Amatuer talent from across the country graced the StarQuest stage once again during the tenth annual Taste of Soul Family Festival on Saturday October 17. Audience members enjoyed stellar performances by up and comers in music and dance, holding their own in the midst of heavy weights on the KJLH, WAVE and McDonald’s Gospel stages. Celebs like rapper/ actress Yo-Yo and Ro Brooks hosted the talent competition, which began in 2013.
Yo Yo (aka Yolanda Whitaker) graced the StarQuest stage for the third time, keeping the crowd entertained in between performances with clowning, dancing and even performing her classic hit “I Wanna Be Down” remix with fellow perfomers Brandy and Queen Latifah on recording.
Judges for the competition included Angie Stone (Grammy nominated singer, producer and actress) Elise Neal (actress, “The Hughley’s” “All of Us” , “HOLLYWOOD DIVAS”); Hosea Chanchez (actor, “The Game”, “For Your Love”); Donovan Carter (actor, “Ballers”) and Peter Wise (Tony and Grammy Award-winning Casting Director). The panel of judges for the kids’ competition was just as star studded including Doran Reed (Casting Director, BET Networks); Tina Treadwell (producer and talent manager); Willie Norwood (musician, vocal coach, “Brandy and Ray J – A Family Business); Rolanda Watts (media personality); Deniece Williams (Grammy and American Music Award-winning singer/songwriter); Paual Jai Parker (actress, comedian and producer, “Hustle & Flow”, “Friday”, “Sprung”) and Adanna Duru, (finalist on American Idol and The Voice). The winners from both competitions (Tia P for the adults and Terrence Smith for the kids) got to share their talents with the WAVE and KJLH audiences respectively.
“It means a lot to me give back to the community, so many people support me as an artist and I never get time to spend with them, so I’m really looking forward to mixing and mingling and hanging out in the crowd,” Stone said at this year’s TOS.
The StarQuest Adults Competition began at 11am, kicking off with Rapper Tia P who performed “Mobbin and Wobbin” written and produced by the artist. On her single, “it’s a real feel good song just being with your crew and just having a goodtime.” The singer’s eclectic hip hop sound and style is reminscient of Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae, she admits.
She considers these artists to have a heavy influence on her music. As the blustery afternoon moved on, and the competition ended, the real fun began with performances by emerging talent like singer Britt J fame of past StarQuest fame, students from the Debbie Allen dance academy and harmonizing quartet Girl.
Allen encouraged audience members to check out her students at their next big performance the Chocolate Nutcracker in December. Girl relaxed the crowd with renditions of Michael Jackson’s “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” and Sean Kingston’s “Suicidal”. Meanwhile, Britt J gave a glittery performance of her most recent recordings including the empowering “Save the World”.
Keep up with Starquest during the year on all of Taste Of Soul’s social media – tasteofsoulla.org, on Twitter @tasteofsoulla, on Facebook at TasteOfSoulLA and Instagram @tasteofsoulla, where you can find out information about participating in the 11th anniversary Family Festival in 2016.