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PREVIEW: 2023 Hip Hop and R&B Showcase

Courtesy of Belmont Showcase

Four Belmont students eagerly await the chance to show off their soulful sound at this year’s Hip Hop and R&B Showcase.

Artists Brady Firenze, Summer Joy, Florine and Nai’a Rose will take the stage at the Curb Event Center on Saturday for a night full of rap and rhythm and blues.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Nai’a Rose

Growing up listening to R&B, senior Nai’a Rose was heavily influenced by the genre, leading her to create music of her own.

“My cousins, my grandma and my mom would all play R&B music around me,” she said. “I'm just really excited that I was picked for this because this is the type of music that I love singing and I really resonate with the most.”

The music business major anticipates the big night as she prepares herself and her band for the best performance they can bring to the Curb stage.

“It's exciting to the point and anxious to the point where I just want it to be Saturday already,” Rose said.

She hopes the opportunity to perform at showcase will open more doors and possibilities for future success in her career.

“For this opportunity, honestly, it's just going to help me gain a bigger audience hopefully and need some more people that I can potentially work with.”

Rose will perform three originals titled “Bored,” “Time, Again” and “Close Your Eyes.” Summer Joy

A self-proclaimed elementary stage performer, senior vocal performance major Summer Joy also awaits her time on her biggest stage to date.

“This is my first time really introducing myself as an artist and performing a show this big,” she said. “I've never performed a show to this caliber.”

Even with her limited stage presence thus far, she is thrilled for the opportunity to see a glimpse into the life of a performer.

“I think it's going to be a great way to see what performing and being an artist is going to be like,” she said.

She calls the genre of R&B her “bread and butter” and looks toward her showcase performance with goals to get out there, do her best and make incredible music.

“I'm just more focused on putting on a good show and performing and just showing my heart to people and the judges.”

Joy will perform her songs “Melinda,” Gotta Feed” and “Bum Boy.” Brady Firenze

Pulling together his band the night before showcase auditions, senior audio engineering technologies major Brady Firenze was both surprised and ecstatic to hear his band would be given the opportunity to play at the Hip Hop and R&B showcase.

“The only time we were able to be as a full band was the evening before. So we had like two hours to kind of run all three songs and learn them. But luckily, they’re really talented. So, they picked them up really quickly,” said Firenze.

He also expressed both nerves and excitement for the upcoming showcase.

“We want this to be memorable not only for us, but for everyone watching,” said Firenze. “So, a little bit of nerves.”

He hopes to have that moment of connection with the audience as he performs his original song “Party”, written specifically for the Belmont Showcase. He will also perform original songs “Walk in Early” and “Heart Attack”. Florine

Under the stage name Florine, junior commercial vocal performance major Rachel Cruz is excited to take the stage for the Hip Hop and R&B Showcase.

“I felt like I was going to explode,” said Cruz. “I was in class, and I couldn’t tell anyone.”

It was her experience abroad that prompted her to apply for the showcase.

“I was in a hotel room one night and I was just imaging the experience, and I was like ‘why am I scared?’ And I knew that I needed to apply or else I would regret it, whether I got in or not,” said Cruz.

As she takes the stage, with original songs “Oasis,” “False Oxygen” and “Great Expectations,” Cruz said she hopes to leave an impact on her audience.

“I just hope that I can really help the audience, and they can actually feel something when I perform,” said Cruz. “Because that’s the goal.”

This article was written by Lilly Owens and Katie Beth Cannon

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