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80s superstar who brought freestyle to the mainstream with hits like I Wonder if I Take You Home
Born in Hell’s Kitchen, of Puerto Rican descent, Lisa Velez got into dance pop at an early age. As a teenager, she auditioned for the Brooklyn group Full Force, and her accompanying band, Cult Jam, was formed. They released a debut album in 1985, the seminal freestyle record Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force. Together they produced a single “I Wonder If I Take You Home” that instantly saw widespread radio play and climbed the charts, hitting Billboard’s Hot Dance/Disco chart, and crossing over to the pop chart (#34) and the R&B chart (#6), going gold. The following singles “Can You Feel the Beat” and “All Cried Out” performed remarkably well, too. Their subsequent album, 1987’s Spanish Fly, incorporated throwback Motown sounds and went platinum, led by two #1 hits “Head to Toe” and “Lost in Emotion.” Next came 1989’s Straight to the Sky (with club sensation “Just Git It Together”) and their final record Straight Outta Hell’s Kitchen, featuring “Let the Beat Hit ‘Em.” Lisa Lisa then went solo, putting out 1994’s LL77, with the popular jams “When I Fell In Love” and “Skip To My Lu.” She put out a triumphant comeback album in 2009, Life ‘n Love, which contained the single “Can’t Wait,” featuring Pitbull, to the delight of her massive and dedicated fan base. Lisa Lisa is synonymous with freestyle dance music, a highly energetic figure that performs with grace.
This remarkable reggae and dancehall artist, formally known as Marlon Hanif Corel James, was born in Trelawny, Jamaica, the mecca of reggae. As a youth, his pals called him “Marlon Brando,” hence the “B” in his stage name. In 1988, Marlon took the advice of his friend and ventured to Germany, where he quickly integrated himself into the thriving reggae and dancehall scene of Frankfurt. Performing for eager crowds at the Funkadelic club, Marlon refined his sound, sticking true to his traditional roots and mingling the subtle tones of the Euro-dancehall sphere. Incredibly charming on stage, he’s cultivated a large (and still growing) following. In the 90’s, he became closely familiar with other stars of the German reggae scene, like Frank Farian, Turbo-B of Snap, D Flame, Rebel-X, Ebony Prince and many more. Marlon was eventually offered to become a part of the regionally famous group Söhne Mannheims. Besides his European-wide fan base, Marlon is also a very well appreciated artist in his native country Jamaica, where his influences, such as Bob Marley, Capleton and Peter Tosh, originate. He has appeared several times at the world-renowned Saint Mary Festival in Jamaica, which is organized by Capleton (now famous for its 24-hour performances by world-renowned musicians like 50 Cent and Alicia Keys). In 2011, Marlon released his first EP “Rasta Man Come,” followed by his debut album Heart and Soul. A much-loved performer, Marlon B brings pure jubilation to each show.