As one of the biggest showcases in New York City, “RnB Spotlight: Rising All Stars of R&B,” the semi-monthly showcase manned by CEO Cory Taylor, will return on June 21 at SOBs. The show zooms in on the next generation of R&B superstars such as Suzy Q, Andre Davis, Daria Jones and more.
Here, VIBE talks with Taylor to discuss the showcase’s impact and how the genre needs the spotlight once again. Check them at www.rnbspotlight.com.—Mark Braboy
VIBE: Tell me about your background.
Cory Taylor: I grew up in Virginia and currently reside in Virginia Beach, Va. I started co-managing Coko from SWV then I became her manager on her second gospel project. She then brought me in to SWV to manage them for over seven years.
What can we expect from the showcase this Sunday.
“RnB Spotlight” is a showcase that I started over six years ago. It is a platform for up-and-coming and established artists to come out and promote their new music to showcase their gifts and talents. We’ve had everyone from Musiq Soulchild, Faith Evans, SWV, Carl Thomas, RL from Next, Marsha Ambrosius, Tweet and Mario Winans. We’ve had a lot of celebrities and major artists come out and support our event, but it’s really established for up-and-coming artists. [Sunday’s show] would be our first time dedicating the entire event to up-and-coming artists.
How do you pick these artists? What makes them the best of the best?
I had them [perform at SOBs] before. Based on their vocal ability, stage presence and style, I take a lot of things into consideration. I just don’t want everyone sounding and looking alike. Everyone that I picked has their own different style.
What do you think R&B is missing that your showcase provides?
People say R&B is dead, but I disagree. I just think we need to put the spotlight on R&B. The labels need to pay attention to these type of artists that are coming up because they have a great sound, great look, a great presence about them, great vocals. But a lot of times what we’re calling pop is nothing more than R&B. Sam Smith from the UK is nothing more than an R&B artist to me disguised as pop. R&B is not dead, it’s still out there. We just got to shine the light more on R&B and pay attention to these artists. When I grabbed SWV, they had been gone for over 15 years. People are saying that they’ve been gone too long and I beg to differ. When they were gone, it was challenging but they still had a great sound. They made classic, timeless records. That’s why they’re still able to continue to tour. I just think R&B has so much more to do out there. That genre is not dead at all because they continue to bring attention to it and that’s why I started this showcase because there’s so many up-and-coming R&B artists. They really don’t have any avenues and platforms for anyone to take time out to work with them.
Why do you think that is?
There’s no interest because R&B doesn’t sell anymore. Again, the spotlight is more on rap, pop, even country! R&B doesn’t sell like it used to and the labels are scared to take a chance on these artists.
And your spotlight is to change all of that?
My spotlight is to help. To bring attention back to R&B and that’s my goal. We started out at BB King’s and we’ve moved over to SOBs and we’ve been going six years strong.