In conjunction with GigAmerica, Sony Urban Music has announced the first handful of dates in a Showcase Series that will span 25 US markets over the next eight months. The initial event takes place in Greenville, South Carolina on May 15th, followed by Columbus, OH (May 22), Louisville, KY (May 23rd), Memphis, TN (May 29th) and Los Angeles, CA on June 25th. The nationwide search is to discover America’s hottest undiscovered rap, hip-hop and R&B talent. Rappers, singers and producers are all sought after.

The showcases are being co-produced by local hip-hop promoters in each city. Participants will be selected through a music submission process administered by Sony Urban and GigAmerica. Select cities are holding preliminary auditions. Aspiring artists are encouraged to visit GigAmerica for submission guidelines and other details. The submission period varies according to the Showcase schedule. Showcase dates and locations are also available at GigAmerica. The Showcase Series will run through January 2005, culminating with an event in New York City.

“The response we’ve had so far has been outstanding, both in quantity and quality,” said Sony Urban A&R executive Joe Cerini. “I’m looking forward to getting out to the markets and meeting the artists.” We’re very excited to be working with GigAmerica and it’s promotional partners to find America’s hottest new hip-hop and R&B talent.” Sony Urban Senior VP of A&R Dino DelVaille added “This Showcase Series is about taking a good look at underground artists from all over the US, especially those without high-powered managers and attorneys to shop their music. Sony Urban always has an ear to the streets and these showcases will take us directly into the markets where the stars of tomorrow live.”

Approximately 30 acts per night will be heard by Sony A&R reps, who will fly from New York City to attend each of the showcases. Announced cities that will host Sony Urban/GigAmerica showcases include Boston, Greenville, Virginia Beach, Detroit, Birmingham, Louisville, Jackson, Louisville, Atlanta, New Orleans, Orlando, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Memphis, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbus, New York City, Denver, Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles. More cities may be announced later.