While millions of American viewers tune in to “American Idol” each week, lifestyle tycoon, entrepreneur and home décor designer B. Smith is kicking off an official search for the next great singer in the nation’s capital.

B. Smith, the longtime owner of B. Smith’s restaurant in Manhattan and exclusive enclave Sag Harbor, launched her own homegrown singing audition at B.Smith’s in Union Station. Participants are required to be between the ages of 21-30.

Nearly 30 aspiring singers from the metropolitan area participated in the audition. According to general manager Andres Haynes of B. Smith restaurant in Union Station, the winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize. Other rewards include performances at B. Smith’s in Union Station, scheduled performances at area night clubs, a free trip to New York City to perform at B. Smith’s on Restaurant Row and a studio recording with Jolley Production Company.?

“B. Discovered brings something different,” said Haynes. “This is for local members of the community who can really sing and have great talent. Out of 28 participants we will select eight who will showcase their talents every week at B.Smith’s restaurants.”?

The ambiance of the audition whispered a silent eagerness as singers warmed up their falsettos quietly in a reserved space.

“Someone needs to see me. I’m different from the rest,” said Davon Wright, a theater graduate from the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). Wright, along with her two besties Jonathan Walker and Gina Rose, are a unique trio. All three trained vocalists are students or graduates from and aspire to “be heard.” Wright delivered a classical sound, while Walker’s voice is reminiscent of Eddie Levert from the O’Jays and Rose’s sound is a blend of Teena Marie and Chaka Khan – evident as she fearlessly sang the latter’s “Ain’t Nobody.”

Walker, a sociology major, auditioned minutes after Rose. The judges politely asked if he’d ever performed. He smiled and responded, “Yes I performed ‘The Wiz’ at UDC on a $500 budget.” The judges laughed. Walker closed his eyes for four seconds and replied, “I will sing ‘Believe in Yourself’ from ‘The Wiz.’”

The judges gave him a nod of approval.

Walker sang poignantly, “Believe in yourself, right from the start/ You’ll have brains?You’ll have a heart/ You’ll have courage/ To last your whole life through/If you believe in yourself/If you believe in yourself/ If you believe in yourself/As I believe in you.”?

Like Wright, Walker and Rose, dozens of other hopefuls are waiting to see whether they will be included in B. Smith’s coveted lineup of great singers. Until then, visit bsmith.com for more updates.

 

Brandi Forte

Special to the AFRO