(L-R): Frank Cooper, chief marketing officer of global consumer engagement at PepsiCo, arrives at the Billboard/Pepsi Summer Beats show last night with Prometheus Global Media CEO Dottie Mattison and Bozoma Saint John, cultural branding marketer at PepsiCo. (Photo: Andrew Marks)
Pepsi and Billboard celebrated the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's classic album Bad during the fourth and final part of its Summer Beats concert series at New York City's Gotham Hall on Aug. 29 -- a night that would have been the singer's 54th birthday. R&B singers Ne-Yo and Melanie Fiona each performed full-length sets that coupled their own hits with remakes of classic Bad tracks like "Smooth Criminal," "Dirty Diana" and the title track. DJ Cassidy spun other classic Jackson jams like "Rock With You" in between sets, while Swizz Beatz closed out the night with a headlining set that included Rihanna's "We Found Love" and some of his own famous productions for rappers like DMX.
Melanie Fiona takes the stage and gets low with her bassist. (Photo: Kyle Dean Reinford)
Frank Cooper, Pepsi's chief marketing officer of global consumer engagement, was holding court in the VIP area -- with Prometheus Global Media's Dottie Mattison and Guggenheim Partners' Todd Boehly -- gearing up for a big September that will see Pepsi sponsoring a series of original anthems for the NFL ( Kelly Clarkson, Travie McCoy and Wiz Khalifa are among the artists) and returning as an integrated sponsor of "The X Factor" Sept. 12.
Cooper was doubly impressed by Ne-Yo, a frequent collaborator of Pepsi's this year for his vocals on the song "Let's Go" (originally written by producer Calvin Harris as a European soccer anthem for Pepsi Max) and for his "consummate professionalism" as an entertainer, he told Billboard.biz. Of Ne-Yo's seamless note-for-note recreation of Jackson's falsetto-fied vocals on "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Smooth Criminal," Cooper added, "It was like listening to the record."
(L-R): Billboard Chart Director Silvio Pietroluongo poses with Island Def Jam president/COO Steve Bartels and S.I.N. owner Vince Pellegrino. (Photo: Fernando Leon)
Also among the Pepsi execs in the crowd were music and entertainment marketing manager Bozoma Saint John, who rocked a three-finger "Bad" ring as a nod to the night's celebration of Jackson's legacy. Elsewhere in VIP, Cooper chatted with Hot 97 program director Ebro Darden during Ne-Yo's set, while "X Factor" U.S. contestant (and Epic recording artist) Marcus Canty rubbed elbows with "106 & Park" host Rocsi Diaz. Other industry notables included Steve Bartels, president-CEO of Island/Def Jam Records; singer Kimberley Locke; Ashley Simon, music and media partnerships director at FourSquare; Sean Glass, A&R rep for Glassnote Records; Yanni Peary, social media and direct marketing strategist for Sony Music Entertainment (and former "voice" of Michael Jackson on Twitter and Facebook); Jeff Kuprycz, co-manager of Matisyahu for A Frame Management and Alex Holz, VP of artist and community relations at RightsFlow.
Ne-Yo gets some love before the event starts. (Photo: Kyle Dean Reinford)
Unsigned U.K. rapper (and huge Jackson fan) Jamieson hung upstairs in the VIP area with Jennifer Lopez (no, not that Jennifer Lopez), his PR rep at the Alias Agency. Jamieson told Backbeat he plans to continue to roll out videos for his recent LP, I Came, I Saw, Vol. 3 (released June 7 via Dream Chaser Media) while working on tracks for an upcoming LP.
PepsiCo's staff comes out to the show (L-R): Rosemarie Iannucci, brand engagement manager; Cristina Zahka, brand manager; Richie Cruz, lifestyle marketing specialist; and Shiv Singh, global head of digital, all represented their company. (Photo: Fernando Leon)
Downstairs, writers and tastemakers -- Village Voice's Maura Johnston, Its the Real's Jeff Rosenthal, Grantland's Rembert Browne, YouHeardThatNew's Nile "LowKey" Ivey, Four80 Music National Rhythmic/Top 40 Radio Promoter Niles Goodwin and more -- took in the beats (and snuck in a few dance moves) close to the stage.
Melanie Fiona and Swizz Beatz hang out backstage. (Photo: Kyle Dean Reinford)
But no one had a night quite like Sherlen Archibald, director of media relations and digital for The Chamber Group, whose artists Fiona and Ne-Yo both performed. Toward the night's end, Archibald took a moment to leave his mark on the MJ dedication wall by paying respect to the man who brought everyone out -- "You Bad MJ."
Matisyahu co-manager and co-founder of A Frame Management Jeff Kuprycz stops for a photograph. (Photo: Andrew Marks)
Cooper and Fiona get serious before the show. (Photo: Fernando Leon)
The MAC Presents posse before getting "Michael Jacksonfied" (from left): Samantha Folb assistant; Jessica Beutler senior sponsorship coordinator; Anderson McLaughlin, executive assistant; and Kacie Lehman sponsoring coordinator. (Photo: Fernando Leon)
...and The MAC Presents posse after getting "Michael Jacksonfied" courtesy of StudioBooth mobile studio at the event's Jabra/ClubCreate activation area.
Ne-Yo soaks up the scene from the stage. (Photo: Kyle Dean Reinford)
Billboard publisher Tommy Page (left) poses with Club Create CEO Corey Simmons. (Photo: Fernando Leon)
Hot 97 program director Ebro Darden pauses his conversation with Cooper to take a photo. (Photo: Andrew Marks)
(Photo: Fernando Leon)
Billboard editorial director Bill Werde catches up with Swizz Beatz before the show. (Photo: Fernando Leon)
(L-R): Epic Records' Courtney Lowery; Marcus Canty; Epic's Lauren Ceradini; American Idol Season Two contestant Kimberly Lockwood; Billboard publisher Tommy Page; and Epic's Marni Halpern get together. (Photo: Andrew Marks)
Ne-Yo laughs with PepsiCo's Saint John. (Photo: Fernando Leon)