Heather Mae (Photo: Sarah Stuart Walters)

Heather Mae (Photo: Sarah Stuart Walters)

Heather Mae of Washington, DC was named as the winner in the 2017 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase, held in conjunction with the festival in Lyons, Colorado, Aug. 18-20. She received a Taylor guitar and will perform a set on the main stage during next year’s festival.

Heather Mae was among ten finalists, each of whom performed two original songs on the festival’s main stage on Friday, Aug. 18 and during in-the-round sessions in the Wildflower Pavilion, where songwriting workshops also took place throughout the weekend. A panel of judges evaluated their songs and selected the winners based on a scoring criteria that included quality of composition (50%), vocal rendering (25%), and delivery (25%).

The other finalists were Andrew Delaney (Arlington, TX), Brian Dunne (Brooklyn, NY), Chase Gassaway (Austin, TX), Mike Herz (Newton, NJ), Leah Grams Johnson (Nashville, TN), Janelle Loes (Scottsdale, AZ), Mia Rose Lynne (Nashville, TN), Liz Ryder (Sacramento, CA), and Ira Wolf (Nashville, TN).

Heather Mae (HeatherMae.net) is a singer-songwriter and keyboardist who has moved from a folk-centric to a more indie pop sound. She writes and sings about such topics as LGBTQ discrimination, gender stereotypes and body image with a powerful voice. Earlier this year, she took second place in the prestigious Telluride Troubadour Competition, also in Colorado, and was the People’s Choice Award Winner at the Wildflower! Music and Art Festival in Richardson, Texas. She also secured a coveted Official Showcase at the 2017 Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City, MO. She was a finalist in the 2016 Kerrville New Folk Competition in the Texas Hill Country and also performed as part of last year’s Emerging Artist Showcase at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in Hillsdale, NY.

“I performed “Wanderer,” my song about being queer. I performed “Stand Up”, my song about fighting discrimination. I asked the audience to stand with me and join the cause. They did…and I won,” Heather Mae posted on her Facebook page on Aug. 19. “… After years of silence, I am so grateful for these songs and I am so honored to receive validation that I’m on the right path. One year from now, I’ll be back on that main stage to perform a full set. That’s a sentence I never expected to write. This is a life I never saw coming.”