By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
Ken Talton wants it to be a giant date night. One in which people will get dressed up for a night on the town and enjoy some good music from the past and today.
That is the premise behind Summer Jam Music Fest III’s “Turn Down The Heat Tour.” It will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker in Oklahoma City. With a lineup that includes Fantasia, K-Ci. and JoJo and Jagged Edge, Talton thinks he has the right mixture to make that happen.
“First of all, people have been waiting on Fantasia since last year,” said Talton, who’s company, Countdown Promotions, is hosting the event. “So if you are a Fantasia fan, you are going to love it. She has a 90 minute show and she says she’s bringing it since she was unable to come last year. She’s going to do a longer show. K-Ci and JoJo are family of Fantasia. Many times at the end of the show, they perform with her.
“Last but not least, the response we’ve been getting from jagged Edge is as strong as we’ve been getting for Fantasia,” Talton continued. “All in all, it’s a great date night for those who are excited about coming.”
This will be the first time Fantasia has ever performed in Oklahoma. The former American Idol star was scheduled to come last year, but was unable.
Now she is back and has brought two iconic R&B groups with her to entertain a wide variety of fans.
“The nice thing about it is that if you’re a Fantasia fan, you knew her from American Idol,” Talton said. “So she has an extremely crossover audience even though she is R&B. Jagged Edge is strictly R&B. They are kind of a group like Guy, Mint Condition, they just come out and do their barber shop singing. Harmonizing. They throw down. From a diversity standpoint you not only get the rich urban flavor, but also the great crossover appeal.”
Those outside of Oklahoma do not often see the state as a must stop for R&B, soul or most urban acts. Because of that, it’s been a rarity that performers such as Boyz II Men, Joe, Brian McKnight and others to entertain in the Sooner state.
“Reality is that Oklahoma isn’t known for concerts like this,” Talton said. “With it being a B-market, and depending on the genre, a C-market, it’s really hard to get folks to come here. More importantly to try and do it for the price that’s needed. That’s why some of the shows pass Oklahoma City by.”
Yet, for the past few years, Talton has had a knack for getting old school R&B acts to give Oklahoma a taste even though it’s not considered an A-list stop. Whether it has been at the Norman’s Riverwind Casino or various venues in Oklahoma City, once they come through, they usually find their way back for more.
“Lately since I’ve been here I’ve been getting a lot of people who have been wanting to come to Oklahoma by virtue of the sellouts we’ve been doing,” Talton said. “I think the audience here in Oklahoma has appreciated the type of talent we’ve been bringing. They’ve been very gracious that every show has been a sellout.”