SEE PRINCE LIVE AS HE MAKES AN EPIC RETURN TO THE FESTIVAL MAIN STAGE!
July 4th weekend | New Orleans, LA
The 2014 ESSENCE Festival™ is excited to announce that this iconic artist will headline one of our stellar three nights of concerts July 4th weekend in New Orleans, LA. Join us Festival weekend as ESSENCE and Prince supports the Rebuild the Dream Innovation Fund to champion awareness and foster education for disadvantaged youth to learn the language of computer coding and programming.
"Lionel Richie is an international Superstar with over 100 million albums sold worldwide and has been honored with countless awards including: An Oscar, 5 GRAMMYs®, 16 American Music Awards, and a Golden Globe among many others. Lionel is one of only two songwriters in history to achieve the honor of having number one records for nine consecutive years. Through his success Lionel has given back through The Lionel Richie Foundation which is an innovative program that will strengthen the partnership between major corporations, organizations and Tuskegee University while expanding the reach of African American Studies programs."
MARY J. BLIGE
Iconic GRAMMY® Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and philanthropist, Mary J. Blige is a figure of inspiration, transformation and empowerment making her one of the defining voices of the contemporary music era. With a track record of eight multi-platinum albums, nine GRAMMY® Awards (plus a staggering 31 nominations), a 2012 Golden Globe nomination, and four American Music Awards, Blige is a global superstar. And in the ensuing years, the singer/songwriter has attracted an intensely loyal fan base—responsible for propelling worldwide sales of more than 50 million albums.
Charlie Wilson has taken the word "Icon" to another level – with two separate careers. First as the lead singer for the legendary GAP Band and now as a solo artist. He has been honored with a BMI Icon Award, a Soul Train Icon Award, a Trumpet Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award and much more. His performances at the Essence Festivals are legendary and we look forward to him performing songs from his GRAMMY® -nominated albums, including his 2014 GRAMMY® -nominated song, "If I Believe" from the Love, Charlie album.
Three-time GRAMMY(R) Award-winning singer-songwriter, New York Times best selling poet, and critically acclaimed actress are only a few titles held by Jill Scott. Named People Magazine's Top TV Breakout Star of 2010, Jill has been featured in every major magazine. Before having her recent album, The Light Of The Sun become the #1 record in the country and performing at The White House, the triple threat began her career collaborating with musical icons. With a background in musical theatre, Jill started her career as part of the Canadian cast of Rent, and has gone on to grow her true multimedia brand across books, clothing, TV and film. Her television credits include lead role in the HBO/BBC mini series filmed on location in Botswana, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, a Peabody Award-winning show. As well as Showtime's Cavedweller and Lifetime Movie Network's Sins of The Mother for which she earned a NAACP Image Award and also became the second–most watched premiere in the networks history. For film, Scott has appeared in Hounddog, Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? and Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?
Erykah Badu, best known for her eccentric style and cerebral music, is a four-time GRAMMY® award winning American soul singer and songwriter. Regarded as the "First Lady of Neo-Soul" or the "Queen of Neo-Soul", Badu's sound—a concoction of soul, hip-hop and jazz—cannot be contained to a single genre. Self-described as a "mother first", Badu is a touring artist, producer, dj, teacher, community activist, holistic healer, doula, vegan, and conscious spirit.
Over the past 13 years, New Orleans native Ledisi has recorded six albums, gained eight GRAMMY® nominations including a nod for "Best New Artist" in 2008, performed six times at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama, and earned a place in the pantheon of the best soul singers of her generation. Her new album The Truth is filled not only with Ledisi's trademark soaring ballads but also something unexpected: a generous collection of up-tempo, beat-driven celebrations of love and lust. Ledisi explains that her new music is a reflection of her journey of self-discovery.
The Roots, the legendary, GRAMMY® Award winning hip hop crew and arguably the hardest working musicians in popular culture, turn 25 this year. The brainchild of childhood friends Ahmir "Questlove" Trotter and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, The Roots began their career playing bucket drums and freestyling on the streets and competing with Boyz II Men for top honors at The Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. Named one of the greatest live acts by Rolling Stone, their career has evolved to include a weekly gig as the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, hosting sold-out jam sessions across country, collaborating on new works for contemporary performance (Lincoln Center, BAM, Kimmel Center), and consistently churning out GRAMMY®-nominated albums.
Tank is one of the most recognizable names in modern R&B, known for vivid storytelling and sensual love songs. He's an icon in the making, with four albums and eight Grammy nominations under his belt. He's also a singer who carries the torch of masters like Marvin Gaye and Al Green, while redefining R&B for a new decade. For singer/songwriter/producer Tank—about to release his Atlantic Records debut Now or Never, his first album in three years, and the one he describes as his most confident yet—the secret is simple. He remains true to who he is, as a man and an artist.
