After a one year hiatus, R&B showcase The Eclectic Ride returned Tuesday (May 6) with R&B singers Bilal and Emily King as hosts.
“I started in 2002 to provide New York with a dope artist scene,” says Eclectic Ride founder Forest Renaissance. “We originally had Tuesday nights at Joe’s Pub and then we moved to another spot, R&R, that I didn’t like very much for 11 months.”
Renaissance says on opening night in 2002, he called rappers dead prez to perform on a whim and ended up with Jay-Z, Scarface, Devin the Dude and Me’shell N’Degeocello in the audience.
Now, Renaissance has a new venue in New York City’s Drom and plans to hold showcases each week for both known and unknown R&B and alternative acts. Ryan Leslie is slated to perform in the coming weeks and Renaissance is excited to jumpstart the creativity of the Eclectic Ride.
Still, he admits that R&B Live, a showcase held bi-weekly at Times Square’s Spotlight Live, has stolen a bit of his thunder.
“R&B Live doesn’t have the community though,” says Renaissance. “It’s too big and the sound is terrible. The Eclectic Ride has to be a community atmosphere but I don’t knock R&B Live. We were fortunate to break artists like John Legend and Lyfe Jennings first though.”
Renaissance says he’s pitching the recorded showcases as a TV special to channels like VH1 and BET Jams but would really like to work with HBO.
“I want it to be gritty like “Playboy After Dark,” says Renaissance.