One of the biggest struggles as an artist from a small town is the lack of exposure available in a small market. Although the Internet has made it easier to be seen from anywhere, larger market cities still seem to get more respect in the entertainment industry. For example, how many people really knew about Gary, Indiana, until the Jackson Five emerged, and that was after they were signed by Motown Records in Detroit – a much larger market.
The same issue still seems to plague the Delaware music scene even with people like hip-hop producer Sap, and DJ Bran paving the way as the First State's local stars. One way that Delaware can expand its reach is to connect with major markets in the area, and with Delaware's location, places like Philly, Baltimore, D.C. and New York should know about the talent that we have to offer.
One local artist is looking to take local talent to one of those major markets – only 45 minutes away in Philadelphia. Longtime Delaware resident and Philadelphia native Robert "Rob C" Cummings will present the For The Love of Music concert on Monday night. The show features an all-Delaware lineup at Warm Daddy's on – ironically – Delaware Avenue in Philadelphia. The lineup features some of the best vocalists the 302 has to offer, with artists like MzYola, Mylezia, Miss Daja, Ronnie Mickens and Rob C himself headlining.
I got the chance to talk with Rob about his upcoming concert, the difference between old and new R&B, and why it's important to connect the Delaware and Philly music scenes.
Q: So is this the first concert at Warm Daddy's that you've had full control over?
A. Yes this the first time I've put on my own full showcase at Warm Daddy's. I have performed there many times before but this time I got the chance to pick the entire lineup as well as be the headliner! It's a beautiful thing as well as a little stressful at times.
Q: How did the event come together?
A. I have done many performances in the past at Warm Daddy's, and I was approached by Lyn Brown and J Allen productions and they offered me my own show. They said they saw previous performances and liked what they saw, so they basically gave me full control over whoever I wanted to perform as well as the theme and title of the event. It's definitely been a process to get to this point but I'm blessed to have the opportunity.
Q: What was your main goal that you wanted to accomplish when you started putting together this show?
A. Well, I'm from West Philadelphia originally but Delaware is my home, and it was here where I really developed my true love for music when I started working with DJ Big Easy. So my goal when putting together this concert was to highlight people from Delaware who were on the same grind that I'm on. Delaware has so much talent but we need to be seen in places other than just Delaware, so that was my goal for this event.
Q: Why call it, "For the Love of Music?"
A. I named it "for the love of music" because every artist performing is doing it because we love music. Making it in the music industry is tough and doesn't yield many benefits in the beginning. You can't start off doing this for money or anything else other than the love of music itself. Delaware gave me that love and passion so I had to give back by putting on other artists from Delaware who love music just as much as me.
Q: So, one by one, tell me about the lineup for Monday and why you chose them as the artists you wanted to perform.
A. Miss Daja: Daja has been doing music for a long time; we met through my DJ Big Easy who was working with both of us at the time. She has been putting in work for a long time and did a song that featured Nicki Minaj in 2010. She is like a sister to me and we have always supported each other, so she was one of the first people I thought of when I put this together.
Ronnie Mickens: I actually went to high school with Ronnie. He recently got off of tour with Patti LaBelle and has been branching out as a solo artist so I wanted to give him a platform to display his talent.
MzYola: She is somebody that I've always had a love for. Her sound fits this event so well because she has such a soulful voice. I knew while putting this together that Warm Daddy's was a great venue and fit her skill set very well.
Mylezia: She's a brand new face to the scene who has been making a lot of noise in the tri-state area. She reminds me so much of myself when I first started out and will bring that energy that the crowd will gravitate towards. She's about to be on a 20-city tour, as well as getting interviews left and right, so I had to make sure she came and blessed the stage.
Q: Once it's all said and done, what do you hope to have accomplished by Monday night?
A. I just want people to see how much amazing talent is in the First State. We have to bridge the gap and reach out to Philly so they can help us get out there. As our closest major market they are major players to the success of all artists in Delaware, no matter what genre you're in.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: "For the Love of Music" Starring Rob C, presented by Lyn Brown Music Group and J Allen Productions
WHEN: Monday, June 1. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8p.m.
WHERE: Warm Daddy's Riverview Plaza, 1400 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia
COST: $15 in advance, $20 at the door
MORE INFO: Go to www.UrbanTix.com for more info