Saturday, June 13, 2009

V Sessions Heineken V.I.P. - Not Too Old

Ludacris (Christopher Bridges) and NASCAR Race Mom (me)Ludacris (Christopher Bridges) and NASCAR Race Mom (me)

When I started my journey into the inner circle of VIBE magazine, I promised to refrain from reacting like a star-struck fan. Old enough to be the artists' mothers, I was well past that age after all. And yet it was a promise that I inevitably and rather quickly released.

The adventure started with an entry to an online essay contest. The prize assured the winner a trip to the VIBE V Sessions event held at The Loft in Atlanta. The assignment: In 100 words or less, give a description of your favorite music experience. The question elicited fond yet faded memories. My passion flowed into words on that type-written page and those 100 words flew by:

My favorite music experience was sitting quietly next to my mother as she played classical music on our ancient beat-up piano. I was a hardcore rocker- hippie chick, all of 16 years old. Naturally, there really was not anything Mom and I could agree upon or enjoy together…except the music. She introduced me to Chopin, Beethoven, Strauss, and Mozart. Her fingers expressed the timeless emotions, and our love, both of music and each other, nurtured with each stanza.

Immediately after clicking the submit button, the contest and its prize escaped my mind. Surely my story of maternal bonding would not impress the judges from the popular rap magazine, I assumed. So you can imagine my shock upon receiving the "congratulations" e-mail.

VIBE expertly coordinated all the arraignments. My husband, Paul, and I boarded our flight a short week later. We were very excited, yet a tad apprehensive. We were not rap aficionados. How would our hosts react to two old rockers who blossomed in the s'70s?

The moment we entered The Loft, we were in awe of the positive energy filling the room. Located on the second floor of The CW Midtown Music Complex, on West Peachtree Street, the club is equipped with top of the line sound, full-service bars, and a view of the midtown skyline.

Paul and the Heineken SpokeswomenPaul and the Heineken Spokeswomen

I did not feel like a guest at this party. It felt like a family gathering. I could not believe the degree of politeness afforded us. The Heineken spokeswomen checked on us often. VIBE Senior Marketing Manager Diana, our hostess, herded us deftly through an overabundance of exciting activities.

We were to be treated to offerings from four different artists during this event. On the bill was Rudy Currence, a vocalist with Ludacris' Disturbing Tha Peace label, Julie Dexter, a classically trained musician, Teairra Mari, an R&B artist with Warner Bros. Records and Yung L.A., a rapper for T.I.'s Atlanta-based Grand Hustle Entertainment.

When the music started, the sound quality of the nightclub became apparent. There was an opulence to it that could never be captured on disc. We watched the opening act backstage with rap legend Ludacris.

Rudy Currence's piano solo on "A Song For You" permeated my soul. I was reminded of the subject of my winning essay. Mom and Rudy would have had much to share regarding piano keyboarding techniques. Currence's musicality won me over immediately. When we were introduced, I found him to be incredibly polite and friendly. Of course, his sweet good looks did not hinder his appeal either. I became a huge fan immediately.

We moved to the V.I.P. room and I sipped on some cold Heineken Light for Julie Dexter's performance. She has been described as influenced by Bob Marley and Nancy Wilson, but I heard a lot of the great Ella Fitzgerald. It was obvious that she was not a rookie to the business as she captured the crowd almost immediately. She gave an awesome performance.

Teairra Mari and Yung L.A. also worked their magic on the crowd. I especially enjoyed the music and dance on Ms. Mari's "Make Her Feel Good." When Yung L.A. rapped "Ain't I," the crowd responded and rapped along with him. To top off the night, former 112 member Slim performed his hit single, "So Fly."

The event was hosted by Kenny Burns, who conducted a very entertaining short question and answer session after each performance. Teairra Mari raced off stage, but Burns managed to coax her back. DJ Don Cannon expertly kept the place hopping between the live acts.

After the music ended, Diana made sure to introduce me to all the performers and celebrities attending the event. I was photographed with Rudy Currence, Yung L.A., Julie Dexter, Teairra Mari, Ludacris, Slim, and Yung Joc, to name just a few. I felt very significant. The evening was an overwhelming, once in a lifetime opportunity.

My husband and I had a spectacular time at VIBE's V Session in Atlanta. I learned and experienced so much. The people and music were extraordinary. I will remain a true fan forever.

The good news is that VIBE magazine is conducting another contest. You can win a trip to Chicago for two to attend a VIBE V Sessions LIVE! ( Trust me, you will have the time of your life!

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