When Kelly Rowland takes over: We the Kings and Kaptn set to open for R&B star

By J’na Jefferson

The Student Entertainment Council (SEC) took the campus by surprise with the announcement of the acts for the fall concert, a unique combination of an R&B chart topper, the pop/rock band famous for “Check Yes Juliet” and a newcomer o the rap scene.

Kelly Rowland, R&B star and former member of Destiny’s Child, will headline one of the year’s biggest on-campus events, with special guest performances by pop/rock group We The Kings and L.A.-based artist KAPTN, who rose to fame earlier this year with the hit song, “Ricky Ricardo.” Rowland, whose fourth studio album, Talk A Good Game, was released earlier this year, is the first female performer to headline a Rider concert since, ironically enough, Destiny’s Child brought down the house in 2000.

“Kelly Rowland is a world-class performer and one of the most celebrated female singers of this generation,” said Nicholas Barbati, assistant director of Campus Life. “It is a true honor to have a former member of one of the biggest girl groups perform at Rider University.”

This is a change of style for the fall concert, which, for the last two years, has had headliners within the hip-hop/rap genre, including last year’s concert, which featured rapper J. Cole and R&B singer Miguel. Some students were relieved to find out that, this year, two different genres of music will be represented this year rather than musicians performing styles under the same umbrella.

“Nothing against the rap and hip-hop community, but having the same thing for many years in a row starts to become too much,” said junior radio and TV major Brian Kelley. “I am very excited to finally have a band coming to Rider. We The Kings will be awesome and Kelly is a nice touch, too.”

The selection process for musical artists, according to SEC special events co-chair Eric Cottrell, is rather extensive and, at times, difficult.

The SEC conducts an online survey at the end of each academic year to see what the most popular style of music is among students.

“It begins by the SEC determining the budget that we have for the acts,” Cottrell said. “After that, we wait for our agent to send us a list of performers who could potentially perform within our budget and for the dates we are looking for.”

Afterward, the council narrows down the choices by eliminating acts that would not work, leaving only a small list of possibilities. This, Cottrell said, is when the decision gets challenging.

“We select who we want to be our performers, then we submit our proposal to the artist’s agent and wait for a response,” he said.

Student feedback from last year’s concert was taken into consideration when making this year’s selection, and Cottrell said that the SEC works diligently on improving concert choices for the student body.

“After a long discussion about how to put on the best show that we can, we decided that we needed to choose two artists who perform different genres in an effort to pull the biggest group of students out to the show,” Cottrell said.

Of course, there are a few naysayers to the otherwise positive response for this year’s performers.

“I’m unhappy with Kelly Rowland,” said junior secondary education and history major Jon Murphy.  “She wasn’t a good choice because she isn’t very well-known.”

However, junior secondary education and history major Kim Knox is curious about how the two different genres can come together into one fall concert.

“I’m glad it’s not strictly one genre,” she said. “I’m interested to see how it’s going to be.
I’m not 100% sure how it’s going to turn out, but of course I’ll stay until the end.”

Printed in the 10/2/13 edition.

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