The Press

Clay Pot - 
Friday June 14, 2013 we’ll have a little sweet for the sweet and with no extra calories, with special guest young and talented 17 year old Singer Song Writer, Ginger Winn from Manning SC. Ginger will be preforming during lunch 11:30 – 2pm and Friday evening from 7pm – 9:00. Ginger has been playing the guitar and ukulele for as long as she can remember, and wrote her first song with lyrics when she was nine. Ginger plays acoustic, electric guitar, ukulele, piano, and drums and has 66 recorded original songs. Start your weekend with this special treat and come listen to Ginger’s tunes this Friday day or night.
Manning teen wins 'Top of the Pot' competition in Florence

FLORENCE, S.C. -- Fourteen-year-old winner Ginger Winn of Manning won the grand prize Saturday in The Clay Pot Coffee Shop's inaugural "Top of the Pot Singer/Song Writer Competition” at the William H. Johnson Renaissance Courtyard in downtown Florence.

Winn thanked The Clay Pot for putting the event together.

“It was an awesome event,” Winn said. She said she is “looking forward to working with the (Southern Harmony) recording studio soon.”

Winn won the overall competition, which included a recording package with Southern Harmony Studios and a $300 cash prize.

Winn's mother, Kaye, attended the event.

"Thanks so much for supporting the music business in South Carolina; you guys are a role model for other towns and cities,” she said.

Florence native Rusty Henderson took second place with a $75 cash prize. Lee Hewitt of Timmonsville, accompanied by Carolina Smith of Florence, took home the third place $50 cash prize and the $25 gift certificate to The Clay Pot for the People’s Choice Award. Finalists Dawn Larsen and Grover Windham, both of Florence, received $25 gift certificates to Florence business Music Depot for their participation.

The competition included performances by Round I contestants Tyler Cook, John Pickett, Phillip Howell and Henry Sloane. Other performers included Brandon Goff (Event MC, Musician, and FMU professor), Ed Clements (Round I Judge and 12th Circuit Solicitor); Laura Greenway (Round I Judge/ Florence School District Performing Arts Coordinator), Warren Stone (NBC’s “The Voice” contestant and Event Judge), Rebecca Morning Phipps (Award Winning Artsville 2012 Singer/Songwriter and Event Judge), and Doug Kight.

Judges for the event included first lady of Florence Laura Wukela; Rebecca Morning-Phipps, and Warren Stone. Judging was based on lyrics, originality, melody quality, uniqueness of presentation, audience response and general overall impression.

The event drew a crowd of more than 100 attendees.

Entries for the 2014 competition will be accepted in June with first rounds held throughout the summer and the final competition in September. The number of first rounds will be based on the number of entries. The Clay Pot encourages interested singer/songwriters to contact them at 843-407-1646 or for more information about the 2014 event.

The Item

Local teen Songwriter wins contest

Ginger Winn, 14, plays her guitar recently at The Item headquarters. Ginger, who has been playing musical instruments since she could hold them, recently won a singer-songwriter contest held at The Clay Pot coffee shop in Florence, netting a recording contract with Southern Harmony Studios in Florence.

When Ginger Winn and her family moved to Manning a few years ago, they loved the town’s centralized location in the state and the beauty of Clarendon County.
But something was missing.
"When we first got here, there wasn’t much support for younger musicians," said Kaye White, Ginger’s mother. "There seemed to be a moratorium on talent shows in Clarendon County School District 2, so there wasn’t really a venue for young musicians to display their talents."
Ginger would not be discouraged, however, as her mother and father pushed for her to not only become a good performer, but to write her own music and lyrics also.
"We’ve urged her, as well as other kids, to write their own material," White said. "Playing covers is great, but, as Bob Dylan advocates, musicians need to write more original work."
"My dad is a very good musician, and mom is a great writer," Ginger said. "Both of them have pushed hard from the beginning for me to write, and write and write."
For Ginger, the long road began essentially at birth — her grandmother gave her a ukulele when she was just a baby.
"I’m part Hawaiian," Ginger said. "My grandmother gave me the instrument as a memento of my heritage, and as soon as I was old enough to hold it, my dad started teaching me how to play it."
Ginger stuck with the instrument and eventually penned her first song titled "Smoky Mountain Tennessee," with the ukulele during a ride back from Dollywood. She was 8 years old.
Since then, the young, ambitious singer-songwriter has expanded her talents to guitar, piano and drums, the latter of which she studies at Leonard’s Music Co. in Sumter. She’s also written and recorded 66 songs. The 14-year-old said she has numerous influences for her sound.
"I listen to almost everything," she said. "I started out listening to country music, then pop. I love the classics, too, such as The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Bob Dylan. I’ve been told I sound like a combination of those sounds mixed with Lady Antebellum and The Cranberries."
When it comes to writing new material, Ginger said the process is much less planned than some would assume.
"I’m a very spontaneous writer," she said. "I never know when a song idea will come to me. I just take an idea and I go with it, hammering out all the details as I go through it and editing along the way."
As her writing has improved and her sound expanded, Ginger has been posting her work on her website,, as well as posting videos on Her most recent post, an original song called "Close to the Coast," is a tribute to the beach and those who love it.
"It’s something I think South Carolinians can relate to very well," she said. "It seems we all grow up in this state with a connection to the beach."
Naturally, Ginger would eventually compete with other singer-songwriters, testing the merit of her lyrical and musical efforts. She’s won a few contests, including a first-place finish in Weldon Auditorium’s "So you think you got talent, Clarendon County?" in 2012 and a second-place finish in a contest held at Midnight Rooster in Hartsville, but the most recent is by far the biggest.
In September, Ginger won a contest hosted in Florence called "Top of the Pot," hosted by The Clay Pot Coffee Shop. The contest, judged by Florence’s First Lady Laura Wukela, NBC’s "The Voice" competitor Warren Stone and 2012 Artsville winner Rebecca Morning-Phipps, pit the competitors against each other through three rounds of elimination.
"It was a heated competition," Ginger said. "I’ve been performing on stage since I was 11, but this was something new."
Ginger’s perseverance paid off, as she survived all three rounds to claim the top prize.
"I was the only kid in the top five," she said. "The others were all adults, so it was really exciting. It was amazing to hear that I’d won it."
The grand prize included a cash sum and a contract with Southern Harmony Studios to record an album, which she will begin developing soon.
But according to her mother, Ginger didn’t win solely because of her talents.
"These people were looking for an artist to support, as well as a good musician," White said. "They sat and talked with the artists and got to know them and what they stand for. (Ginger) gained a lot of support because she worked with 41 young singer-songwriters as part of a summer-long Fleetwood Mac tribute project called Freefalling, during which she also helped them develop their own writing. She strongly advocates for them to become their own artist."
As an aspiring artist, Ginger has her eyes set far beyond the horizon.
"Within the next 10 years, I want to be artist of the year," she said. "I want to known for my songwriting, more than anything, but I also want to produce."
"This is her career," White said. "She’s not stopping anytime soon."
"You can be a songwriter forever, even on your death bed," Ginger said. "I want that."
Regardless of what success she’s had or what the future has in store, Ginger still keeps on an even keel and remains a strong supporter of the place she now calls home.
"It’s always fun to answer people when they ask about where I’m from," she said. "They usually don’t know about Manning or where it is, so I get to talk about it and let them know how beautiful it is here."
Reach Rob Cottingham at (803) 774-1225.