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Art Institute of Pittsburgh student high up in song contest

| Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

A student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh could be on the verge of winning an international online music competition, and hopes for votes from Pittsburghers to help him do it.

Billy Pennington, 21, an Uptown singer and songwriter, currently holds the sixth place in Artist Signal's monthly online video contest with his song “I Don't Want to Go.” He had more than 14,000 votes as of Oct. 24. Artist Signal is an online community for more than 1,500 unsigned, new and emerging artists. At the end of each month, the singer with the most votes wins $10,000 to put toward his music career.

“It's for up-and-coming artists who aren't known yet,” says the native of New Wilmington, Lawrence County. “It's just a way for them to connect with fans and help market themselves.”

In his Artist Signal profile, Pennington also uploaded two self-penned songs: “Blankstares” and “We've Had Some Good Times.” His sings while playing an acoustic guitar.

If Pennington wins the $10,000, he plans to record an album, likely at Mr. Small's Recording Studios in the North Side. He also would schedule more shows. Currently, Pennington performs at open-mic nights around the city and plays on the street.

Pennington says he is surprised and thrilled to have made it to No. 6 so far.

“I didn't expect to get that high,” he says. “There are a lot of people who deserve it, so it feels good for sure.”

To vote, visit artistsignal.com. You must have a Facebook account to vote.

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kgormly@tribweb.com or 412-320-7824.

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