The Recording Academy Memphis Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At The 2012 Essence Music Festival held July 5–8 in New Orleans. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including GRAMMY-nominated artist Raheem DeVaughn and R&B trio OMG Girlz.
DeVaughn discussed the atmosphere of the Essence Music Festival, how he stays motivated creatively, his top three musical influences, and advice for aspiring artists, among other topics.
"Certain songs take you back to a place in time when you first fell in love or when your child was conceived, or when you lost a loved one," said DeVaughn. "[Music] definitely serves a purpose."
The son of jazz cellist Abdul Wadud, DeVaughn's influences include Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye and Prince. His debut album, 2005's The Love Experience, peaked at No. 46 on the Billboard 200. His sophomore album, 2007's Love Behind The Melody, reached No. 5 and spawned his first two career GRAMMY nominations, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Woman" and Best R&B Song for "Customer." DeVaughn's most recent album, 2010's The Love & War Masterpeace, marked his second consecutive Top 10 album and netted him a GRAMMY nomination for Best R&B Album.
OMG Girlz discussed their feelings about performing at the Essence Music Festival for the first time, their formation and musical influences among other topics.
"As a group our biggest influence is TLC," said Miss Star. "Their music still lives on and we look up to them a lot."
Formed in 2009, Atlanta-based teenage trio OMG Girlz consists of Zonnique "Miss Star" Pullins, Bahja "Miss Beauty" Rodriguez and Breaunna "Miss Baby Doll" Womack. Following a series of singles, OMG Girlz recently released a video for "Where The Boys At?" The song will be featured on OMG Girlz' debut album, which is scheduled for release Oct. 2. The trio has tour dates scheduled in the United States through September.