#TeamBeautiful got the chance to venture down to New Orleans for Essence Music Festival. With artists like Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliott, Floetry and Usher rocking the stage, we couldn’t be any more excited about the live shows.
We chatted it up with a few of the performers, Elle Varner, Sevyn Streeter, Kelly Price, B. Slade, Lalah Hathaway, Adrian Marcel, Nico & Vinz, Bilal and more backstage. Check out the fun video above and all the amazing things they’re working on below.
Elle told us that she doesn’t own a TV, but still watches the cult classic, Empire. We asked if she’s going to be on season two and she said: “Hey Lee! I should be [on ‘Empire.’]” Then she started singing “You’re So Beautiful” from the show and said, “I might be on another show. I’m ready ‘Empire.’”
Sevyn told us that she’s all about self-improvement. “I’ve had to do a lot of work on myself. I’ll be doing that for the rest of my life. I surround myself with people who don’t want you to be somebody else. You keep good people around you who want to help you build your confidence. Be careful who you hang around, those are the people who sew into your life everyday.”
And then we wanted to know how she came up with her stage name (which is now her legal name). She said,”My name is not Sevyn, it’s Amber. I was born on the 7th day of the 7th month at seven months. Seven followed me everywhere I go. Seven means perfection and completion and I changed my name is 2007. I went through something where I got everything I prayed for, God gave me and I felt spiritually completed. I’m also a perfectionist and it’s kinda bad.”
We all know the vocal prowess that Kelly possess, but did you know she gets down in the kitchen?
Kelly told us, “I have a Facebook page called ‘In The Kitchen With Kelly.’ It’s been neglected for a while. I loved it. I would tell people how to whip up something quick if guests came over.”
Kelly’s come a long way from only having her face be displayed in videos. Hiding was never a choice for her. She said, “I was underneath people and the things that happened were their decisions and they had a problem with it. There’s so many people out here that look like me. I represent the everyday woman. I don’t need to be perfect because if I’m perfect and the people watching want to be like me, they have this thing in their mind that’s like, ‘I could never be that.’ I don’t want people to look at me and idolize me as something unachievable, I’m the girl who made it out of this or that and if I can do it, you can do it too.”
And then Kelly wanted to introduce us to her musical “brother,” B. Slade. She said, “I am so ready to be in an audience with 60K people screaming, ‘B. Slade!’ I love his humility. He’s just real. He’s open, pure spirit and I love that about him, but that scares me because there’s so much out there that’s not like that. I have to be big sister protector.”
Nico & Vinz:
Nico & Vinz are musical newcomers, but their single, “Am I Wrong” was one of the hottest songs of 2014. They had no idea the song would soar like it has. They said, “We sat in the studio with all these dreams of our music touching people around the world. People in Norway would tell you it’s unrealistic for us to dream that big. We’re asking ourselves if we’re wrong for believing in these dreams. And if we’re wrong, we don’t want to be right. We weren’t sure about the song after we finished. After a while, we saw it climb the charts in all these countries.”
And we’re hoping they can continue the hype from “Am I Wrong” with the new song, ‘That’s How You Know.’
And last but not least, the most interesting mind in music–Bilal.
His music connects to the soul and the times and his single, “Lunatics” does just that. “We have folks out there doing stuff for evil, making their good the greater good. I’m trying to make music to bring about awareness. I just played the song in Baltimore and dedicated it to Freddie Gray and it was awesome. That’s why I do music. I want to connect to the culture and the time, you know? That’s why artists before us did and that’s why we remember them.”
Essence Fest Backstage: Bilal Punches People In The Head; Elle Varner On ‘Empire?’ & More was originally published on hellobeautiful.com