By Michael Hamersly | firstname.lastname@example.org/11/2014
A glance at Jazz in the Gardens’ growth over its nine years brings to mind the famous ad slogan: You’ve come a long way, baby.
The festival’s modest beginnings in 2006, when it attracted a grand total of 2,500 people, couldn’t have foretold the success to come. Today, Jazz in the Gardens — which hits Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on Saturday, March 15 and Sunday, March 16 — is a major international draw, attracting multiple Grammy Award-winning artists and commanding mad respect within the industry.
Last year, the festival drew 63,000 fans on the strength of headlining acts Charlie Wilson, Babyface, Ne-Yo, New Edition, Fantasia and Earth, Wind & Fire.
This year, the star power reaches even higher, with rapper and Grammy host LL Cool J, Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx, bass legend Stanley Clarke, soul man Anthony Hamilton, Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland, R&B star Trey Songz, silky soul group Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, six-octave singer Rachelle Ferrell, R&B/funk group Mint Condition and sax man Boney James. And host D.L. Hughley adds a stand-up comic dimension, keeping fans in merry spirits in between all the musical chops.
R&B prince Songz is equally adept at drawing you in to his emotional world with a heartfelt ballad, or wowing you with clever wordplay and rapid-fire raps. Whether you’re nursing your wounds from romantic loss or getting ready to party at the club, he’s got the perfect song.
Songz – born Tremaine Neverson – has also found success collaborating with fellow hip-hop stars, including Rick Ross, T.I., Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj, among many others. He takes the stage Saturday night at Jazz in the Gardens in support of his fifth studio album, appropriately named “Chapter V.”
Songz talked about the show, his burgeoning acting career, and how he chose his stage name.
What attracted you to Jazz in the Gardens?
Miami is home for me, so any chance I get to perform in my city and for the people here, I try to make it happen. There’s an amazing energy and so much excitement around Jazz in the Gardens that I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
Is there anyone else on the bill you’re really excited to see perform?
Jamie Foxx is a good friend of mine, and I know he’s going to put on a hell of a show. And I’m always happy to see the beautiful Kelly Rowland. She has an amazing spirit and kills every performance.
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