We all hear the whispers, chatter, and sometimes yelling that today’s music lacks soul, substance, and that sustaining sustenance that sonically feeds our spirits. In some cases that is true due to technology and the overwhelming amount of people entering the music industry to ironically “get paid.” We all know who those artists are, we see it on television, and yes we even hear them on the radio but in the end talent trumps hustle in long run.
On Friday night those artists that will be in it for the long run were on display at the BET Music Matters “Lipstick on the Mic” Grammy event held at the Belasco Theatre in Downtown LA, which is only a few blocks from the Staples Center where the Grammy’s would be held in two days.
As aspiring musicians, press, and music fans aligned the stage, VIP’s such as Sylvia Rhone, BET’s Stephen Hill and Kelly G, and a host of others moved throughout the crowd but would eventually join the other VIP’s in the balcony area.
As Marsha Ambrosius, Elle Varner, Stacy Barthe, Leah Labelle, and RaVaughn were set to grace the stage, their celebrity predecessors, A&R’s, and label reps adorned the rafters like proud kings and queens on the throne proudly looking down upon their offspring that would one day achieve musical royalty status as well. As comedian, Vanessa Fraction played host for the evening and the band set up, the anticipation was high and we were all ready to see why music really does matter.
Compound University/Columbia Records artist, RaVaughn would be the first to hit the stage and she didn’t disappoint. Ne-Yo, who was in attendance wore a smile as this young lady performed because he knows his protege absolutely smashed the stage. RaVaughn has a strong voice, stage presence, and just enough of the ferocious feminine fire to captivate a feminine audience while wowing the men simultaneously. If you missed our coverage of RaVaughn’s private showcase (Click Here)
When talking to Stacy Barthe on the red carpet, you sense that she is an amazingly sweet person and you would never know she has written for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Akon, Melanie Fiona and a host of others. When asked about finding her own voice in music, she said, “Although I write for others, I don’t have trouble finding my voice. I feel very blessed and honored that I get to share my gift with people. I can write for others and then go into my own space when it comes to me and I’m excited that I get share tonight.” Stacy Barthe has an amazing voice and
(For More BET MUSIC MATTERS CLICK NEXT) on stage it captures your attention. She is quite comfortable in her own skin on stage as she rocks Jordans, smiles gracefully, sings, and you find yourself lost in the gift she is sharing.
Leah Labelle adorns a tattoo on her right shoulder that means “Freedom” in Bulgarian. She is absolutely what the tattoo suggest; a very free spirit. Although she is sort of known for her Youtube videos in the studio with Pharrell, she admits that she isn’t much of studio person, “The studio is cool but it is way more technical because you have to sing things over and over until you get it right. On stage you are right there with the people giving it your all and just having fun in the moment. There is no feeling like it and I love to perform.” With her mentor Pharrell in the house, Leah didn’t disappoint. Using a combination of vocal ability, vixen like sex appeal, and dropping a few surprise covers along with original material she rocked out. Whether it was covering Vanity’s “Nasty Girl” or her mentor’s “Frontin,” Ms. Labelle was on point.
What can you say about Elle Varner: the voice of angel, masterful musicianship, and the charming personality of your favorite around the way girl. Before she hit the BET Music Matters stage, we caught up with her on the red carpet. When asked about who would she pick to be on the soundtrack to her life she said, “If I couldn’t be on it, then I would have to say give me some Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, and let’s put Mariah on there because she is writer. Dr. Dre on the production would be dope too.” It’s obvious that Elle is a hip-hop fan but once she hit the stage, the “Perfectly Imperfect” singer blessed us with an array of songs from her album displaying her awesome vocal talents and musicianship. She grabbed her guitar and performed an acoustic set as well and to top it all off, she had her father join her on stage as he grooved out on the keys. She even stopped the music in the middle of one song because she didn’t feel the sound was right and she wanted to give those in attendance the show she felt we deserved. She is quite funny on stage and commands the crowd with that personality of hers and obviously the talent.
Everyone’s favorite English singer-songwriter headlined the BET Music Matters event and she was well worth the wait. Marsha has in incredible voice and can do things vocally that most singers dream they could do but it’s not the voice, nor the musicianship that really makes her a great performer. It’s her ability to just have fun on stage. Yes, she showed her amazing range on her new single, “Cold War.” Yes, she played the keys as she gave us a classic performance, but it was in the moments where she rocked out to Trinidad James’ “All Gold Everything” or doing an encore performance of the classic “Soul Glo” theme song from the film, Coming to America that makes her more than likable. She is hilarious, extremely talented, and most importantly a real person.
On this surprisingly cold evening in Los Angeles just two days before music’s biggest night. real music lived and resonated throughout the Belasco Theatre from the front row to the rafters. It wasn’t just “Lipstick on the Mic,” it was Marsha Ambrosius, Elle Varner, Stacy Barthe, Leah Labelle, and RaVaughn proving to us and the world that BET wasn’t wrong when they acknowledged that MUSIC MATTERS. (FOR MORE BET MUSIC MATTERS PHOTOS CLICK NEXT)