One of my favorite parts of an awards show is when the audience is invited on a trip to the past! This normally includes bringing back an old cast of a classic tv show for a mini-reunion or giving legendary groups and singers a chance to show us that they still got it. That is exactly what happened at the 2017 Soul Train Awards. If we are being honest, the old school didn’t look old at all. Let’s be clear, the new cats like Ro James, Jessie J, and ESPECIALLY Luke James did their thing. Unfortunately, they are in a very small category of singers today that actually have any type of vocals, stamina, and stage presence, in that order.
Hearing Luke James go up about 786 octaves shook my little soul to the core, but I am sure most would agree that the night truly belonged to SWV, Miss Toni Braxton, and 112. They all hit the stage like they never left. The choreography was clean and smooth, the vocals were information, 99% of the notes were hit accordingly while they were executing their dance moves, and most importantly, their microphones stayed on! Before I continue, I can honestly say I was not watching the awards show through my nostalgia glasses. As excited as I may have been, I was ready to watch, enjoy, and critique. I hold these artists to an extremely high standard and expect nothing less when they step back on stage. I was not disappointed in the least. Yet, I will say during Toni Braxton’s performance, it did feel as if her mic was a little low near the end of the set. It may have been a technical issue or the band could have been drowning her out. Either way, I was all the way here for it.
I hope that performances of this caliber serve as the swift kick in the rear that a lot of artists need. Look at how much effort was put into an entertainer’s craft from the 60s to the 90s. Compare it to the effort that is being shown today. There is an enormous difference. You cannot put in 25% effort and expect 100% excellence. Time, practice, dedication, and performance are prime examples of correlation and causation. Why do a lot of older artists and groups still sound and look amazing on stage? It is because that “old school grind” was instilled in them when they were new artists, and it has stayed with them. All this to say, I just want these newer artists to take notes and pay attention. Strive to be nothing less than great. Strive to be an artist that does not have a shelf life. Simply be timeless.
Have Peace in Your Presence