The first season of Shine, a radio talent competition sponsored by Nvision Studios of Freeport, has ended and Ashley Reilly of Montauk was the first-place winner. Her prize was the gift of a song written just for her by Daryl Carter called “I Hope,” to be professionally recorded. She is presently learning breathing techniques and presentation from the songwriter, and will record the final version soon in Freeport’s Real Tyme Studio.
Ms. Reilly was one of 13 finalists from across Long Island who submitted weekly audition tapes of songs. Some were assigned to them; some they were able to choose. Every week throughout the summer and fall, the taped sessions were played on Nvision’s Web site and listeners voted for their favorites. Ms. Reilly, who called her style a bluesy R&B, was able to watch the other contestants each week and said they were some of the best.
People in Montauk and East Hampton know of her talent. “Anywhere I go, they put my face to singing,” said the young woman, who sang the National Anthem on the green in Montauk after the last Memorial Day parade there. She sings solo on Sundays at St. Therese of Lisieux Roman Catholic Church in the hamlet, and last week she performed at a benefit at East Hampton High School for Gregg Rickards. She is classically trained and has performed at weddings.
For each week of the four to five months that the Shine competition ran, Ms. Reilly would tape herself singing a song to submit. For some unknown reason, she said, the fire alarm at her house kept going off while she was recording. “That was my background music,” she said with a laugh.
She started singing in public when she was 11 years old. In 2006, she waited on the long lines to audition for “American Idol,” but wasn’t accepted. Next week, she has an audition for NBC’s “The Voice,” another singing competition with a different format from “Idol.”
She has auditioned before for “The Voice,” so she knows what to expect this time. “I’d never try out for ‘Idol’ again,” she said. “ ‘The Voice’ is so much more organized and professional. They don’t joke around, and they’re very encouraging.”
If a competition is held nearby, say in New Jersey or Connecticut, she’ll try out for it. “Why not? I live in Montauk.”
Herself a songwriter, Ms. Reilly has books and books full of lyrics. Before a performance she drinks the requisite tea and sucks lozenges. “I definitely take care of my instrument,” she said.
The Shine contest required that should she be a winner, she tape her reaction in advance, so it could be played when the results were announced. She and her mother, Tammy Snow, watched the Webcast at their home in the hamlet and realized shortly into it that she might win.
“Oh my God, I think I actually won!” she said she exclaimed.
And win she did. The song that was written for her is one that Ms. Reilly thinks could end up a pop hit on the radio. Until it does, though, she will remain at her job as a receptionist at Debra Thompson Day Spa in Montauk — a job that she loves, so she was a winner from the start.