SUNDAY, JULY 6
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.
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(R)-nominated albums, including his 2014 GRAMMY(R)-nominated song, “If I Believe” from the Love, Charlie album.
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.
2013 was a break-out year for Tamar Braxton as she solidified herself as one of R&B’s leading divas. The Grammy Award-nominated singer, songwriter, and television producer released her #1 debuting album Love and War, starred in and produced two hit tv shows (Braxton Family Values and Tamar & Vince) and co-hosted FOX’s daytime talk show The Real. In support of the record, she performed to packed houses across the U.S. on a 30-city tour supporting John Legend, engaged in a whirlwind European promo run, and even picked up two 2013 Soul Train Awards, after performing at the event in Las Vegas. She also released her very first holiday album, Winter Loversland. On top of it all, she gave birth to her first son, feeling like as she puts it, “I won!”
August Alsina was born and bred from the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana. His brother’s death, which came days before his 18th birthday, became his motivation to enter into the game & not become a statistic. The 21-year-old is pursuing his musical aspirations on an entirely new level. His recently inked deal with Def Jam Recordings looks to be a great step in the right direction. Already a lifetime of experiences behind him, August is living proof that your past does not have to dictate your future, and that life’s hardships can be the motivation required for success. Recently named one of Shazam’s “Artists to Watch for 2014”, and coming off a 30 city US tour this past February/March with 2 Chainz and Pusha T, bet on hearing a lot more from August Alsina for years to come.
Day26, the R&B/Hip Hop Group formed by Sean "Diddy" Combs during MTV’s Hit Reality Show “Making the Band 4, has sold over 1 million albums and singles collectively. They also won Best R&B Group at the 2009 BET Awards. In 2008, their single, "Got Me Going", earned Digital download of the year honors. After taking a break to pursue solo endeavors, Day26 has reunited. All 5 members have committed to recording a new album and are also set to embark upon a 30 city United States Tour. Other major celebrities and hot upcoming artists will also participate in this long overduetour; a reunion, that has been requested and highly anticipated by Day26 fans nationwide.
Elle Varner exploded into the music scene and to the top of the charts when her self-penned, 11-song debut album, PERFECTLY IMPERFECT (MBK Entertainment/RCA Records), 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 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 this year.
George Tandy, Jr's debut radio release "March", reached a historical #3 on the Billboard Adult R&B Chart. George creates brilliant music that is rich with honesty, vulnerability and raw emotion. You can call it R&B, Folk Music or even call it Jazz. Some call it Soul, with a hint of Hip Hop and note his Classical music influences. No matter what you call it, you are correct every time. George personally prefers to call his music "SOULternative."
With over 8 million records sold across 7 studio albums (5 of them gold or multi-platinum), Jagged Edge is one of the most successful R&B groups in music. For nearly two decades, J.E. has issued numerous Top 10 singles under So So Def, including “Let’s Get Married,” “He Can’t Love You,” “Promise,” “Where the Party At” and “Walked Outta Heaven.” The group has won three Billboard Awards, two Soul Train Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Music & Dance Awards and has earned various Grammy, BET, and American Music Award nominations. Performing since 1996, Jagged Edge has remained together as a unit and is one of the longest-lasting platinum-selling music groups with original members Brian and Brandon Casey, Kyle Norman and Richard Wingo.
Price’s double-platinum debut, Soul of a Woman, featured the record-breaking single, “Friend of Mine.” The song made history as the first to garner the #1 spot on the singles chart without an accompanying video clip, a rare feat during the era when music videos were the driving force of popular culture. She returned to center stage three years later with the platinum-plus seller, Mirror, Mirror, led by her remake of the R&B classic, “As We Lay,” and followed up with the gold-selling holiday collection, One Family: A Christmas Album in 2001. Three years after releasing Priceless, she returned to her roots for This Is Whom I Am, a live gospel album recorded at her church home in Long Island. The album included the uplifting single, “Healing,” which not only reached the top of the gospel charts, but was also credited and awarded at the 2007 ASCAP Awards as one of the top five songs played across both R&B and Gospel genres during 2006. She also released the simply titled Kelly a few years ago. Along her journey, she’s collaborated with the likes of Mariah Carey, George Michael, Elton John, The Isley Brothers, Brian McKnight and Sean “Diddy” Combs as well as Faith Evans, Whitney Houston, Donnie McClurkin, Eric Clapton, the late James Brown, Shirley Murdock.She’s also taken her talents to the screen and stage with roles in Soul Food, the series Bringing Down the House and the stage plays Why Did I Get Married? and The Bible Experience. In 2005, she added the title of ‘self-published author’ to her resume with the release of the inspirational tome, Inscriptions of My Heart. The audio book is currently in the works.Seven-time Grammy nominated R&B star Kelly Price has a new album Sing Pray Love Vol. 1 currently available.
Three-time Grammy-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 9 years, in addition to his most current and fourth studio album, “A Place Called Love Land” (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.
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.