Erica Abi Wright (born February 26, 1971), better known by her stage name Erykah Badu ˈɛrɨkə bɑːˈduː/, is a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter, record producer, activist and actress. Her work includes elements from R&B hip hop and jazz. She is best known for her role in the rise of the neo soul sub-genre, and for her eccentric, cerebral musical stylings and sense of fashion. She is known as the "First Lady of Neo-Soul" or the "Queen of Neo-Soul
Early in her career, Badu was recognizable for wearing very large and colorful headwraps. For her musical sensibilities, she has often been compared to jazz great Billie Holiday. She was a core member of the Soulquarians, and is also an actress having appeared in a number of films playing a range of supporting roles in movies such as Blues Brothers 2000, The Cider House Rules and House of D. She also speaks at length in the documentary Before the Music Dies
Baduizm, Badu's highly acclaimed debut album, was released in early 1997 and debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts. Lead single "On & On" reached #12 on the singles charts in both the U.S. and UK. Badu received notice for her introspective lyrics and jazzy, bass-heavy sound, and was hailed as one of the leading lights of the burgeoning neo soul genre. Her particular style of singing drew many comparisons to Billie Holiday. Baduizm eventually went triple platinum and, along with "On & On", won Grammy Awards at the 1998 ceremonies.
Joe is a native of Cuthbert, Georgia and later moved to Opelika, Alabama. The son of two preachers, Joe spent much time in church singing, playing guitar, and even directing the choir. He was influenced in his early career by gospel performers such as: The Winans, Commissioned, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong. Joe also grew to love soul legends like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye as well as contemporary stars such as Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat.
While working at a gospel record store and continuing his music education through a local church, he met producer Vincent Herbert and recorded a three-song demo tape. He signed to Polygram/Mercury and in 1993 released his album debut, Everything. Joe also had a song called "All the Things" that appeared on the soundtrack to the Wayans Brothers film Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (the brothers later used songs from Joe in loves scenes in their various films over the years). Joe then signed to Jive Records for his 1997 album, All That I Am. This proved to be his breakthrough album, reaching #13 on the Billboard 200 chart, and number 4 on the US Billboard R&B chart.
Sisters with Voices, better known as SWV, is an American female R&B trio from New York City. Formed in 1990 as a gospel group, SWV became one of the most successful R&B groups of the 1990s. They had a series of hits,including "Weak."Right Here/Human Nature", "I'm So Into You", and "You're the One". The group disbanded in 1998 to pursue solo projects, and reunited in 2005.
Dr. Bobby Jones is Mr. Gospel himself, credited with taking Gospel Music to mainstream airwaves via cable television. Dr. Jones has been a mainstay and creative force behind the country’s most unique and original musical genre. Bobby Jones Gospel, for which he is best known as host and executive producer, has been seen on BET since November 1980 and is one of the network's most popular shows. Jones along with the New Life Singing Aggregation and The Nashville Super Choir performs all styles of gospel music and welcomes an array of gospel artist. The Bobby Jones Gospel Radio Show and The Bobby Jones Gospel Countdown, airs on The Sheridan Radio Network, has become a favorite of Gospel Music lovers from coast to coast.
Dr. Jones has revolutionized the gospel music industry. Bobby Jones Gospel is the first and only nationally network televised black gospel television show and Video Gospel, which debuted in 1989, is the only nationally network television outlet gospel artists have to showcase their videos. Born in Henry County, Tenn., Jones always dreamt of a career in music. He excelled academically throughout school, graduating from high school at 15 and Tennessee State University at 19 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. Jones continued his education by pursuing a master's degree at Tennessee State and a doctorate from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. Jones taught elementary students in the Missouri and Tennessee educational systems.
In his teaching days, Jones helped develop the idea for a Black Expo in Nashville, Tenn.
Jones introduced the pilot for what is now Bobby Jones Gospel to WSM-TV in Nashville. WSM-TV picked up the show that Jones created, co-produced and hosted. It ran in Nashville, Tennessee from 1976-1982.
During this period, Jones also created, produced and hosted Bobby Jones’ World, a magazine-style show that incorporated gospel music with world-renowned authors, entertainers and national leaders. Bobby Jones’ World ran from 1978-1984. Jones has extended his talents into the television and movie arena. In 1982, Jones made his television movie debut in NBC's Sister, Sister starring Diahann Carroll, Paul Winfield, Roslyn Cash and Irene Cara. In 1980 he wrote and performed in Make A Joyful Noise, a black gospel opera which aired on PBS; and in 1983, he was a guest on country music star Ronnie Milsap's television special, In Celebration.
