Online voting for Kathleen Elle is now open through Thursday, September 19 at 11 p.m.

BELMAR, NJ — Kathleen Elle was 13 years old when she got her start in music — bringing her guitar to the corner of Main Street and Fifth Avenue in Belmar where she played for the customers waiting in line at Strollos Italian Ice.

Since then, the 22-year-old singer-songwriter has become a familiar face on the local Jersey Shore scene — and now has an opportunity to take that notoriety to the national stage. She is a semifinalist in the Opening Act Competition of the We Can Survive Concert, to be held at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on October 19. Now in its seventh year, the sold-out concert supports young women diagnosed with breast cancer and will feature Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Camila Cabello, Jonas Brothers, Lizzo, Marshmello and Becky G.

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Elle, who lives in East Brunswick but calls Belmar home during the summer, learned about the competition through a fan on Instagram. “I checked it out, and the deadline had been extended to apply for another four days, so I entered and got busy promoting and getting votes to make it into the top 5,” she said, referring to the first round of the competition.

After clearing that and another elimination hurdle, she is now among 64 semifinalists who are being judged by listeners to decide who should be the opening act for the concert. With contestants divided into groups of four, she must place first in her group to advance to the finals.

Voting is now open through 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 19. Click here to get to Kathleen Elle’s page, where daily votes can be cast for free through Facebook or by donating to MusiCares, a charity that provides critical assistance for musicians in time of need.

In her competition profile, she is asked what she enjoys most about music, responding: “The connection I make with listeners through my music. Each person's human experience is unique, but we have similar experiences, stories and feelings. Being told how much my music means to someone is the best feeling in the world.”

And even in her relatively short career, Elle has already made a difference. She has been honored for her anti-bullying song, “Don’t Let them In,” which since its 2015 release has reached young people throughout the world, including playing a role in saving the life of a girl in the Philippines.

The recent graduate of Mason Gross School of the Arts has gained recognition in the past from Seventeen magazine, Hollister, Campus MovieFest and the National YoungArts Foundation for her songwriting skills, She has performed recently at the Disability Allies BBQ, as well as for Girl Scout troops and local schools spreading the message of inclusivity through her music.

To receive updates on Elle’s path to the Opening Act Competition’s finals, follow her on Facebook by clicking here.  

At The Saint in Asbury Park this summer, Kathleen Elle performs "Be My Man,” which is off her new album titled, "Brainwaves."

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