News & Politics

These Artists Represent the DMV on “American Song Contest”

Nëither, Almira Zaky, and Sisqó are competing to bring musical glory to the region.

R&B artist Almira Zaky represented Virginia on "American Song Contest." Photo courtesy of Zaky.

A national competition may finally put to rest the question of whether DC, Maryland, or Virginia is best locally at…performing an original song?

American Song Contest, hosted by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dog on NBC, is an eight-week competition that consists of three rounds where 56 artists perform original songs. Its winner will be crowned on May 9.

It’s based on the Eurovision Song Contest, which is known for its zany performances and has also been a launching pad for huge artists such as ABBA and Céline Dion. American Song Contest‘s twist is that it features some already recognizable names, such as Macy Gray (who represents Ohio), Jewel (Alaska), and Michael Bolton (Connecticut) crooning for their home states alongside undiscovered and up-and-coming artists. The artists who represent the DMV are a mix of the two categories.

DC: Nëither

Nëither’s discography is slim, with a few singles and an EP released between 2019 and 2020. According to his artist profile, he has a theater background and has worked with George Clinton and Childish Gambino.

Nëither is scheduled to perform “I Like It” on April 11. While he is quiet on the specifics of his performance, he hinted on Instagram that he plans on “bringing the DMV to the stage” and may incorporate go-go into his act. For a glimpse into what he may bring to the competition, check out the cinematic and nostalgic music video for his single “Grown.”

Maryland: Sisqó

You may remember Sisqó from his 2000 smash hit “Thong Song.” The former Dru Hill frontman won six Billboard Music awards and was nominated for several Grammys for his solo career. Although he currently resides in Minnesota, Sisqó will represent his home state, Maryland, at the American Song Contest with the song “It’s Up” at a date TBA. While you wait, you can take a moment to revisit “Thong Song.”

Virginia: Almira Zaky

The 24-year-old Indonesian American R&B singer hails from Herndon. She released her debut album, Learn to Love, last month. Zaky performed the sultry R&B song “Over You” during the second qualifier on March 28. The performance was inspired by her Indonesian and Muslim background as well as fellow Virginians Pharrell and Missy Elliott. Unfortunately, Zaky was eliminated, but she may not be entirely out of the competition—the jury can bring back two eliminated artists during the semifinals.

American Singing Contest airs Mondays at 8 PM on NBC.

David Tran
Editorial Fellow