By Megan Lupo
A singer who made it to the Top 8 on NBC’s The Voice will perform at the pub during Family Weekend on Nov. 4 at 9:30 p.m.
Even though Dez Duron is not widely recognized yet, he is rising to stardom and amassing many fans, thus picking him to sing at the “Artist You Should Know” showcase was “an obvious choice,” Assistant Director of Campus Life for Activities and Student Engagement Nick Barbati said.
“Dez was an incredible talent on The Voice, who has recently relocated to our area in New York to pursue his career in music,” Barbati said. “Dez’s youthful personality was magnetic on the show.”
His stage presence and vocal talent was so captivating for the judges and audience on The Voice, that when he was eliminated, his coach, Christina Aguilera, said, “I’ll always support him.” The Student Entertainment Council anticipates him to be just as soulful and charming here at the pub.
“I’m looking forward to seeing a unique talent shine through in Dez,” Student Entertainment Council’s Campus Traditions Chair Alex Perrine said. “It’s always awesome when up-and-coming acts like him perform at Rider and it’s always a memorable and intimate experience. I’m definitely excited to see someone different and new take the stage here.”
Duron follows a series of talented, diverse performers that have reached some fame in their own right.
Barbati explained, “Past performers of ‘Artist You Should Know’ have included Lakoda Rayne, from TV’s X Factor, which featured [Rider’s] long-time R-Factor judge Dani Knights, and Brett Young, currently on the rise on country radio.”
Although Perrine had never heard of Duron before Barbati booked him, she has grown eager after researching his music and draws comparison to Rider’s own R Factor.
“I haven’t heard of him before, but once I saw the announcement of his performance, I definitely wanted to check out his music and his journey on The Voice,” Perrine said. “I think it’s really exciting to have a show contestant come to our school, similar to having X Factor performers come for R Factor each year.”
What is unique about Duron’s Rider debut is that he is from the region and will be performing with people that live here, also promoting their talent.
“Dez is the first artist, as we reboot the series to feature local acts ready for the national stage,” Barbati noted.
And those local acts are Rider students, Matthew Esposito and Khalil Witt.
“The student openers are an incredible campus band, [stylized as] the highlands, comprised of Matthew Esposito and Khalil Witt. The group recently debuted at this year’s R Factor Final, and their first single, “Currents,” which premiered at the Travis Scott concert, is available on iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify. They will, also, be featuring a surprise guest performer,” Barbati said.
Even if students are unfamiliar with those performing, they should still come out and support the skilled, young singers from the community and neighboring state for a night of entertainment.
“Students, faculty and staff alike should come to the concert to see an amazing rising talent in concert and it’s a great bonding opportunity for our campus to come together over a great night of music,” Barbati said.
Perrine vocalized the same sentiment, saying, “Everyone should come out to this event.”
“Not only are we having Dez, but we are also having two of our own Rider students perform some of their original music,” she said. “It’ll be a really special moment to see Matt and Khalil share the stage with Dez and to experience the show with the rest of the Rider community.”
Originally published in the 11/02/16 edition.