By Crystal Harrell

In the Coachella Valley music scene, Derek Jordan Gregg takes top billing as one of the desert’s most emotionally profound singer-songwriters, and now this local musician has a chance to expand his reach outside of the valley in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform as the opening act at Audacy’s annual We Can Survive concert in New York.

As a finalist in Audacy’s Open Act competition, Derek has reached the quarterfinals after weeks of voting, with only one percent of the competition remaining—as opposed to the thousands of contestants who originally started in the competition. He is closer than ever to a prize of ten thousand dollars and opening for the We Can Survive benefit concert for 18 thousand people at the Prudential Center arena in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, featuring performances by Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, and ONEREPUBLIC.

“Not only would playing a show like that be an absolute dream come true, but the fact of what I believe it could do to my career if the show is successful. I think that that festivals would be a regular thing and you know, I love what I do here locally, but of course I want to go international definitely. Other than the fact of possibly winning, just seeing that that everybody has come out of the woodwork and sharing and voting, it’s overwhelming,” said Derek.


Derek has stayed in first place through several different voting groups of 20 throughout the competition—and as a local independent with limited resources and funding, Derek is grateful for those who have believed in him and continue to vote through the competition’s final day of voting on September 21.

“I’ve made personal changes throughout the last couple of years and I’ve given myself to this opportunity. I’ve really poured my heart and soul into it. It just feels good to know that I think people are noticing I’m here to make a positive impact and I think that the Coachella Valley accepts me and is rooting for me. It feels really good,” shared Derek.

Derek has been making music his primary focus since he was 14 years-old, with an epiphany that that he wanted to spend his entire life making music. He recognizes that as an artist, he has gone through a lot of phases and he is now in the phase where he is overwhelmed with gratitude.

The desert musician has also just released his debut solo record, Gemini home and abroad. One song on the album, Blue, holds a special place in Derek’s heart. His brother Angus, who goes to Columbia Film School in Hollywood, even made a music video to go with it that can be viewed on YouTube.

“That song in particular is like a war cry for survival. My mission statement is to let people know that whatever they’ve been through, I guarantee I’ve been through it too. It’s worth talking about. It’s worth expressing. Mental health needs to be talked about openly. If I can even get one person who goes, ‘you know, that makes a lot of sense. I understand I’ve got to change the way I’m living,’ then that’s enough,” said Derek.

Derek will also be performing at the opening night of the annual Autism Benefit opening night at Big Rock Pub in September—another cause that is special to him as his brother Angus is on the autistic spectrum.

“He was nonverbal until he was four or five, so to get to work with him, on a piece of my art and seeing how he’s given his life to film, it’s special.  I didn’t get to talk to him for many years and now getting to work with him on a singular vision is amazing. That’s why I’m so happy to be playing the autism benefit,” revealed Derek.

Locals can also find Derek performing live at Boozehounds in Palm Springs on Thursdays and Sundays, and at Wildest Restaurant & Bar in Palm Desert on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

You can vote for Derek to be the next opening act at Audacy’s annual We Can Survive concert by voting daily at this link:

To listen to Derek’s new record, visit