Teen launches singing career in Gwinnett

When the executive director of the Gwinnett Convention and Visitor's Bureau asked entertainment entrepreneur Jayne Madigan for some help with a wine party, she didn't have to think too hard for the perfect solution. She had just taken on the singing career management of Stephen Norwood, an 18-year-old crooner.

Norwood wowed the party-goers at Caryn and Michael McGarity's home, and Madigan is convinced she has a new addition to her stable of "stars."

Norwood lives in Dunwoody, but has numerous Gwinnett ties. He was born at Gwinnett Medical Center, and he attends The Bridge Church in Lawrenceville. His career was launched in Gwinnett, and he will be very visible here in the weeks to come.

"Stephen will be one of the first to sing the national anthem for the Gwinnett Braves," Madigan said.

Madigan said Norwood will debut from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Wine Styles at The Avenue Webb Gin. He'll return there on April 3 and 17. He will also be singing on WUGA radio at 4 p.m. April 10. Then he will entertain the crowds in the Beer Garden venue at Barefoot in the Park Arts Festival at

12:30 p.m. May 9 in Duluth's Town Green.

Norwood said he knew he wanted to be a singer from the age of 8.

"I signed up for a musical theater summer camp, just to try it," he said. "The counselors and teachers saw potential in me and encouraged me and my parents to pursue music. I started taking voice and piano lessons, and I realized it was something I really enjoyed."

He began his college career at age 16 at Georgia State University, where he takes classes.

Norwood looks to the great artists of the past and toward current "retro" artists for his style.

"I particularly love Louis Armstrong, Amy Winehouse, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Paolo Nutini and Duffy," he said. "I don't feel like I emulate anyone in particular. I'm just inspired by these artists and this inspiration slowly evolves into my sound."

To find out more about Norwood, go to www.myspace.com/stephennorwood. You can also twitter him at twitter.com/stephennorwood.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. E-mail hcalmes@mindspring.com.