Will kick-off on Thursday, July 7th with Jahiem, Monica and Lyfe Jennings
The Dell Music Center’s 2016 Essence of Entertainment Concert Season opens Thursday, July 7th with three platinum-selling music sensations: R&B singers Jaheim, Monica and Lyfe Jennings.
The three artists will headline the opening of the summer season at The Dell, a world-class amphitheater nestled in East Fairmount Park. Constructed in 1929 as the summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Dell is considered a cultural treasure offering top-notch amenities and quality entertainment at a fraction of the cost of comparable venues.
This summer’s line-up of stars includes:
• Jaheim: Jaheim shot to the top of the charts in the early 2000s with such hits as “Fabulous” and “Put that Woman First.” To date, Jaheim has sold more than five million records worldwide and earned three Grammy nominations.
• Monica: Monica is an R&B prodigy who first sprang to fame in 1995 at the age of 14 and became the youngest artist ever to achieve two No. 1 hits on the Billboard R&B singles chart in the same year, the back to back chart-topping singles “Don’t take It Personal” and “Before Your Walk Out of My Life.” Her 1996 song “For You I Will” appeared on the Space Jam film soundtrack.
• Lyfe Jennings: Lyfe Jennings is another platinum-selling R&B and soul singer-songwriter, record producer, and instrumentalist R&B and soul singer who The New York Times once called a “socially minded R&B singer.” He is best known for his songs “Ghetto Superman,” “More Than a Girl,” and “Must Be Nice.”
• Dennis Edwards and the Temptations Review: One of two original surviving members of the Temptations (along with Otis Williams) Dennis Edwards is a Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame member who sang lead on the songs, “Can’t Get Next To You” and “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” which were Motown’s first Grammy winning records.
• The Stylistics: The Stylistics is one of the best-known Philadelphia soul groups from the 1970s, when the group had 12 straight Top 10 hits in including “You are Everything,” “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” “Betcha by Golly, Wow,” I’m Stone in Love with You” and “Break up to Me.”
• Chi-Lites: The Chi-Lites are an R&B/soul vocal quartet known best for their hit songs from the early 1970s, “Have You Seen Her” and “Oh Girl”, which became a number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100.
• New Birth: New Birth is a funk and R&B band known best for its 1974 album “It’s Been a Long Time,” which included the hits “Wildflower” and the title track.
• Mary Mary: Mary Mary is a Grammy Award-winning American contemporary gospel duo, consisting of sisters Erica and Trecina Atkins-Campbell. The two sisters are often credited for expanding the popularity of urban contemporary gospel in the 2000s by introducing elements of soul music, hip hop, funk and jazz.
• Will Downing: Known as the “Prince of Sophisticated Soul,” Will Downing has firmly established himself as one of the most consistent performers of his generation and a leading artist of romantic, soulful music. His most recent and acclaimed album, “Chocolate Drops,” featured a cover of the late Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love for You.”
• Kenny Lattimore: Often called “The King of the Love Ballad,” Kenny Lattimore has spent the last 20 years writing and performing love songs that reflect his R&B / soul / jazz roots. His most recent album, released late last year, is titled “Anatomy of a Love Song.”
• Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly is a soul / quiet storm band established in the early 1970s by Frankie Beverly and is best-known for hit songs such as “Too Many Games,” “Back in Stride,” and “Lady of Magic.”
• Ledisi: Born Ledisi Anibade Young, Ledisi is a nine-time Grammy Award nominee R&B and jazz recording artist. In 2014 she released her seventh album The Truth in 2014, and also starred in the film Selma, in which she portrayed gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.
• Johnny Gill: Johnny Gill has been selling out venues around the country for three decades with his groups New Edition and LSG. His newest ballad, “This One’s For Me and You” featuring New Edition, recently hit the top of the Billboard Adult R&B Chart, making it Gill’s–and New Edition’s–first number one single in 20 years.
• Jodeci: Sometimes called “The Bad Boys of R&B” Jodeci in the early 1990s blended R&B, soul, gospel and new jack swing in a way that fans found to be flirtatious, edgy and relatable. Their debut single “Forever My Lady” hit number-one. Last year, Jodeci released “The Past, The Present, The Future,” their first album in 20 years.
• Avant: Avant is best known for hits such as “Separated,” “My First Love,” and “Read Your Mind.” A versatile singer, Avant has recorded with a diverse range of artists, including Lil Wayne and contemporary jazz multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson.
• Sheila E: Sheila E is a Grammy-nominated percussionist /drummer / singer whose list of collaborators includes Prince, Billy Cobham, Lionel Richie, George Duke, Ringo Starr, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Hans Zimmer, and Kanye West. She scored a massive hit in 1984 with “The Glamorous Life,” a song written by her mentor, Prince. Her next single “The Belle of St. Mark” hit the charts in the U.S., UK, Ireland, Netherlands and New Zealand.
• Morris Day and The Time: Morris Day was childhood friend of the late musician Prince, who died last month. Day was in a band with Prince in high school and the two worked together after Prince started his solo career. Day is well known for playing the antagonist in the 1984 film “Purple Rain,” which starred Prince. The two also starred in the 1990 sequel, “Graffiti Bridge.”
This summer, Tuesday Night at the Movies will again be on the menu at The Dell. Screening this summer are “War Room” on June 21; “Minions” on July 12; “Inside Out” on July 26; and “Creed” on August 18 and The Good Dinosaur on August 30. The movies are free to the public.
In addition, the summer spectacular will include:
• The Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra will return to The Dell this summer. Under the leadership of award-winning Music Director Jeri Lynne Johnson, BPCO performs classical music in a way that reflects the ethnic and gender diversity among its musicians while also fostering community engagement. PHILADANCO, long recognized for artistic integrity, superbly trained dancers and electrifying performances, will again grace The Dell stage in July. Founded in 1970, PHILADANCO has a legacy of breaking barriers and building bridges across cultural divides, consistently performing for audiences representing a blend of people from diverse communities. Part of its mission is to empower youth with crucial leadership and development skills that facilitate achievement and success in the world of dance and everyday life.
• Sheryl Lee Ralph returns to The Dell with her renowned “Divas Simply Singing” concert. Divas Simply Singing is the longest running benefit concert in the country in conjunction with World AIDS Day and utilizes star power to help raise money, awareness and erase stigma associated with patients who have contracted the disease. Last year’s Divas included Faith Evans, Kelly Price, Meli’sa Morgan, Carol Riddick, the Urban Guerilla Orchestra, Angela Winbush, Monifah, Matthew Schuler, Candace Benson and more.
The 2016 Essence of Entertainment lineup features the following performers:
July 7, at 7:00 p.m. Jahiem / Monica / Lyfe Jennings
July 14, at 7:00 p.m. Dennis Edwards & The Temptations Review / The Stylistics /The Chi-Lites / New Birth
July 21, at 7:00 p.m. Mary Mary / Chrisette Michele
July 28, at 7:00 p.m. Will Downing / Kenny Lattimore
August 4, at 7:00 p.m. Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
August 11, at 7:00 p.m. Ledisi/Keith Sweat
August 18, at 7:00 p.m. Johnny Gill / Jodeci / Avant
August 25, at 7:00 p.m. Morris Day & The Time /Sheila E
June 21 at 7:00 p.m. “War Room”
July 12 at 7:00 p.m. “Minions”
July 26th at 7:00 p.m. “Inside Out”
August 16 at 7:00 p.m. “Creed”
August 30 at 7:00 p.m. “The Good Dinosaur”
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