The Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition showcases up-and-coming vocal talents from around the world. The contest takes place each year during the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Shure has been honoured to sponsor the competition since its inception back in 2003.

For the 2016 edition, the Grammy-winning Beninese singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo and her jury managed to pare down 164 entries to just 10 semi-finalists hailing from countries as diverse as France, Turkey, Russia and South Korea. Both the semi-finals and finals were held on July 8-9 at the Petit Théâtre at the Montreux Palace Hotel.

The three finalists had 15 minutes to win over the jury. First prize went to Arta Jekabsone from Latvia after performing “Let the Feeling Just Flow” and her composition “Sun.” Germany’s Erik Leuthäuser finished second and Italy’s Fabio Giacalone came third.

Arta Jekabsone, Winner of the 2016 Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition

When I was thinking about the concept of what to sing, for me the first condition was: be yourself, I chose the songs where I felt a connection.

Finishing her nine years of classical violin training in Latvia, Arta moved to New York to study jazz and contemporary music at The New School.

Watch Arta’s winning performance below.

All three of the 2016 finalists took home Shure products of their choice worth €2,000, along with other prizes.

As in years past, former competition winner Sabine Kühlich was backstage to offer her insights and speak with the finalists and jury president.

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