The Neo-Soul Ensemble, directed by Skip Smith, will present a tribute to Grammy-nominated recording artist, Bilal, who has greatly impacted the neo-soul, hip-hop, and jazz genres while remaining one of the most diverse and underrated singers in the world. The special guest of honor, Bilal, will be performing as well.
After attending the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts, Bilal began featuring at small clubs until he took classical training in jazz and big-band arrangements at the New School in New York. Private jam sessions with Aaron Coleman (Spin Doctors) gave birth to a demo of songs, landing Bilal a record deal with Interscope. He would go on to work with famed producers: Dr. Dre, Mike City, J Dilla, Guru, 88 Keys, Timbaland, Kanye West, and more.
Bilal's debut album, 1st Born Second (2001),featured the popular single, "Soul Sista." Love For Sale (2006) was well received to fans and music critics and has become an underground classic. This time around, Bilal worked with a myriad of new collaborators, from Sa-Ra to Denaun Porter to Nottz. His latest album is Airtight's Revenge.
Bilal has also collaborated and performed with such artists as Beyoncé, Common, Jay-Z, Diddy, The Game, Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper, Boney James, Terence Blanchard, Zap Mama, Musiq Soulchild, D'Angelo, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Q-Tip, Raphael Saadiq, and the Roots.
An advocate for autism, Bilal led the 2010 Walk Now for Autism Speaks on the National Mall.