FRIDAY, JULY 4
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.
A GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter, performer, producer and CoverGirl spokesperson, Janelle Monáe is known for her unique style and groundbreaking sound. In 2010, Monáe released the highly-anticipated and critically-acclaimed album The ArchAndroid, which earned her two GRAMMY Award nominations. In 2013, her celebrated album The Electric Lady reached No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. The video for the album’s first single, “Q.U.E.E.N.,” received a coveted MTV VMA Moonman. Monáe also received Billboard’s prestigious 2013 Rising Star Award.
Awarding winning producer and artist Nile Rodgers joins Prince for his epic Festival performance on the main stage. Stay tuned for more information on this artist.
Alice Smith is a passionate singer/songwriter/producer who has an unshakable sense of self and the attitude to match. Alice was raised between Washington, D.C., and Augusta, Georgia, on a steady diet of gospel, pop, soul and go-go. Her new album, She, is an intoxicating mixture of rock, pop and R&B that reveals Alice’s journey encompassing her disappointments and ultimate triumphs—and her story has never sounded so sweet.
Grammy-award winning artist Estelle’s climactic rise from local West London MC to Grammy Award-winning artist is the stuff of legends. Estelle burst on the international scene with her second album Shine. Her hit single “American Boy,” in collaboration with rapper Kanye West, won a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Song Collaboration, in addition to being nominated for Song of the Year and many other awards worldwide. Showing no signs of slowing down, Estelle recently launched her new independent label, taking full creative control of all her current and future music endeavors.
Of hundreds of hopefuls across the country and after a nationwide vote, Greta won the coveted title of Essence Magazine’s first R&B Star Search competition! Her first single, the soulful “You Should Know” released under legendary Malaco Music Group is available online everywhere. Greta has performed at the Essence Music Festival every year since winning her title and is humbled to perform again this year.
For talented R&B/Hip Hop singer/songwriter/pianist Kevin Ross, having his upcoming debut album, Dialogue in the Gray, get released on Motown Records in partnership with Verve Music Group and The Bar Entertainment, is a thrill, not least because he grew up idolizing Stevie Wonder, but his real goal is to make a mark in 2014, not merely try to repeat past glories. His entire approach is to blend the old-school soul music of his parents’ generation with the post-hip-hop cutting edge of today, which becomes clear on songs like the finger-snapping street corner doo-wop of the introspective “Pick You Up” or the hybrid R&B/rap of his interpretation of Kanye West’s “(Don’t) Say You Will,” featuring T.I.
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.
Naughty by Nature is a hip hop group that at the time of its formation in 1991, consisted of Treach, Vinnie, and the DJ Kay Gee. The group formed in East Orange, New Jersey, and first appeared on the music scene in the late 1980’s releasing an album titled The Independent Leaders, under their then name The New Style. Their first hit as Naughty By Nature was a track titled “O.P.P.” (“Other People’s Parts”), which sampled the The Jackson 5’s hit “ABC” and was released in 1991 on their self-titled debut album. Later they had multiple hits from their third and fourth albums, titled 19 Naughty III and Poverty’s Paradise respectively.
Stephanie Mills is one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music whose onstage energy and power inspires standing ovations wherever she performs. She is a legendary Grammy and America Music Award winning recording artist with five best-selling albums and ten Billboard #1 singles. Over the span of 35 years illustrious career, Stephanie Mills has distinguished herself as an actress and performer. Stephanie‘s critically acclaimed appearances in shows like the four-time Tony Award -winning “The Wiz” have assured her of her consistent and loyal fan base. Stephanie has an insatiable appetite for singing and looks forward to putting out new music in 2014.
In 1992, a trio of vocally talented women called SWV was introduced to the music world. The RCA debut, It’s About Time, produced a string of top ten R&B hits including: “I’m So Into You,” Right Here, Downtown, Weak, and You’re Always On My Mind. The group’s momentum is stronger than ever. SWV is excited to be touring this summer to promote their new album! SWV is one the world’s top selling female R&B groups of all time, and is striving continuously to be one of the hardest working female groups in the entertainment industry today! SWV secured their own reality series “SWV REUNITED” on WETv in 2013, and it was the #1 highest rated in network history. The series received over 1 million viewers weekly. The show has been renewed for a second season, and will return in the fall of 2014.