Freestyle Music in the Bronx
Freestyle music is enjoying its 8th year at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx. Produced by Sal Abbatiello of Fever Records, “Forever Freestyle 8,” featuring Stevie B, Lisa Lisa., TKA’K7, Safire, Johnny O, Cynthia, Lydia Lee Love, Nayobe, Sammy Zone and Fonda Rae will bring Latin dance music to the stage on Saturday, March 1, at 8:00 p.m.
I had a chance to talk with singer, songwriter and producer Stevie B about the Forever Freestyle 8 tour, his career and creative projects. “I am pretty much always on tour. We start from the West coast and work our way up northern California coastline where we go with the Free Style Explosion. Then we will head east. There is a large following, especially Latin American following that love freestyle music. We are giving them what they have been accustomed to for the last 27 years,” claimed Stevie B.
Although some of the dance clubs have dwindled, people are still longing for the dance era. “Dance music is returning. You have new kids coming into the music but folks are longing for the old sound of free style disco dance music. People are passing the music down the family line with folks introducing the music to their kids and their kid’s kids. Sometimes I am amazed how young the audience is that is listening to our music,” explained the Latin singer of the music genre that had its zenith in the 1980s.
Freestyle which was often referred to as Latin hip hop began in the Bronx, taking root in the underground hip hop dance music scene. The music was fused with funky rhythms of first generation electro, Latin sounds, ballads, hip hop and pop. It spread throughout the Latin communities in New York and Miami and for a time took over the dance club scene.
Stevie B became a hot commodity. Born in Miami, Stevie B lived in NY for a while, but has dwelled in California for the last 30 years. He wanted to sing and started off in a high school band. He opened up his own studio in 1986-87. His interest in music led him to listen to artists like TKA and Shannon. “The first song I did was “Party Your Body.” I was looking for someone to sing but couldn’t find anyone so I started laying down the tracks myself, recalled Stevie B, who’s hits included “I Wanna Be the One,” “In My Eyes” and “Love Me For Life.” Also known as the “King of Freestyle,” Stevie B is perhaps best known for his ballad “Because I Love You (The Postman Song)” from 1990’s Love & Emotion. His hit “Party Your Body” went Gold as a single and the LP went platinum.
“I am always writing and creating music but I have been writing my autographical book for the last 13 years. It contains 13 chapters about an hour long. I’ve finished the audio book and it was scored like a movie. There is 13 hours of listening to my life story. It will be out by springtime. The audio will come with the book which is called “The Journey of the Perfect Man.” It’s in hardback and I sell it almost everywhere I go but now that the airlines charge so much money it’s harder to carry the books with me. So now I will have the distributors forward to the venues where I appear. People can also listen to the digital on their phone, Ipads and computers,” said the recent author who is a huge hit in Brazil. “I met my wife in Brazil the first day I went there. My relationship with Brazil has been mind boggling for the last 22 years. The Brazilians love every inch of Freestyle music,” claimed the singer/author who is also working on the movie script of his life story.
Interested parties can find out more about Stevie B on his website www.StevieBmusic.com. Also for tickets to the Lehman Center Forever Freestyle 8 concert on March 1st call the Lehman Center box office at 718-960-8833 or online at www.LehmanCenter.org.