HOTTER THAN JULY!!!
Two weeks ago, I was visiting family and friends in NYC, and before my vacation in NYC, I was excited to find out that there was going to be a show at the Marcus Garvey Park Summerstage in Harlem on August 11th. The show was titled “Hotter Than July: Soul Train Tribute to Stevie Wonder.” I was also excited to find out that some of my independent soul artists were included in the tribute such as MiKA, Darien, Asa Lovechild, Vivian Sessoms, Chris Rob, Melanie Charles, Clayton Bryant, and last but not least, my girl Gloria Ry’ann, all backed up by the Jesse Fischer and Soul Cycle band. This event was going to be the icing to my Sunday Funday, my vacation in NYC, and possibly my 21 years of life **giggles**.
My dad and I arrive at Summerstage in Harlem that afternoon, and the first person we see is none other than Mr. Marko Nobles of InJoy Enterprises and RhythmAndSoulRadio.com. I was very delighted to meet him; he’s so amazing at what he does for the independent soul movement. My dad and I were very happy to be sitting close to the stage enough for us to take pictures and videos of the event. As we finished enjoying the opening act of IllStyle, a dope and out-of-this-world hip-hop dancing group from Philly, it was time to get the show on the road. The whole crowd begins to warm up and dance to Stevie Wonder tracks and other soul and house music before the show had begun. Everybody was having a blast, including myself as I videotaped and danced at the same time. Several minutes later, I see the Jesse Fischer and Soul Cycle band and DJ Spinna get ready for the show.
As soon as the 7pm hour hit, there goes the band playing and Asa Lovechild comes on the stage, performs her tribute to Stevie, and gets funky and rocks out with the crowd…I was definitely feeling it. Asa is just awesome, and her voice is so unique and out of this world. During her performance, my dad and I see a lady with long, curly black hair and bangs wearing a white Superman logo T-shirt peeking from backstage, and she begins to wave right at me…it is Glow, aka Gloria Ry’ann! My face just lights up with excitement and even more when MiKA comes out from backstage and both ladies start to wave and blow kisses at me and my dad. I immediately wave and show them love right back. Both ladies and Clayton Bryant then come onto the stage to support Asa in background vocals. Melanie Charles then performs her version of “My Cherie Amour”…I loved it! She’s such a fantastic flutist, as well. Clayton performs his Stevie piece and I just fall in love with his voice. His voice is so smooth and beautiful. Glow peforms her version of “I Was Made to Love Her”…you guys don’t even have to know how I felt about her performance, being that I talk of her and her soaring 4 1/2 to 5-octave range like Minnie very, very often **wink wink**. MiKA’s tribute to Stevie was so awesome and I highly enjoy her music and her voice (check out her album “Confirmations” on iTunes). Darien’s cover of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”…you betta SANG, bro! Vivian Sessoms: her voice is sooo POWERFUL. Loved her tribute to Stevie; it had me, the band, and crowd rocking out with her! Last but not least, Chris Rob’s beautiful ballad. His voice touches me, especially in his performance. The way he plays the keys in his tribute: PERFECTION. All performers gather for the finale covering “Sir Duke,” and everybody started a Soul Train line! It was a blast!
After the tribute, my dad and I decided to meet some of our friends, aka the performers. I immediately spot Glow’s face floating in the crowd. We see each other and give each other a HUMONGOUS hug. We were expressing our feelings as to how we were so happy to see one another. I was surprised that she was my height **giggles**. Glow is just as beautiful in person, and her smile is so bright that it can light up an entire room…awwww. Beautiful moment that I will never, EVER forget. Such a true sweetheart she is. As both my dad and Glow give each other a big hug, I see MiKA right in front me, and we both expressed our feelings as well. We were very happy to see each other, and she’s such a beautiful person inside and out as well…love her so much. My dad hugs MiKA, and my moment gets even more beautiful from there. I get on the stage and meet Asa Lovechild, and she is just a ball of positive vibes and energy. Love that lady! She took me to meet DJ Spinna, which was awesome. Glow introduces me to singers Karen Bernod and Lorenda Robinson of Brown Baby Girl. Such talented women with wonderful voices and wonderful personalities…love. She also introduced me to saxophonist Rakiem Walker of the Rakiem Walker Project (whom you can check out unplugged every Monday night at Red Rooster Harlem around 7pm).
It was such a pleasure meeting these talented musicians, and to those whom I haven’t been able to meet because of the NYC traffic, you guys were awesome. The show was a blast, and this will NOT be my last real concert I go to, although it was my first. Going to that free event taught me something: whether if you go to a show or open mic events, buy CDs or download MP3 tracks, or view videos and performances on the web, television, DVDs, or on video cassettes, ALWAYS support independent music and independent artists.