Aloft 11/02/2018 – Austin, TX

Aloft Hotels And Universal Music Group Announce Winner Of ‘Project: Aloft Star’ Americas, REYNA

REYNA has been crowned the winner of the Americas chapter of the global Project: Aloft Star artist discovery competition. Aloft Hotels, in partnership with Universal Music Group & Brands (UMGB), the brand strategy division of Universal Music Group (UMG), launched the global competition in search of emerging talent looking for their big break. After receiving more than 2,000 entries – a record for the initiative –  REYNA was among the three finalists that had the opportunity to be mentored by UMG’s platinum-selling band X Ambassadors and perform in front of a panel of industry judges at the Project: Aloft Star finale at Aloft Austin Downtown. A combination of online votes from fans and the judge’s scores on the night resulted in REYNA being crowned this year’s Project: Aloft Star.

Milwaukee-by-way-of-Texas sister-duo REYNA comprised of Vic Banuelos and Gaby Banuelos first appeared with their shimmering 80s inspired pop debut single ‘Spill Your Colors’, attracting over 20K streams in its first day. Since then REYNA has released a series of singles which have so far garnered over 3 million combined streams on Spotify to date. It wasn’t long before they were opening for the likes of CHVRCHES, Death Cab for Cutie, KESHA, Coast Modern and The Naked and Famous. Featured on Billboard’s 12 LGBTQ Artist to Discover During LGBTQ Pride Month and Beats 1/Apple Music Chart Show sparkling declaration that REYNA has arrived.

Project: Aloft Star winners REYNA with Karli Henriquez, the host of Aloft’s original content series, EMERGING

By winning the grand prize, REYNA will have the opportunity to record a single at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood, receive mentoring from UMG’s executives to help select a song to record as well as highly coveted 500,000 Loyalty points redeemable for stays at more than 6,700 hotels across 29 brands that participate in Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.

“We are beyond thrilled to have been part of this experience, it’s such an honor to be named as this year’s Project: Aloft Star winner,” said REYNA. “Emerging artists rarely have the opportunity to have a real shot in the industry so we’re so grateful for Aloft, UMG and X Ambassadors’ support. Next we’re going to record a single at Capitol Studios and play around the world thanks to the Marriott Loyalty points.”

REYNA’s journey to the top began in June when unsigned artists were invited to join the competition by uploading two original songs along with a photo to the dedicated Project: Aloft Star website. All entries were submitted to a panel of judges from UMG and Aloft Hotels who then narrowed down the record-breaking number of submissions to the three finalists who performed at the finale event in Austin. Music lovers were then encouraged to view and vote on their favorite artist during a near three-week period leading up to the finale.

The guest judges included executives:
– LJ Gutierrez, GM, Universal Music Group and Brands
– Bridget Higgins, Senior Global Brand Director, Aloft Hotels
– Fabrice Sergent, Managing Partner, Bandsintown

“Aloft Hotels is for music lovers and music makers, we are proud to have supported emerging artists since the inception of the brand,” said Toni Stoeckl, Global Brand Leader, Aloft Hotels, and Vice President, Distinctive Select Brands for Marriott International. “After a record number of entries this year REYNA is a deserving winner and we can’t wait to see them take the next steps in their career with support from Aloft and UMG.”

“The raw talent that we have seen come out of Project: Aloft Star has been outstanding and all the finalists should be very proud,” said Mike Tunnicliffe, EVP, Head of UMGB USA. “However, REYNA’s performance really blew the judges away and we’re so excited to be bringing them on board to record a single at Capitol Studios with us. Project: Aloft Star has been a fantastic extension of our partnership with Marriott International, not only for discovering amazing new talent like REYNA, but for the platform it has given our existing emerging talent through the Project: Aloft Star Tour.”

Aloft Hotels has been an incubator for emerging musical talent for a decade. Aloft Hotels are in thriving music destinations, welcoming touring musicians with special discounted artist rates, the opportunity to use the W XYZ® bar as a performance space for free, and a musicians’ guide featuring everything from where to dine late-night after a gig, the best nearby affordable recording studio, where to purchase guitar strings, and more to hit the right note for each stay.

Project: Aloft Star Tour
The finale event marked the culmination of a five-city tour of some of the great music cities, which aimed to inspire emerging talent to enter this year’s competition. The free performances at the brand’s signature W XYZ® bars featured UMG’s hottest breakthrough artists, kicking off with Years & Years in Philadelphia on June 23, and continuing in four other locations, including Tank & the Bangas in New Orleans on August 9, Bea Miller in Asheville on August 21, Stanaj and Fátima Pinto in San Jose, Costa Rica on September 14 and BANNΞRS in Denver on October 17. The tour stops and the finale event featured special perks for members of Marriott International’s award-winning loyalty programs Marriott Rewards, SPG and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards – including an opportunity to meet and interview X Ambassadors at the finale event for one lucky member who redeemed the experience on SPG Moments using their starpoints.

UMG and Marriott International Partnership
Since UMG and Marriott International first started working together in 2015, the global partnership has grown to encompass Marriott’s expanded portfolio and has come to life through concerts showcasing UMG’s premiere talent at Marriott properties across the globe, most recently at an emerging female-led artist showcase at Aloft Austin Downtown during the 2018 South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals.

For further details about Aloft Hotels, please visit www.alofthotels.com.

For contest Rules, visit ProjectAloftStar.dja.com.

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About Aloft Hotels
With over 150 hotels now open in over 20 countries and territories around the world, Aloft Hotels, part of Marriott International, Inc., delivers a fresh approach to the traditional staid hotel landscape. For the ‘always on’ next generation of traveler, the Aloft brand offers a tech-forward, vibrant experience and a modern style that is different by design. For more information, please visit www.alofthotels.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Aloft is proud to participate in the company’s award-winning loyalty programs – Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG). The programs, operating under one set of unparalleled benefits, enable members to earn points toward free hotel stays, achieve Elite status faster than ever, and seamlessly book or redeem points for stays throughout our loyalty portfolio of 29 brands and more than 6,700 participating hotels in 130 countries & territories. To enroll for free or for more information about the programs, visit members.marriott.com.

About Marriott International, Inc.
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,700 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 130 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company also operates award-winning loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.com.

Marriott International Media Contacts
Victoria Hart
Senior Global Director, Public Relations
Marriott International
victoria.hart@marriott.com

Michelle Abril
Senior Account Director
Ballantines PR
michelle.abril@ballantinespr.com

UMGB Contact
Michael Kutach
Vice President
Element Brand Group
Michael@elementbrandgroup.com