In 1980, Jones received The Gabriel Award and an International Film Festival Award for writing and performing Make A Joyful Noise. He and his group, New Life, were nominated for a Grammy Award in 1982 for "Best Performance by a Black Contemporary Gospel Group" for the album Soul Set Free. In 1984, he received the Gospel Music Association's (GMA) Dove Award for “Black Contemporary Album of the Year,” a Grammy Award for "Best Vocal Duo for a Soul/Gospel Performance" for the single; “I'm So Glad I'm Standing Here Today” performed with country music star Barbara Mandrell, and a local NAACP Image Award. In 1990, he received the Gospel Music Association's Commonwealth Award for Outstanding Contribution to Gospel Music. In 1994, Jones was nominated for the Cable ACE Award. He resides in Nashville, TN and Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
For 24 seasons, “The Dr. Bobby Jones International Gospel Industry Retreat” was one of the most anticipated Gospel Music conferences in the country. With support from Gospel artists, industry executives, and music fans, the conference has influenced all with the desire to take God’s Music into the mainstream and make a mark that cannot be erased.
Black Entertainment Television, "Bobby Jones Gospel”, highest rated show on the network, The longest running show in the history of cable television, host and performer, 1980-current
Black Entertainment Television Network, "Video Gospel", second highest rated show on the network for eighteen years, the second longest running show in the history of cable television producer & host, 1986-Current
The Word Television Network, "Bobby Jones Gospel Classics" and "Bobby Jones Presents", 2001-current, producer & host
Bobby Jones Gospel Explosions, Training for television production, 1990-current
International Gospel Industry Retreat, Training, Association and Informing for the gospel industry, 1995-current
Bobby Jones comes from a rural poor background, he worked unyieldingly to bring his love for gospel music to the world. It could be said that, he is a simple country boy that loves the Lord, his family, his friends, his fans, and his supporters. One that has a tremendous love for gospel music, television, radio and stage. One that has sought to unite a part of this world in peace and love and will always do whatever he can to contribute to the betterment of humanity.
HEADLINER - Sun April 7th
Mary Mary is an American contemporary gospel duo, consisting of sisters Erica Atkins-Campbell (born April 29, 1972) and Trecina "Tina" Atkins-Campbell (born May 2, 1974). The duo are often credited along with Kirk Franklin for broadening the fan base of urban contemporary gospel in the 2000s by introducing elements of soul music, hip hop, funk and jazz. Mary Mary broke onto the music scene with their popular song "Shackles (Praise You)"—which is considered one of the pioneering songs of urban contemporary gospel music. The group's name, as stated in an interview is inspired by the two famous Mary's from the Bible; Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, and Mary Magdalene.
Their debut album thankful (2000) was certified Platinum. In addition, the duo has released three Gold albums: Incredible (2002), Mary Mary (2005), and The Sound (2008) which have all charted No. 1 on the BillboarD Top Gospel Albums. They have also received three Grammys, among other awards. In 2011, they released their fifth studio album Something Big with the hit single "Walking".
The sisters were born Erica Monique Atkins and Trecina Evette Atkins in California. In March 2012, they began their own television series, Mary Mary, on WE tv, which has been such a success that they are in the process of making a second season, which is due to begin in December 2012. Their most recently released album is their first compilation album, Go Get It (2012), with the hit single of the same name.
Kindred the Family Soul, also referred to as Kindred, are an American R&B, soul, and neo soul duo consisting of the married couple of Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon. Signed to Hidden Beach Recordings, Kindred emerged from the Philadelphia neo soul movement that also includes Jill Scott, who discovered them while the couple was performing at the Black Lily Film & Music Festival.
After two years of work on the CD, Hidden Beach issued their debut album Surrender to Love in February 2003, which included, among others, the songs "Stars" and "Far Away". Their follow-up album was 2005's In This Life Together—its title being a reference to Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee's 1998 book With Ossie & Ruby: In This Life Together—, spawning the single "Where Would I Be (The Question)The duo were nominated for a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Album, Group Band or Duo for Surrender to Love in 2004 and a BET Award for the BET J Cool Like That Award in 2006. The group's third LP, The Arrival, was released on October 21, 2008.
Marion Meadows is an American tenor saxophonist, soprano saxophonist, composer, and smooth jazz recording artist of Native American, African American and Caucasian descent. Meadows has released a total of 9 albums to date. Meadows was born in West Virginia and grew up in Stamford, Connecticut. He began playing the clarinet and studying classical music at the age of eight. In high school, Meadows began to play the soprano saxophone and played tenor through most of his college years.
His passion for music led him to appreciate the work of many jazz musicians such as Stevie Wonder and Duke Ellington. After studying jazz with Anthony Truglia, Meadows attended Berklee College of Music, where he majored in arranging and composition. He later went to the SUNY Purchase School for the Arts, where he studied under Ron Herder.
Leonard Charles "Lenny" Williams (born February 16, 1945, Little Rock, Arkansas) is an American singer known for his work in the R&B and soul music genres. During the 1970s, he was the lead vocalist for Tower of Power. As a soloist, he made several hit recordings, including 1977's Choosing You and 1978's mega hit Cause I Love You. A string of hits followed, including "So Very Hard To Go", "Don't Change Horses (In The Middle Of The Stream)" and "Luvin You", written by Williams and Johnny "Guitar" Watson