BET put its stamp of approval on five young, talented, and cutting-edge artists during the 3rd annual BET Awards Music Matters showcase on Monday, July 2nd at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in Los Angeles. They are the future of music and BET’s next music superstars: Jennah Bell, Austin Brown, Leah Labelle, Charles Perry and Jessy Wilson.
It was an evening under the stars. Each was brought to the stage accompanied by their bands—they performed live mini-sets of their new music. And all with the exception of Labelle are independent or unsigned recording artists.
The capacity crowd included Stevie Wonder, Chris Tucker, Spike Lee, Keyshia Cole and her husband Daniel Gibson, Jermaine Dupri, Katherine Jackson, LaToya Jackson and Rebbie Jackson.
Amalgamation says, “Jennah is that wonderful cross between Norah Jones and the late Phoebe Snow” Hailing from Oakland, CA, Jennah Bell is a singer, songwriter and musician whose sounds consist of alternative, folk and soul. Bell just wrapped a project entitled “Making Music Herstory,” that she hopes will promote the contributions of women in music. Bell is currently living in New York City where she is carving her niche in musical sound. Jennah Bell also performed on the BET Awards 12 show.
It’s apparent why Brown is such a polished stage performer; he is heir apparent to the Jackson family legacy. The audience was privy to a performance of his debut single “Menage A Trois,” a driving dance track that allowed Brown to display those precision-like dance moves. Brown is the son of Rebbie Jackson. It was both Rebbie and his uncle Michael who encouraged the young singer-songwriter to follow his heart and love of music. “I was lucky to be born into a family that lives and breathes music,” says Austin, “but it’s important that I forge my own path.” Austin’s done just that, developing his skills as a performer and writer, including ghost-writing for several prominent artists. His stunning sound combines the soul and harmony of late 70s R&B with the rhythms of modern electronic pop. Austin is currently putting the finishing touches on his debut album Highway 85, due for release later this year.
Leah Labelle is a brave individual who knows her destiny in life. Being persistent and determined got her backstage at a NERD concert to meet Pharell Williams. Once backstage she told him he would one day be producing her music. She wasn’t lying! Her confidence led to her break as a solo act when she signed a joint deal with Epic Records, So So Def and Pharrell’s I Am Other in 2011. The talented vocalist recently released “Sexify,” the lead single from her upcoming studio debut.
Charles Perry may be from Brooklyn, but his Soul had to have come from the deep South. His is a gifted and bluesy vocalist, who in just a couple of songs (you’ve gotta check out “My Mother Hates My Father”) scatted, hollered, and so innately mimicked the sound of a trumpet. Charles has a larger-than-life personality to match his voice. The late Luther Vandross once took then 16 year-old Charles aside to describe his singing as “ferocious” and predicted a long-lasting solo career. Since then, Charles has become a New York Times-worthy singer and has performed alongside superstar artists including Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Usher, and Whitney Houston. After finishing his recent touring with Blackstreet’s Dave Hollister and British R&B star Estelle, Charles is focused on his upcoming solo album–an epic, electrifying, and barrier-breaking sonic adventure. Charles Perry also performed on the BET Awards 12.
As a background artist for Alica Keys and John Legend would only be the beginning of her ongoing singing career. Jessy Wilson’s discovered her passion for writing while touring with John Legend, producing Grammy nominated hits. She has co-wrote for many artist such as, Fantasia, Ledisi, Usher, Mario, and Keyshia Cole. Jessy is currently working on her forthcoming album, which is set to release later this year.
For more info, visit www.bet.com/musicmatters