The ambiance of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center sustains true elegance. As one of the largest performing arts centers in the US, it has housed more than nine million visitors since its opening in October 1997. Its structure, built to reflect the industrial roots of Newark, is unique in its own design made up of four performing halls, the Prudential Hall,which seats 2,800 commonly used for opera, ballet, symphony orchestras, and Broadway performances, the Victoria Theatre a 514 seat theater with orchestra level and single balcony seating, The Chase Room a 350 seat arena and The Horizon Theater a 88 seat auditorium both of which accommodate more intimate settings. The night of August 9th, the Prudential Hall was home for two of the biggest names in R&B entertainment, Jazmine Sullivan and Anthony Hamilton.
Opening the co-headliner, Jazmine Sullivan’s stage presence was igniting. This Philly bound singer-songwriter dominated the set with her array of hits from her smash reggae vibe single “Need U Bad” lady’s anthem “Bust Your Windows” and funkdafied “Holding You Down (Goin’ in Cirlces) Jazmine had the crowd jamming in their seats. With countless Grammy Award, BET and NAACP nominations under her belt since her debut album “Fearless” released in 2008, Jazmine continued to shine with her second studio LP “Love Me Back” in 2010. The breakthrough was Sullivan’s third album “Reality Show” in 2015 which sold thirty thousand copies its first week winning her first Grammy Award for Best R&B Album and two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Female Artist and Outstanding Song for the single “Let It Burn”. With her “old-school” contralto sound still potent, Jazmine Sullivan proved she still has what it takes to bring the house down.
The infamous Anthony Hamilton followed suit handling his “grown & sexy” swagger like no other taking center stage and doing what he does best. Performing his slue of hits from affectionate ballad “The Point Of It All”, “Comin’ From Where I’m From” and jazzy groove themed duet featuring Jill Scott “So In Love With You” the fans were under his musical spell reciting every lyric and singing every note. Having singer, songwriter, and producer on his resume, Anthony Hamilton’s start of his career hit a slight bump in the road with “XTC” his debut album in 1996. The comeback was in 2003 with his second release “Comin’ From Where I’m From” which made Hamilton’s rise to fame unstoppable. Winning his first BET Award in 2006, his accolades continued with his 2009 Grammy Award for Best Traditional R& B Performance for “You’ve Got The Love I Need” featuring none other than the legend Al Green. Six albums and endless nominations later, this North Carolina soulful native displays talent above and beyond.