Portland singer-songwriter King Kyote debuted his song “Get Out Alive” Monday night on NBC’s “American Song Contest,” competing in the show’s second qualifying round against artists representing 10 other states, including Grammy-winning artist Macy Gray from Ohio.

“I want to make Maine proud and show America that Maine’s got some rock ‘n’ roll,” said King Kyote. Photo by Jukebooth Productions

The show, hosted by musicians Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson, features artists from all 50 states, five U.S. territories and Washington, D.C., performing original songs. The winner will be decided by a combination of votes from the 56-member jury of music industry professionals – including Lauren Wayne from the State Theatre – and online fan voting.

At the end of Monday’s show, Jordan Smith from Kentucky was revealed as the jury’s pick for his song “Sparrow.” Viewers and fans have until 7 a.m. Wednesday to cast votes for their favorite act by using the NBC app or going to asc.vote.nbc.com. The three artists with the most votes will advance to the semifinals with Smith. Their names will be announced at the beginning of the next episode, on Monday, April 4, at 8 p.m. on NBC.

King Kyote, whose real name is Jon King, competed against artists representing Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, U.S. Virgin Islands and Virginia, and was the second to last performer to play.

Before he took the stage, a vignette was shown featuring King talking about his love for Maine in front of a lighthouse and later at a local fish market. He talked about surfing in the “wicked cold” and about how being a lifelong Mainer has shaped who he is and in turn has become part of his music.

Talking about “Get Out Alive,” he said, “I wanted this song to feel like you’re drinking whiskey under the pine trees. A bit of that campfire feel with a lot of soul, I wanted there to be a heartbeat to it.” King also said that he doesn’t take the responsibility of representing his state lightly. “I want to make Maine proud and show America that Maine’s got some rock ‘n’ roll.”

Bathed in several spotlight rays, King Kyote performed on top of a raised square stage with his acoustic guitar.

“I want to hate you but I know that isn’t right/I used to hold you, you were my only light,” he said, then came the foot stomps, hand claps, slide guitar and backing vocals elevating the song to a solid rock tune. “I least I know we know we tried/If we could get out alive,” repeated King.

At midnight, the song was released as a single on streaming platforms, including Spotify.

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