Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in association with Sal Abbatiello of Fever Records presents for the eight year in a row – FOREVER FREESTYLE 8 – on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 at 8pm. To Latino teenagers in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Freestyle, a hybrid of Hip Hop and disco, was known simply as “Our Music.” This year’s concert will feature Freestyle artists that made this genre a world-wide sensation, including STEVIE B “Because I Love You,” LISA LISA “Head to Toe,” TKA/K7 “Come Baby Come,” SAFIRE ”Thinking of You,” CYNTHIA “Dream Boy/Dream Girl,” JOHNNY O “Fantasy Girl, NAYOBE “Please Don’t Go,” FONDA RAE “Touch Me“,” SAMMY ZONE “Without You” and LYDIA LEE LOVE “Don’t Take You Away From Me.” The concert will also feature DJ LUCHO, DJ 1ST CLASS and DJ KYS, the comedian MARK VIERA and will be hosted by SPEEDY and SAL ABBATIELLO.
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468. Tickets for FOREVER FREESTYLE 8 on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 at 8pm are $100, $65, $60 and $55 and can be purchased by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718-960-8833 (Monday through Friday, 10am–5pm, and beginning at 12 noon on the day of the concert), or through online access at www.LehmanCenter.org. Lehman Center is accessible by #4 or D train to Bedford Park Blvd. and is off the Saw Mill River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway. Low-cost on-site parking available for $5.
STEVIE B skyrocketed to fame with his 1987 national club smash “Party Your Body,” also the title track of his debut LP, which went gold. A native of south Florida, he had his first Top-40 hits in 1989 with “I Wanna Be the One,” “In My Eyes” and “Love Me For Life.” Also known as the “King of Freestyle”, Stevie B is perhaps best known for his ballad “Because I Love You (The Postman Song)” from 1990’s Love & Emotion, which reigned for four weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
LISA LISA (Lisa Velez) and her band Cult Jam, one of the first Freestyle groups to emerge from New York City, recorded their debut single “I Wonder If I Take You Home” soon after forming in 1985. It quickly became a chart-topper on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Disco chart before crossing over to the R&B chart (#6) and then to the pop chart (#34), eventually becoming a gold record. The group amassed a number of hit songs throughout the mid-‘80s, including “All Cried Out,” “Lost In Emotion” and “Head To Toe.” Lisa was awarded “Most Successful Latin American Musician” by President George Bush in 1990, has had over 14 Top-40 hits and has sold over 20 million records.
TKA/K7 is a Latin-influenced Spanish Harlem hip-hop group that garnered success in the early ‘90s with their hit “Come Baby Come.” Other hits include “Maria” (1982), “One Way Love” (1987) and “You Are the One” (1989). Led by K7 (Louis “Kayel” Sharpe), the former lead vocalist of the Freestyle super-group TKA, TKA/K7 also features DJ Non-Stop, Prophet, Tre Duece and LOS.
SAFIRE released her debut single “Don’t Break My Heart” in 1986, followed by the even bigger hit “Let Me Be The One.” “Boy, I’ve Been Told” crossed over to pop radio and became the #1-selling single in New York for twelve straight weeks. She wrote her biggest hit, “Thinking of You” in 1989 which peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was one of the most played records of the year. The following year she released the Michael Jackson/Paul Anka tune “I Never Heard.” After Jackson’s death, a demo tape he had made of that song with the same lyrics was remixed and released in 2009 as his first posthumous single with the title “This Is It.”
CYNTHIA (Cynthia Todino) hails from New York City’s Spanish Harlem and started singing at age sixteen in a group with Safire. Her first album Cynthia (1989) featured the hit singles “Change On Me,” “Endless Nights” and “Thief of Hearts.” A year later Cynthia II was released which included the hit songs “Break Up To Make Up,” “Love Me Tonight” and the hit duet with Johnny O, “Dream Boy/Dream Girl” that reached #53 on the Billboard Hot 100.
JOHNNY O (Juan Ortiz) was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is of Cuban/Puerto Rican Descent. His debut 1988 album, the self titled Johnny O, featured the famous Freestyle song “Fantasy Girl” as well as the hits “Memories” and “Highways of Love.” 1990 saw his hit duet with Cynthia, “Dream Boy/Dream Girl,” and in 1993 his single “Runaway Love” made it to #4 on the Billboard Dance chart and to #87 on the Hot 100.
NAYOBE (Gomez), discovered at age 16 by Sal Abbatiello, recorded “Please Don’t Go” in 1984, arguably the first Latin Freestyle song ever recorded, which quickly gained airplay in nightclubs. “Second Chance For Love,” “Good Things Come To Those Who Wait” and “It’s Too Late” solidified her standing as a Freestyle innovator. She was also the voice of Selma Hayek in the film ‘54’.
FONDA RAE‘s highly sought-after first song “Over Like A Fat Rat” was released in 1982. She followed up with “Hey Oh Bah” in 1983 and “Touch Me” (1984).
SAMMY ZONE is a singer/songwriter that grew up in Manhattan’s Lower East Side whose street graffiti art initially earned him the nickname “Zone.” In 1987, Sammy joined the hot club trio Release, performing in NYC’s Freestyle clubs, The following year he formed a group with N. V. (Noel Valei) called One on One, recording “Parting In Tears.” He has recently released two Freestyle mix songs with producer Carlos Berrios “Without You” and “Running.”
LYDIA LEE LOVE Is best known for her song “Don’t Take You Away From Me.”
MARK VIERA has the uncanny knack for seeing humor in even the most ordinary situations. His performances take his audience on a hilarious, heartfelt journey whether he’s describing growing up in the Bronx, his relationship with his beloved grandparents, or doing one of his dead-on impressions. He regularly performs at top comedy clubs, colleges and universities and has appeared on NBC’s Emmy Award winning show “30 Rock.”
Lehman Center is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council. The 2013-2014 season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, JPMorgan Chase, and through corporations, foundations and private donations.