Our Tastemakers video series presents a closer look at -- and an exclusive performance from -- the cool artists hitting the Billboard Tastemakers chart, which brings you the top-selling albums each week based on an influential panel of indie stores and small regional chains.
To celebrate a vibrant first season of Billboard.com's Tastemakers video series, we decided to do something extra special for our final session of 2010: an exclusive live Keri Hilson concert for a lounge-full of fans at Aloft Harlem. What better way to fete the year than with Hilson "Pretty Girl Rock"in' the grand opening of the sleek, new space in New York City?
The R&B songstress took the Aloft stage with a full band and two background singers and fans were treated to a three-song set from her brand-new sophomore album, "No Boys Allowed," including "Beautiful Mistake" and "Lose Control (Let Me Down)." Released Dec. 21 on Interscope/Zone 4 Records, the album's title may sound like a girl power party waiting to happen but it's even more complex and considered. Her "ladies first" perspective, which includes an "imaginary clubhouse" where all women - single, taken, and anywhere in between -- take control of their confidence and realize it's the key to self-empowerment is front and center, but men are also part of the picture.
Video Below: Keri Hilson Performs "Beautiful Mistake" Live at Billboard's Tastemakers concert at Aloft.
One of the record's tracks, "One Night Stand," features Hilson's close friend and R&B singer, Chris Brown, who she thinks was the perfect fit for the album. "He's grown so much as a person and he's learned so much. He's past his mistakes," Hilson says. "That has made him a man."
Video Below: Keri Hilson Performs "Lose Control (Let Me Down)" and "Hustler" Live at the Billboard Tastemakers concert at Aloft.
"No Boys Allowed" boasts appearances by countless other R&B/hip hop powerhouses including Ne-Yo, Boi-1da, John Legend and executive producer Timbaland, but next time around it seems Hilson has her eye on the ladies to collaborate. Her list of women she'd like to work with features artists from all over the genre spectrum. Feist, Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill and old friend, Missy Elliott, are some frontrunners. "I'm so close to her due to my association with Timbaland," Hilson explains, "And I still haven't worked with her."
As for 2011, Hilson can't wait to take her show on the road and visually recreate the record. No stateside dates are locked in just yet, but you can catch Keri overseas through March. She is also featured on the long-awaited Dr. Dre release "Detox," due in February.
And don't fear, Tastemakers fans! We'll be back with more of your favorite artists live from Mophonics Studios in NYC in 2011. Stay tuned!
Text by Lisa Binkert