Three-time Grammy Award-winning artist NE-YO and his team of YouTube apprentices made one new artist’s dreams come true last week in New York City. Felicia Millikan from Colorado Springs, Colorado was the lucky contest winner in the TGI Friday’s Red Hot Summer of Music campaign. Felicia’s grand prize is she will be heading into the studio with NE-YO for her very own mentoring session.
Contestants of the TGI Friday’s Red Hot Summer of Music Campaign participated by uploading a video of themselves covering a popular song to the Red Hot Summer website while fans voted for their favorite. With over 400 entries and thousands of tallies, and three finalists, Felicia was crowned the champion at a gala in New York City on August 28th. The celebration featured performances by hip-hop artist Chiddy Bang as well as YouTube sensation Jake Coco.
While searching for some of the best undiscovered music talent, NE-YO’s contributions to such endeavors were inspired by wanting to pay it forward. “We just wanted to get together and do something fun,” the singer, songwriter said, “I feel like sometimes an upcoming artist is often one opportunity away from realizing their dream. That was the truth for me, so maybe it will be the truth for someone else too.”
NE-YO’s dreams of stardom and then some came true by breaking into the music business as a songwriter. Writing hits for powerhouses such as Rhianna, Paula Abdul, Mario and Beyonce, NE-YO has gone on to become a celebrated, award winning R&B solo artist and collaborator.
As for Felicia Millikan, the TGI Friday’s Red Hot Summer of Music winner, she is thrilled to have the chance to be mentored in the studio by this R&B icon, “I am so happy and looking forward to learning from someone as amazing as NE-YO.”
NE-YO himself is looking forward to sitting in the studio with Felicia, “It may be mentoring, it may be some vocal control lessons, we don’t know yet. That’s the beauty of music we just kind of let the vibe take us where we want to go.”
Article and photo's contributed by Denise Santoro Delaney.