LOCAL PROFILE: R&B Scene in Atlanta | Community Spirit
ATLANTA – Derived from popular genres of music like jazz, blues and gospel, rhythm and blues was born. Rhythm and Blues music, which is widely referred to as R&B, is unique in that it has the ability to take on many musical identities, at once. Some say the genre was first identified in Harlem, during the Harlem Renaissance, which is known as one of the most prominent cultural movements for African Americans during the 1930’s. However, others think the genre originated in the 1940’s when African Americans began moving to northern cities, creating cultural fusion.
The music evolved from “race music”, which was an offensive term that referred to the music of African Americans, into jump blues which was known for having a swing boogie, big band sound. Jump blues, over time, assumed the R&B name and has since become an umbrella for many types of music with certain instrumentation, usually a drum kit, saxophone, horns, bowed instruments and background vocalists.
Atlanta is home to many R&B acts and it hosts many greats and newcomers to the industry at different venues around the city. Many people come to Atlanta from other cities to break into the music business. Atlanta has a number of great live music venues, country radio stations and other venues that cater to the lifestyle.
Best Place for Live Music
Popular Atlanta venue, Apache Café, is one of the only places in Atlanta that offers live music and spoken word everyday of the week. The café is a staple in the Atlanta art scene. Many Atlanta based poets and R&B musicians have gotten their “big break” performing at this venue. Every second Tuesday, the café hosts a Hip Hop Jam Session where artists perform original music with a live DJ and band. The building has an underground feeling which is consistent with the types of art performed there. Those who frequent apache, say once you enter the Apache, you’re embraced by the culture and the art and according to others, you know you’ve arrived as an artist when you’re featured at the Apache. Check them out at 64 Third Street in Atlanta.
Best R&B Radio Station
Considered the best R&B station in Atlanta, Majic 107.5 claims to play Atlanta’s “Best Mix of R&B”. This station is home to the nationally syndicated Steve Harvey Morning Show and The Michael Baisden Show. The radio station hosts an R&B party at local bistro Taboo 2 on Fridays and broadcasts live from Hairston’s New Old School Sunday Event at Hariston’s Dinner Club. The station, also, hosts an annual summer concert series. This year’s series will feature Sade, Charlie Wilson, Robin Thicke, Jill Scott, Men of Soul, Kem and Earth, Wind and Fire.
Best Local Talent
Usher Raymond IV is Atlanta’s “hometown boy”; although he wasn’t born here, the area claims him and has, pretty much, adopted him. Raymond, who performs as Usher is considered one of the of the premiere R&B performers, worldwide and is considered the “King of R&B”. Over the years, Usher has sold more than 23 million records, worldwide, won seven Grammy Awards, four World Music Awards, six American Music Awards and twenty two Billboard Music Awards. And he started out as a student at North Springs High School. In addition to being an R&B artist, Usher has starred in or been featured in nine movies and a couple of network television shows.