March Music Madness: And Then There Were Two

With over 150 bands nominated, this year’s Nippertown’s “March ‘Music’ Madness” started out to be the biggest one yet. After five rounds and thousands of votes coming in, it’s held true.

So after a month of friendly competition amongst the best original artists from the Capital Region, we are down to two: Angelina Valente and The Sugar Hold.

Last week’s voting was intense. Shout out to Electric Turtle and Sydney Worthley for making it to the Final Four. While they didn’t make it to the finals, they we able to get their fan base out and voting each week and will be back next year with something to prove. Plus, they both walk away with $200 each, so that’s pretty awesome, too.

For the finals, Angelina Valente and The Sugar Hold are vying for some serious cash and prizes. The second-place band will receive $300, and the ultimate winner will receive a grand prize of $500, as well as the opportunity to record a three-day session at White Lake Music and Bridge Road Entertainment. Additionally, they will gain the chance to perform at NipperFest 2023.

Voting for Round 6 begins Wednesday, March 29th, at 10 a.m. and closes at midnight on Saturday, April 1st. Results will be announced on Wednesday, April 5th, on 

Everyone is encouraged to support all the artists, check out their music, and let the bands know what they think. Let’s spread the word that the Capital Region’s music scene is one of the best in the country.

We have a bunch of great sponsors for this year’s tournament: White Lake Music, Troy Music Hall, Putnam Place, The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, High Peaks Event Production, Cohoes Music Hall, Empire Live, Caffe Lena, Lark Hall, Nanola, The Linda, Guthrie/Bell Productions, New Scotland Spirits and The Hangar on the Hudson. Please support our sponsors; without them, this tournament wouldn’t be possible.

The Bands/Artists

Angelina Valente

How do you want to stand out from other musicians in your genre?

I think I’d like people to notice the care I put into each song. The lyrics really serve as reminders and mantras for me, and I hope people can connect to those moments in the ways that I do.

What are your favorite musical influences?

Musical influences. Ben Folds – He has always reminded me that you can be an incredible musician and not take yourself or your art too seriously; you CAN write a song about the astronaut who drove 18 hours in a diaper to kill her boyfriend and make it a really great break-up song. John Craigie – Honesty. I find his music to be some of the most specific I’ve ever heard, and yet, it’s so relatable. Total honesty is the thing people are craving and connect to the most. Susan Tedeschi – Always reminds me just to use my voice and be a total badass. (Can I say that?)

What do you hope to achieve in the music industry?

I think I hope to achieve that level of fame where you can travel across the country and sell out venues but still go to the grocery store and not have people chasing you down for photos or autographs. I think that’s the sweet spot of being able to create music for a living and not have it completely change how you can be in the world.

The Sugar Hold

We asked the guys from the Sugar Hold a few questions to get to know them better… here’s what they had to say.

How do you want to stand out from other musicians in your genre?

(Mikey) We want to stand out by having more fun. We’re laid back and do not take ourselves seriously. There’s lots of room for serious music, but there’s also room to let your hair down and relax sometimes. We’re there for those hair-down moments. Sometimes it’s great to eat filet mignon, but sometimes you just want a cheeseburger, ya know?
(John)  I want to take myself less seriously.
(Dan) Nobody has more fun than the Sugar Hold, and if you go to a show, you will see!

What are your favorite musical influences?

(Mikey) Well, the stuff you can hear in our music are mainly the Beach Boys and the Pixies. I’ve also been a big Vandals fan since I was young, and you can hear that in some of the more silly stuff we do.
(John) My friends in the local scene. We’re all doing something different, and we all have different skills and strengths.
(Dan) All time: The Band, Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotten
Lately: Izaak Opatz, Nick Shoulders, Dick Stusso, The Nude Party, Low Cut Connie

What do you hope to achieve in the music industry?

(Mikey) Honestly, I didn’t have too many goals when I started the band, and we’ve checked off (or will be checking off) most of them. The first major goal was to release an album. Our debut full-length album, “SWEET,” is coming out on 4/20. We worked with Dave Rockower, aka The Duke Western, on it, and it was just a treat. The other thing I wanted was to play at some local festivals. Last year we were invited to play at Art on Lark, Bacchanalia, and Wild in the Trees Skate and Music Festival. This year we have even more line-up, including NIPPERFEST and the returning Move Festival.
(John)  Building a better and more inclusive community.
(Dan) Having fun and building community.

Remember to support the artists, visit their Bandcamp, website, or social media links and listen to their music before voting.

To vote… click here!

Note to bands/artists: If your links are incomplete or incorrect, submit updates at

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