The 11th annual Taste of Soul (TOS) is officially two days away and the lineups for the stages are well underway.
Since 2008, Radio Free 102.3 KJLH, which is sponsored by Buffalo Wild Wings this year, has been a media partner with the Taste of Soul Festival providing some of Hollywood’s hottest talent.
Danny Bakewell Sr., creator and founder of Taste of Soul and chairman of Bakewell Media, believes it’s empowering to have a great partnership with the station. “We are very excited about the artists performing at this year’s Taste of Soul. KJLH’s history is just like the Sentinel’s history—it’s one about serving the community and always making African Americans the priority. So, we are excited to have KJLH as a part of Bakewell Media’s eleventh annual Taste of Soul,” he said.
Stevie Wonder, legendary musician and owner of KJLH, has participated in the Taste of Soul for several years now. Who knows, you may see him pop up at the KJLH music stage during the artists’ performances.
This year, the radio station is celebrating TOS’s eleventh anniversary by bringing back some local talent and artists such as MAJOR., Guordan Banks, Mike Phillips, and Jazmine Sullivan.
Major Johnson Finley aka Major made his debut this year but he’s been working behind the scenes with music credits in box office hit movies such as “Think Like a Man 2.” On May 6, Major released two singles: “Keep On” featuring Kevin McCall and “Why I Love You.” Both songs can be found on iTunes. Producer and friend Harmony Samuels compares Major’s sound to the great Frank Sinatra. Major has a distinct voice that fuses the charm of yesteryear with the high power impact of today. His live show is incredible as he has the infectious ability to bring us all to the table for one epic exchange of greatness. On July 22, Major release his album “I Am MAJOR.”
Philadelphia native Guordan Banks is a songwriter and contemporary R&B singer with a smooth, mildly raspy delivery. His mood-diverse debut EP/mixtape “A Song for Everyone” appeared in 2014 and offered featured performances by Ayo and rappers Meek Mill, Omelly, and Wale. It was released on Mill’s Dream Chasers Records. Guordan’s music is steeped in conversation, rich with textured melodies and velvety harmonies. His subjects range from the big moments to the small ones—the need for world unity and healing, the ins and outs of romance lost and found, the intricacies of incarceration.
Mike Phillips hails from Mount Vernon, NY. He became interested in music at a young age eventually settling on the saxophone. By the age of 16, he decided to play professionally. Phillips and his soulful yet funky grooves have wowed fans across the globe and earned standing ovations from audiences at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival and the inaugural balls for President’s Clinton and Obama. His television credits include performances on the Grammys, BET Awards, BET Honors and the Soul Train Awards. Phillips also served as musical director and host of the popular BET program “Lyric Café”.
Contemporary R&B sing Jazmine Sullivan spent several years learning the ropes of the recording industry before signing to J Records and making her solo recording debut in 2008 with the number one R&B single “Need U Bad.” The Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter began her career at a young age, making her national television debut on Showtime at the Apollo at age 11 and signing to Jive Records at age 15. Her stint at Jive lasted only a couple years, however, and she was dropped by the label before any recordings were released. Afterwards, she began working behind the scenes with artists like Missy Elliott on productions for Fantasia’s debut album, “Free Yourself” (2004), and writing a couple songs for Christina Milian’s third album, “So Amazin’” (2006), including the hit single “Say I.” Sullivan was then offered a solo recording contract with J, which released her debut single, “Need U Bad,” featuring and co-produced by Missy Elliott, in 2008. “Fearless”, her debut album, featuring productions by Salaam Remi and Stargate, among others, was issued that September. It topped the R&B chart and crossed over to reach number six on the Billboard 200, aided by “Bust Your Windows” and “Lions, Tigers & Bears” — both of which went to the Top Ten of the R&B chart. Sullivan followed it up with November 2010’s” Love Me Back”, which was previewed with the July single “Holding You Down (Goin’ in Circles).” After her success and an impressive total of 11 Grammy nominations, Sullivan took a break. She returned in 2014 with “Dumb” (featuring Meek Mill), “Forever Don’t Last,” and “Mascara” were released as the first singles from her third album, “Reality Show”.
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