Boston, MA – Berklee College of Music senior Clifton Williams was named winner of the Apollo Theater Amateur Night Song Competition last night after his composition, A Legacy Fulfilled: Welcome to the Apollo," was performed in front of a live audience at the famed Harlem venue.
Williams, a Berklee Presidential Scholar who graduates on May 10, will not only receive $5,000, but his song will be played every week at the Apollo as the official theme song of Amateur Night. It is only the second time in memory that the theme song has been changed.
After graduation, Williams is moving to Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Jennifer Criss, a singer who graduated from Berklee last year and is competing in Amateur Night next week.
Williams was one of two finalists in the competition. His competitor, Daryl Brown, is a friend from Boston. They were named finalists in February after submitting videos of their songs. In late March, the Apollo flew them to New York City to rework and record their songs, using Apollo studio musicians.
The two songs were posted online for public vote from April 7 until April 30, when the Apollo Band performed the songs before a live audience, which cast their votes via cheers and boos. Both the live and online votes factored into the decision.