There were many special moments that occurred during the 2015 BET Awards. The award show, broadcasted live on Sunday, June 28, delivered a spectacular, nostalgic Bad Boy reunion and tribute performances in honor of Smokey Robinson and Janet Jackson. Other memorable performances of the night were from rising artists (Tori Kelly, Avery Wilson, Andra Day and Silento) but left the audience in awe and asking, ‘Who is that?’
Tori Kelly kicked off the Smokey Robinson tribute by performing a cover “Who’s Lovin’ You.” Her vocal prowess had those in attendance on their feet, and those at home wondering who the new girl is. The singer-songwriter, born in Wildomar, Calif., first garnered attention with acoustic videos on YouTube of others’ hits. She also had short-lived stint on American Idol in 2012. Within two years (2012-2014), entrepreneur Scooter Braun began managing Kelly, she released two tender-hearted EPs (Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly and Foreward), and signed to Capitol Records. Before performing at the BET Awards, Tori Kelly performed her single, “Nobody Love,” at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards. Kelly released her debut album, Unbreakable Smile, on June 23, so this is likely just the beginning.
Avery Wilson may have gotten his start as a contestant on season 3 of The Voice in 2012, but it was his incredible 6-second Vine videos — in which he hits the highest of notes — that turned the most heads. Wilson didn’t let his reality show loss slow him down. The RCA Records signee performed his new single “If I Have To” at the top of the 2015 BET Awards and is prepping for his debut album slated for next spring.
Similar to Kelly, Andra Day initially took to YouTube to flex her vocal skills. Her covers of R&B to rock hits (Eminem‘s “Lose Yourself,” Florence + the Machine‘s “Cosmic Love,” Muse‘s “Uprising”) showcase Andra’s range of taste and talent. The singer-songwriter possesses a voice as powerful and classic as the great Jazz and soul greats that influence her. Andra Day gave attendees and viewers of the 2015 BET Awards a sneak peek at her upcoming Cheers to the Fall album with a performance of her single, “Rise Up.”
You may know how to do the Nae Nae and the Whip, but did you know that Silento is the artist behind the hit, “Watch Me,” that incorporates both dances? Quick history lesson: The Atlanta troop WeAreToonz came up with the Nae Nae dance around 2010; they released a dance instructional YouTube video for the Nae Nae two years ago, and followed it up with an official music video, “Drop That #NaeNae.” Silento takes that dance craze and combines it with others (the Stanky Leg, the Whip) and showcases the moves (and makes them the focal point) in his catchy hit, “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).” Silento broke out the dances alongside the cast of Black-ish at the 2015 BET Awards.