First was the annual Independent Achievers Award reception followed by the Red Star Soul concert. With the help of an elite committee of R&B music power players, Heineken selected nine artists from around the country that embodied "the hustle, the integrity, and drive to succeed while inspiring others along the way." This year's Independent Achievers Award winners are:
- Andre Harrel (New York): Founder of Uptown Entertainment that laid the foundations for the careers of Jodeci, Heavy D, Mary J. Blige, and entertainment mogul, Sean "P.Diddy" Combs.
- Mark Baston (Los Angeles): Producer, arrangers, and songwriter for artists Alicia Keys, Anthony Hamilton, the Dave Matthews Band and James Blunt.
- George Daniels (Chicago): Owner of George's Music Room and a Chi-town music legend and veteran
- Amp Fiddler (Detroit): A former member of groups Parliament and Funkadelic, and has kept the heart of funk, electronica, and soul music alive in the backyard of Motown.
- Joi Gilliam (Atlanta): One of ATL's most unique performers that began a record label for up and coming artist. (Interview below)
- Harold Lilly (Philadelphia): The man behind the hits for artists Luther Vandross ("Take You Out"), Fantasia ("Baby Mama") , and Angie Stone ("Brother) just to name a few.
- Tabi Bonney (Washington DC): A rising star on the D.C. live performance circuit
- DJ Mick Boogie (Cleveland): DJ of choice for celebs like Jay-Z and Venus and Serena Williams thanks to his unique talents on the ones and twos.
- Troy Taylor (Dallas): Writer and producer of songs for a range of artists including Boyz II Men, Tyrese, Faith Evans, Brownstone, Take 6, and Trey Songz.
L-R: George Daniels, Amp Fiddler, DJ Mick Boogie, Tabi Bonney, Joi Gilliam, Troy Taylor, Harold Lilly, Mark Baston
That's this year's Red Star Soul committee including hit-making producer, Bryan-Michael Cox; C.E.O of Kedar Entertainment, Kedar Massenburg; President of Universal Motown, Sylvia Rhone; 2006 Winner, Jason Orr, and Red Star Soul Host, Kenny Burns. After listening to the honoree interviews, visit this link to watch a great video of their deliberation process.