It is not an everyday occurrence that Florida A&M students are allotted the opportunity to open up for a hip hop industry name such as Rick Ross.
Or win the favor of an Atlantic Records executive, but that is exactly what happened last Friday in the Recital Room at the Foster Tanner building. In the final stage of the “Dream Chasers” auditions, students went out and performed in hopes of clinching one of six opening acts for Rick Ross at this years FAMU Superfest.
The judges included Kawachi Clemons, department chair for the FAMU Music Department, FAMU alumni, Amir Windom, an executive for Atlantic Records, Teddy Gilmore, C.E.O of Clubnet 360 and Ameer Brown, C.E.O of Lavish Entertainment.
Frank Martinez, a senior psychology student from Jacksonville and a friend of contestant Nicholas Hendrix, a senior broadcast journalism student from Orlando, explained before the show what he thought the judges were looking for.
“I believe the judges are looking for an r&b groove,” Martinez said. “Something with some soul, and I think my boy Nicholas has all of that.”
Clearly the judges agreed as Nicholas Hendrix was selected as one of the six finalists to perform at the Rick Ross Superfest Concert.
For such a serious opportunity at stake, the crowd, which filled the room, was relaxed and fun, singing and clapping to songs throughout the night. When asked to comment on the feelings they had on stage though, most contestants felt that the nervousness never left.
Contestant Laquasha Powell, a sophomore music education student from Ft. Lauderdale described her feelings on performing.
“Of course it wasn’t easy, singing for an opportunity with people that could possibly change your life drastically, Powell said. “And then on top of that, FAMU audiences are never easy to perform in front of because they are so animated and distracting.”
The night was not just defined by the winning of an opening act for the Dream Chasers. The judges also critiqued every artist and let them know what they thought of their performance.
Amyna Love, who was deemed as one of the best two performers of the night with her stirring rendition of ‘Sweet Love’ by Anita Baker, was praised by Windom. Windom said that her rendition was “better than Anita Baker herself.”
Dreams are well on there way to being created for the six acts who were selected to open on Nov. 10th.
Martinez shares what he thought the concert would mean to Hendrix.
“He has performed in stuff before but this concert will definitely be special,” Martinez said. “He is going to be seen by a crowd of nearly 7,500 people. This for sure will be a huge confidence booster for him, since he hasn’t done something this big.”