112 (pronounced "One-TWELVE") is an American R&B quartet from Atlanta, Georgia. They are best known for hit singles such as "Anywhere" and "Dance With Me", and for winning a Grammy for their collaboration "I'll Be Missing You" with Puff Daddy and Faith Evans. Formerly artists for Sean "P. Diddy" Combs', the group left Bad Boy and signed to the Def Soul roster in the early 2000s. The groups is made up of members Daron Tavaris Jones, Michael Marcel Keith (aka Mike), Quinnes Diamond Parker (aka "Q"), and Marvin Eugene Scandrick, III (aka "Slim"), which all have known each other since childhood and have been singing together since high school. All started to sing at an early age in church.
Amel Larrieux rose to fame in the mid-1990s as a founding member of the duo Groove Theory along with Bryce Wilson. After leaving the group in 1999, she released her debut solo album, Infinite Possibilities, the following year on Epic Records. In late 2003, Larrieux founded her own independent label with her husband/producer Laru Larrieux, Blisslife Records, on which she has released three R&B Billboard chart-topping albums, Bravebird, Morning and Lovely Standards. Her new album, Ice Cream Everyday, is a true Rhythm & Blues offering that blends unconventional harmonies and beautiful lyrics making for a memorable musical journey, in the singer's impeccable, inimitable style.
BIG SAM'S FUNKY NATION
"Hailing from New Orleans, Big Sam (former trombone player of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band) always entertains audiences with his exhilarating brand of high-voltage funk, rock, jazz, and hip-hop, termed "Noladelic Powerfunk." Accompanying Big Sam are Andrew Baham on Trumpet/Vocals, Joshua Connelly on Guitar/Vocals, Chocolate MILK on Drums and Jerry Henderson p/k/a Jblakk on Bass. Together, BIG SAM'S FUNKY NATION engages and delights audiences across the country with their high energy performance and showmanship. One of New Orleans' most energetic bands—-A Big Sam show is one not to be missed!"
DOUG E FRESH
Doug E. Fresh is an American rapper, record producer, and beatboxer. One of the earliest beatboxers (and still seen as one of the best), Fresh is able to imitate drum machines and various special effects with often startling accuracy. Fresh's early records are out of print, and have never been released on compact disc; thus original records can command high prices. Fresh became a major rap star in 1985. His single "The Show/La Di Da Di," is considered an early hip hop classic. The iconic "Get Fresh Crew" featured DJs Barry B., Chill Will, and MC Ricky D (who would later achieve fame as Slick Rick).
Elle Varner exploded into the music scene and to the top of the charts when her self-penned, eleven-song debut album PERFECTLY IMPERFECT (MBK Entertainment/RCA Records). The debut entered at #2 and #4 on Billboard's R&B Albums and Top 200 charts, respectively. The breakthrough album won Elle a "Best New Artist" Soul Train Music Award, a "Best R&B Song" GRAMMY(R) nomination for her hit single "Refill," and critical acclaim across the board from the media and fans alike, including the FLOTUS Michelle Obama and daughter Malia. Continuing to make her mark as an award-winning singer/songwriter, Elle Varner sees no limit to her possibilities as she prepares for her sophomore album release.
"I feel rejuvenated, like a brand new artist." A surprising admission from Eve, the Grammy-award musician who's already racked up an impressive hit list ("Let Me Blow Ya Mind," "Gangsta Lovin'", "Who's that Girl," Satisfaction," "Tambourine," etc.) and three multi-million selling albums (Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders' First Lady, Scorpion and Eve-Olution), while also earning critical raves ("a new standard in hip-hop," said Entertainment Weekly).
"Twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother and their friend and musical compadre Anita Bias—collectively known as KING—evolved beautifully in their home studio and had no idea they were creating a true life musical fairytale. Nor could they have anticipated that pop icon Prince would play an active role in their development as he help guides them in business decisions and provides an overall vision for the trio. Paris produces KING's hip and edgy yet smooth songs, while Amber and Anita are the primary singers. The three work together on songwriting and vocal arrangements to create intricate harmonies."
"Leela James focuses on what makes an undeniable star — talent, drive, and an unforgettable voice. Those powers are reflected on her upcoming fourth studio album and a new single "Say That," her sultry duet with Anthony Hamilton. What sets Ms. James apart is her fearless approach to making music. She's transparent, and reminds her audience of what it is to be human – to love, to regret, and to dream. Though James is on the slow, steady burn towards musical success, it's hardly her sole focus. She's taken the past several years to cultivate a fulfilling home life."
