PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) will present a lineup of R&B music, Hip Hop and local soul on April 25 for the “Soulful Company” concert. Headlined by Grammy Award winning artist Ashanti, R&B and Soul songstress Keyshia Cole and rapper Ja Rule, “Soulful Company” is meant as a “smooth, groovin’ and boppin’’” night in Carnival Village. The concert will be presented in collaboration with Motorworld.
The three US based, international artists will be joined by two of St. Maarten’s best young singers and their bands. Natisha Hanson, blessed with a powerful voice and the ability to sing ballads as well as Zouk music, will join Kenyo Baly, the reigning Soca Groovy King and R&B/Soul singer on stage as the acts representing The Friendly Island.
“Last year when we first hosted this show, we knew where we wanted to take it eventually. When you start a concert event that you hope to present annually, it takes some work before you find the identity of that show. This year will be yet another big step forward in the growth of Soulful Company with three great international artists and our own superstar singers,” President of the SCDF Alston Lourens said.
R&B, Soul and Hip Hop is not new to St. Maarten Carnival with several concerts of these genres forming part of previous Carnival celebrations. “It will be a cool, smooth, soulful night in the Village. These artists have very popular songs that fans of the genre will find themselves singing along to. We are really excited about Soulful Company,” Lourens added.
Tickets for the concert will go on sale upcoming week.
Ashanti was first discovered as a teenager and later signed to Murder Inc. Records in 2001. That year, she was featured on Fat Joe’s “What’s Luv?” and Ja Rule’s “Always on Time”, both of which became two of the biggest hit songs of 2002; Ashanti became the first female artist to occupy the top two positions on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart simultaneously when “Always on Time” and “What’s Luv?” were at numbers one and two, respectively.
In 2002, Ashanti released her eponymous debut album, which sold over 505,000 copies throughout the U.S. in its first week of release. The album earned her many awards, including eight Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards, and a Grammy Award in 2003 for Best Contemporary R&B Album. In 2003, Ashanti released her second album, Chapter II, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 326,000 copies in the U.S. The album went platinum, selling over 1.5 million copies in U.S. since its release. The album’s singles, “Rock wit U (Awww Baby)” and “Rain On Me”, were both commercial successes, peaking at number two and number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, respectively.
Keyshia Cole’s career began when she met MC Hammer at the age of 12, and later met rapper Tupac Shakur. At the age of 18, she moved to Los Angeles and was later introduced to A&M Records. She released her debut album, The Way It Is (2005), which spawned five singles: “Never”, “I Changed My Mind”, “(I Just Want It) To Be Over”, “I Should Have Cheated”, and “Love”. It was certified gold within 17 weeks, and then platinum just eight weeks later. The album stayed on the charts for over a year, selling over 1.6 million copies. After A&M folded, Cole released her second album Just like You (2007) under Geffen Records, and the album debuted and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200. It was nominated for Best Contemporary R&B Album at the 50th Grammy Awards.
Along with her music, Cole has ventured into reality television. She signed to a reality/documentary series Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is which aired on BET from 2006 until 2008, giving viewers a closer look into Cole’s career and family life with her biological mother and sister. Her second reality show, Family First premiered on October 9, 2012. Her third reality show Keyshia Cole: All In premiered on February 24, 2015.