Young, local artists with positive message head to Riverbend stage
One group of concert-goers at this weekend's Riverbend Festival hails from the Scenic City.
A group of young artists, known as the Stars of Chattanooga, have turned to music to help keep them off the streets.
They are a group of young hip hop and R&B artists, but they all share a special message. Their goal is to create positive music that keeps kids from gangs and violence, and they hope to use their platform at Riverbend to spread that message in the next few days.
Friday night was the final practice for the Stars of Chattanooga as they get ready for their biggest show yet. This group of young men and women will take it to the Volkswagen stage Sunday evening.
Excitement levels are at an all time high.
"Riverbend 2013 is one of our biggest ones yet, so I'm kind of excited. It's like a dream come true," said Shakeema Tate.
She and her brother, Ledarius are a part of the Stars of Chattanooga as the group Somebody Loves Somebody.
"It's a pretty big deal for us," Ledarius said.
But these aren't your average up and coming artists at the festival. They're committed to spreading positivity, and they hope to reach out to the Riverbend audience.
"I set out to make people feel good about themselves and let them know 'hey you've been there, you're not the only one'. You're not in a group by yourself. I'm there with you. We can sing together," said Stars of Chattanooga member Keeona Conyers, also known as Shawtii Nycole.
The Stars of Chattanooga formed less than a year ago thanks to the help of the City of Chattanooga Youth and Family Development.
They've already wrote, recorded and produced 13 songs on their debut CD. Some of those songs send out a strong anti-gang message.
"You don't always have to resort to violence. You can channel it through other stuff, and I think music is the best way to express yourself," said Ledarius Tate.
"I did negative music in my music career, and it got me really nowhere. So once I channeled a positive message, it took me places I never thought I would go," said Stars of Chattanooga artist and mentor R.M.R.J.
Riverbend could be just the start for these young men and women. At the very least, it's a life lesson learned the good way.
"Express yourself in a way that's positive, learn to accept the things you can't change, pray and find the courage to pull through the things you can change," Conyers said.
You can catch the Stars of Chattanooga Sunday on the Volkswagen stage from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
They're also going to do an outreach concert for Chattanooga teens at the Lindsey Street Hall Monday from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
They'll perform again on Monday on the Bessie Smith Strut's main stage at 5:15 and 8:15 p.m.
For more on Riverbend, including schedules, artist bios, and more, visit the Riverbend portion of WRCBtv.com.