LiV Warfield, Lives in New York and is originally from Peoria, IL. LiV has had the "unexpected" journey to stardom as 14-year gymnast and track & field star, 1996 alternate for the US Olympics who hid her talents from her friends and family. It wasn't until she went to college that she decided to expose her talents. Soon after she was discovered by Prince on YouTube. LiV currently is performing with Prince and the New Power Generation. The power and strength of her voice is penetrating and immediately demands attention. LiV Warfield's highly anticipated sophomore album, "The Unexpected" will release on January 28, 2014.
NAUGHTY BY NATURE
Rap legends Naughty By Nature return to the Festival for our 20th Anniversary. We look forward to this seminal hip hop group bringing their classic show to the Festival. Stay tuned for more on the latest on Naughty By Nature.
PINETTES BRASS BAND
The Original Pinettes Brass Band, The World's Only All Female Brass Band, was formed by Jeffery Herbert in 1991. Each member, born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, attended St. Mary's Academy High School, an all-girl Catholic school. Beginning, with 16 or more members, the Original Pinettes ended up with not only St. Mary's females, but other females around the town. The ladies also have a long resume around the town for doing parties, weddings, conventions, school events, nursing homes, etc. The Original Pinettes played their first international festival when they toured the cities of Turkey in 2011. They also performed on the series Treme, seasons 3 and 4.
PJ Morton is a Young Money solo artist, Maroon 5 keyboardist and a GRAMMY(R) Award-winning producer/songwriter. A New Orleans native, his musically inspired upbringing included soul, pop and gospel influences, nurturing PJ's incredible ability to cross musical genres. In May 2013, his acclaimed major label debut New Orleans (which features Stevie Wonder, Adam Levine and Busta Rhymes) hit #1 on iTunes R&B Albums Chart and Top 5 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart.
Three-time GRAMMY(R)-nominated singer/songwriter Raheem DeVaughn, son of renowned jazz musician Abdul Wadud. has become one of modern soul's most beloved artists. Despite DeVaughn's success, he persistently grinds—releasing over 15 mixtapes over the past nine years in addition to his most current and fourth studio album, A Place Called Love Land (released September 2013). Continuing to set the bar higher for himself in music and in life with his humanitarian efforts, he partnered with the USO in Europe in 2010 to perform for hundreds of U.S. troops and their families and launched his very own internet-based radio show. In 2011, he was awarded The Key to the City by Washington, D.C.'s Mayor Vincent Gray for his work with HIV/AIDS; and recently, founded and launched The LoveLife Foundation, whose mission is dedicated to improving lives through social development, education, health and wellness.
Houston native Robert Glasper had a strong musical influence in his mother who played piano and sang gospel music in church and jazz clubs. After studying at The New School University, Glasper began performing with Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett, Terence Blanchard, and Roy Hargrove. Glasper signed to Blue Note Records after his debut album Mood in 2003. Two acclaimed acoustic albums followed—Canvas (2005) and In My Element (2007). His 2009 album Double-Booked juxtaposed his acoustic Trio and hip hop-infused Experiment band. RGX's 2012 breakout Black Radio featured notable vocalists and laid out a new paradigm for creative music reaching beyond genre boundaries to create a singular vision that drew from all reaches of contemporary black music and won Best R&B Album at the 2013 GRAMMY(R) Awards. Black Radio 2 (2013) is another RGX genre-defying effort that took the Black Radio blueprint to even greater heights.
Singer-songwriter, Sebastian Mikael, was born and raised in Sweden and relocated to Boston in 2010 to attend Berklee College of Music and was signed by Slip-N-Slide Records' CEO Ted Lucas off of his ballad "Beautiful Life". As Sebastian stays on the road to promote the new single "Last Night", he is also putting the final touches to his hotly anticipated forthcoming full-length debut album "Speechless" due out in early 2014.
Sevyn Streeter is an award winning singer/songwriter, who has be called upon by a remarkable roster of top studio producers and A-list artists. Most recently, Sevyn contributed as a songwriter to Chris Brown's "Fine China," Tamar Braxton's "All The Way Home," Kelly Rowland's "Gone," and Ariana Grande's chart-topping hit, "The Way (Feat. Mac Miller)". Sevyn released her first solo debut EP "Call Me Crazy, But…" in December of 2013 and made an impressive debut at number 5 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, reaching the top 10 on iTunes overall albums chart and #1 on the R&B/Soul top album chart.
Start planning now for the 2014 ESSENCE Festival™!
July 3 - 6 | New Orleans, LA
The dates have been announced for our 20th annual Festival and weekend tickets are on-sale
with more information on performers, speakers and the weekend events to come. Be sure to follow and like us on social media, subscribe to our newsletter, and sign up for mobile text alerts to be one of the first to know how we'll celebrate in 2014 with the biggest and best Festival to date!