October 18, 2012
The StarQuest Singing Competition, a Bakewell Media Production, held auditions last Thursday at the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Plaza, to find our community’s next singing sensation. Hundreds of contestants gathered to compete onstage at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, vying for the chance to sing before thousands at the Taste of Soul Family Festival. Among an array of talented artists, semi-finalists were chosen to perform at the Taste of Soul on Saturday, October 20 from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
The hopefuls nervously assembled before the sizeable crowd of mall patrons as they waited to take center stage. For many, the stage symbolized more than an opportunity to compete American Idol style in front of judges, executive producer, Tony Cornelius (son of Don Cornelius, the legendary Soul Train Creator), Yvette Bailey (former Soul Train Producer), talent executive, Rayva Harrell, (Nickelodeon’s All That, The Steve Harvey Morning Show), Brandon I. Brooks (co-managing editor of the Los Angeles Sentinel the Watts Times) and Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. (creator and executive producer of StarQuest and Taste of Soul, chairman of Bakewell Media and executive publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Sentinel and the Watts Times). The quest for stardom would not be complete without the presence of actual stars. Celebrity guest judges including Kel Mitchell, Nickelodeon’s Kenan And Kel, Jazz Raycole from the Soul Man TV Series and Marilyn Batchelor, Universal Records executive, made an appearance. The competition represented an opportunity that could be potentially life-changing.
“My Mom heard about [the competition] on the radio and called me,” said Shandrella Rayford. “She told me this could be it; this could be my chance, so I showed up!”
One 12 year old in particular moved the room with his velvety smooth voice. Convinced that he has what it takes to be the winner, Solomon shared what he thought made him the best in the room.
“I’m going to win because I’m amazing and I know I can sing,” the 12 year old boasted.
StarQuest semi-finalists selected to perform at the Taste of Soul on the StarQuest Stage are: Adrian Battle, Beau Williams, Britt J, Carla Bagnerise, Cherose, Corinna Brown, Duprice, Goward Horton, Herman Chamblee, Jacnique, Kyra Smith, LaMarr “Deuce” Lubin, Lloyd Perodin, Mabvuto, Mo-Que, Phallon Brown, Ria Borman, Rory Darvel, Solomon, Tanek Montgomery, Tarsha Rodgers, Tommie Rae Powell, Rashondra Angelle and Pamela Bellamy-Franklin.
From the list of semi-finalists, two will be selected. One finalist will perform on the Radio Free KJLH (102.3 FM) stage and the other on The Wave (94.7 FM) stage. They will perform in front of an expected crowd of 250,000 people.
The StarQuest guest performers will be the House of Vibe All Star Band, Dijon Talton, Megan Moret, Sahiba, SledgeGrits and Yours Truly.
StarQuest celebrity hosts will be Kim Whitley (NBC’s Animal Practice), Joe Torry (Def Comedy Jam, House Party, Poetic Justice, Hall of Fame), Ray J (The Rickey Smiley Show, Recording Artist, For the Love of Ray J TV Show), Wesley Jonathan (The Soul Man, City Guys, What I Like About You), Kyle Massey (Dancin w/the Stars, Disney, That’s So Raven), Christine Devine (Fox News, Wednesday’s Child), Ernest Thomas (Rog on “What’s Happenin” Everybody Hates Chris, Malcolm X), Jazz Raycole (The Soul Man, The Nina Simone Story) and Kel Mitchell (Back House Party, Good Burger, Kenan and Kel Show).
In the true spirit of entertainment and community involvement, the quest for our city’s finest stars is underway on the StarQuest Stage.
We look forward to seeing you, your friends and family at the StarQuest Stage at the Taste of Soul on October 20 from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Photo by Troy Tieuel