video, and a social media presence. “The premise of the show is to create a launch for the winner and anyone else that has performed for Raise Your Voice in the past,” Riggi affirmed.

As the finale approaches, Riggi had a message for fans and supporters: “Every single night that we have had this season, the energy in the room has been incredibly electric. At the end of every performance, there was yelling, screaming, and cheering from the judges’ table – that is incredible energy to sit between. I firmly believe that the finale is going to be incredible based on this energy alone. I can’t wait for it to happen on May 13th, 2024, and I wish all the supporters of Raise Your Voice come out and have an incredible Monday night with us. It’s going to be one to remember.”

To aspiring singers dreaming of competing on a show like Raise Your Voice, Riggi’s advice was simple: “Just come and audition for Season 8, which will begin in February 2025. It doesn’t matter if they are good, great, or rough around the edges. We accept them all and are happy to give them an opportunity. Bring your best at the audition, and let’s see how it goes.”

With its unique format, unwavering commitment to discovering talent, and a legacy of launching careers, Raise Your Voice continues to captivate audiences and provide a platform for aspiring artists to shine. Windsor is most certainly in for a night of unforgettable performances and surprises that will leave a lasting impression on the local music scene.



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