SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Vin Mott, who teaches drums and vocals at School of Rock Montclair, was recently named the winner of the “Blues In The Loft” Competition, a presentation of the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), the New Jersey Blues Alliance, and Hat City Kitchen.
The contest’s preliminary rounds, which attracted participants from across New York and New Jersey, were held on eight consecutive Sundays at Hat City Kitchen, with the final battle presented at SOPAC to a sell out crowd.
“Winning the competition was completely unexpected,” says Mott, who was a crowd favorite at the event. “The other competitors were all friends of mine and really talented, so I figured it was anyone’s game. So when I won, it was pretty exciting.”
Mott, who grew up in Pequannoc, discovered the blues as a teenager, and became fascinated by the music of William Clarke, Paul Butterfield, and Little Walter. After graduating from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Mott worked as a session musician for Bob Lanza, whose album “Time To Let Go” features Mott’s work on the drums and the harmonica, and was a hit on the Billboard Blues Chart. Mott also formed a band, and has shared stages with legendary blues singer Trudy Lynn as well as Philadelphia-based blues act Mikey Junior.
In 2014, Mott joined the faculty at School of Rock Montclair. This spring, Mott will oversee a Performance Program for the School’s students that will pay tribute to regions of the country with distinctive blues styles (Chicago, Memphis, the Mississippi Delta, Texas) and classic artists, including B.B. King, Big Mama Thornton, Muddy Waters, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Howlin’ Wolf, Koko Taylor, Robert Johnson, Albert King, and many others.
“The blues has influenced virtually every style of American music, and it’s inspiring to see the students embrace it,” says Mott, whose debut album “Quit the Women for the Blues” was released in early February and is available on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. “Having the opportunity to share the blues and ‘pay it forward’ to a younger generation of musicians is important, and I’m grateful that the School is supporting me and allowing me to make it happen.”