R&B dead? Nah, definitely not.
Last night at NYC's Stage 48, the Fifth Annual Blitz Showcase took place highlighting accomplished music stars and their younger, rising contemporaries. From Ciara to Tamia to Avery Wilson and Real Husbands of Hollywood star Nelly, there were absolutely no dull moments throughout the evening.
For starters, the newbies that were front and center last night were spectacular. One of Def Jam’s newest signees, Alessia Cara impressed with her strong vocals and musical intuition that goes far beyond her years, impressing the audience with her single “Here.” Equally impressive was Avery Wilson, who rose to fame after The Voice and becoming a Vine star that Clive Davis noticed, took under his wing and ultimately signed. Wilson covered Donny Hathaway’s “A Song for You” and The Weeknd’s “Earned It,” making both songs his own and leaving a mark by closing with his single “If I Have To.”
Throughout the night, Alicia Keys and Timbaland debuted new music on stage, which got fans extremely excited to know that two of this generation’s best composers were back in the studio, inspired and ready to shake things up.
Another legend that had a lot to say was Sean Combs aka Diddy aka Puff Daddy. The mogul announced he’s starting a new Puff Daddy and the Family movement: “I’m a great platform for people — I’m a ringmaster,” he said in regards to how he can help usher in the next generation’s music stars. He later closed with his music video for “Finna Get Loose.”
However, one of the night’s highlights was Rita Ora’s performance of “Body on Me.” Besides her amazing Vera Wang look, the British songstress showed her most raw side yet — her soulful side. Backstage before performing, she told BET.com that she was ready for this moment because last night was the first time that she was really going to sing something that she was incredibly inspired by since her love for R&B runs deep. As for why this moment is perfect to shine a light on her passion, Rita said, “You know, it came from me being in the industry and not everyone around me and really reminding myself that I’m only in it because I love music. So, I went back to what I loved and I listened to, all of the classics of everything I loved growing up — Floetry, everything I loved — and I thought, ‘Let me just try this out.’ And then ‘Body On Me’ came.”
After hours of undeniably good music, it was clear that R&B isn’t dead, it’s thriving with rookie artists and seasoned vets both promising us a bright future full of the soul and love that we all need to hear.
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(Photo: Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)
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