Jazz in the Gardens comes alive with local acts

Cerone White

PHOTO CREDIT: Ronnie VOP performs onstage during the 11th Annual “Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival” - Day 1 at Sun Life Stadium on March 19, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mychal Watts/Getty Images for Jazz in the Gardens)

This past weekend’s line-up for the 11th annual Jazz in the Gardens music festival proved as stellar as ever, featuring international acts such as Usher, Janelle Monae, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Fred Hammond among others. But the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens gave just as much spotlight to local stars – showing off South Florida’s own spectacular talent.

Local girl CriStyle Renae made good on stage Saturday night, showing off her uniquely jazzy, R&B stylings and refreshing original music.

“My music is love, R&B, soul, and passion; R&B soul runs in my DNA,” said CriStyle Renae in an interview with CNW Network. Her latest album, “Signature of Love,” reflects her eclectic tastes, with “R&B, soul, flirts with a little jazz, hip hop, a little blues – all original materials.”

And as a South Floridian, performing at the Jazz in Gardens’ international stage was particularly poignant for CriStyle Renae. “To be able to get the validation to say that you’re good enough to come onto the Jazz in the Garden stage is everything in life for me…this was an amazing opportunity.”

The feeling was mutual for fellow local artist Ronnie VOP. The R&B crooner and Miami Gardens native was thrilled to shared his new music, which is “leaning more towards R&B, pop, though you never know what you’re gonna get from me…I hate to put [my music] in a box.” The young Bahamian-American star, who just released an exciting new single “Would you Mind,” also got some sage advice before his performance from famous uncle, Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier.

“I actually had the opportunity to speak with him for the first time last week on his birthday, which was a true blessing,” said Ronnie VOP. “He gave me so much encouragement. And just told me to remain humble…It was just a great thing. I was so full.”

With such great promise, it’s refreshing to see these artists are striving despite the obstacles, because of their genuine love for their craft. Here’s to hoping our young local stars will soon be top headliners at the Jazz in the Gardens concerts to come.

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