Congrats to 20-year-old Wellesley-ite Jack Vandervelde, who is the first person to qualify for the Open Mixfest 2015 contest: A chance to open for radio station Mix 104.1’s annual concert at the Hatch Shell in Boston in September. Last year’s Mixfest featured Phillip Phillips, Christina Perri, O.A.R. and Magic!; this year’s line-up is headed by Rob Thomas and takes place on Sept. 19.
Vandervelde strums his guitar and sings an original song, “Save the King,” off his first EP, just released on iTunes and other digital music stores and services.
Vandervelde, a 2014 Wellesley High grad, is attending Indiana University in Bloomington, though is doing as much musically as he can.
“Music is my passion and I will continue to work away at is as long as I can. In terms of my music style, I do not really know what to call it. I am influenced from bands/artists like Green Day to Ed Sheeran and have always been interested in Pop music and admire what Taylor Swift does. Recently I have been listening to a lot of John Mayer who has always inspired me to improve on the guitar. I love writing songs and coming up with new stories or reflecting on old ones.”
Vandervelde has been in the spotlight before, including an appearance in the lacrosse movie Crooked Arrows, filmed in part in Wellesley.
14 more qualifiers will be announced for Open Mixfest, so Vandervelde still has a challenge ahead in making it to the Mixfest stage. In some cases, the Open Mixfest winner has gone on to more musical success: 2013 opener Alex Preston made it far on American Idol.