Since its launch last June, R&B Live New York has been a platform for industry execs and other tastemakers to check out some good ol', live rhythm & blues from established artists and up-and-coming acts alike.

This past Tuesday (Jan. 15), Def Jam singer/songwriter Neyo christened the first R&B Live night of the year along with performances by artists signed to his Compound Entertainment production and management company. Warner Music Group's Kevin Liles and Michael Kyser, former Def Jam President and rapper Jay-Z, and actor Denzel Washington were there to check out the event.

It isn't unlikely to see music moguls of this caliber sit in during the weekly affair. On any given Tuesday, Music World Entertainment Matthew Knowles, Universal Motown's Sylvia Rhone, Island Def Jam's Antonio "LA" Reid and Bad Boy's Sean Combs will drop in for a listen.

At last night's show, Ciroc Vodka, Violator President Mona Scott and Hot 97's program director Ebro Darden were among the many music industry insiders with front-row table reservations. Others in attendance included Terrence J and Rocsi from BET's 106 and Park, BET President Stephen Hill and Kim Osorio.

Backed by house band Urbanology, the opening acts during yesterday's event were Compound Entertainment newcomers Duvant, Shanel and Jovy, who sang a two-to-three songs each before clearing the stage for Ne-Yo. The R&B star ran through a choreographed set that included his latest single, "Go On Girl," a song in contention to make his next and third album titled "So You Can Cry," "You Make Me Better," for which he was joined by rapper Fabolous, and the hit single "Because Of You."

R&B Live has been steadily gaining devotees since last year's opening-night, when performers Jaguar Wright, Tank and Deemi took the stage. Since then, other acts including Chrisette Michele, Mya, Lyfe Jennings, Solange Knowles, Alicia Keys, Trey Songz and J. Holiday have performed.

Constructed around a supper club format of dinner and drinks, R&B Live is run by co-principals Shanti Das and Eric Nicks as part of their 1st Class Entertainment venture. Das and Nicks are looking at opening up R&B Live to consumers via a 10-city tour of 2,500-seat venues. Also in the offing: R&B Live setups in Los Angeles and Atlanta.

"This feels like the old industry, with executives feeling comfortable enough to hang out and enjoy music rather than feeling forced to see someone," Das told Billboard Magazine last year. "It's an element that has completely been missing."


Additional reporting by Gail Mitchell, L.A.

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