During the 2024 edition of Porretta Soul Festival, Billy Vera will be awarded with the Sweet Soul Music Award 2024, for his contribution to the promotion and diffusion of soul and rhythm & blues music. The award will be presented to him during the Porretta Soul Festival, which will be held in Porretta Terme (on the Apennines between Bologna and Pistoia) from 25 to 28 July 2024. Best known for his 1987 hit, “At This Moment”, at the first placed in the American charts, Billy Vera’s long career began with the hit record “Storybook Children” with Judy Clay for Atlantic Records in 1967. It was the first love song performed by an interracial couple released by a major label.
The duo became a popular attraction at the Apollo Theater in Harlem at a time when racial segregation was widespread in the US. The album was followed by another hit single “Country Girl – City Man”. Many artists have recorded Billy Vera’s songs, including Ricky Nelson, Fats Domino, The Shirelles, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Plant, Tom Jones, Freda Payne, Lou Rawls, Eric Burdon, Michael Buble and Dolly Parton which reached first place with “I Really Got The Feeling.”. His productions include four Lou Rawls albums, including the chart-topping Jazz album “At Last.”
His film and television credits include Blind Date, The Doors, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, and a recurring role on Beverly Hills 90210. Additionally, Billy Vera sings the theme to the TV show King of Queens, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Album Notes for Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles by Ray Charles. These are the first artists confirmed for the 2024 edition of Porretta Soul Festival: Memphis Music Hall Of Fame Band, Wendy Moten, Gerald Richardson, Jerome Chism, Jonathan Ellison, Billy Vera, Chris Cain & Luca Giordano Band, Johnny Rawls, Alabama Mike & Soul Shot, Captain Jack Watson, Andrew Strong (From The Commitments) & Dublin Soul, The Sweethearts, Mitch Woods, Miss Bee & The Bullfrogs.
The 2024 edition also consolidates the link between the Porretta Soul Festival and the city of Memphis. In fact, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame Band, directed by Kurt Clayton, will be the house band of the 2024 edition. The Memphis Music Hall of Fame Band is made up of eleven highly talented and versatile musicians who regularly perform at the Memphis Music Hall of Hunger. This band was created to honor and celebrate the great artists who have been inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, many of whom have contributed significantly to Memphis music and music history in general. The partnership was born under the aegis of John Doyle, Executive Director of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame and the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.
The Memphis Music Hall of Fame is an institution that celebrates and honors music legends who have contributed to the rich musical legacy of Memphis, Tennessee. This Hall of Fame is an important tribute to the city of Memphis, which played an integral role in the development of iconic musical genres such as blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll. The Memphis Music Hall of Fame was founded to recognize and preserve Memphis’ rich musical heritage. This city has hosted an extraordinary variety of musical talent and helped shape the history of modern music.
The docufilm “A Soul Journey” by Marco Della Fonte had great success and excellent ratings, recently broadcast on Rai 5 and available on Rai Play.
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