BEST BETS: Nadjah Nicole bringing ‘Voice’ to Saturday Schwartz show

Delaware’s Nadjah Nicole, known for 2015 stint on “The Voice,” will appear at Saturday’s Amillion & Friends Home Concert Saturday night at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover. (Submitted photo)

It will be a decidedly Delaware evening when Saturday’s Amillion & Friends Home Concert hits the stage at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover.

Dover’s L. Amillion Mayfield, aka Amillion the Poet is hosting a night of hip-hop, R&B and gospel music.

Special guest will be the First State’s own Nadjah Nicole bringing her own brand of soulful pop music to the night. Ms. Nicole is best known for her ninth-season stint as a contestant on the NBC hit talent show “The Voice.”

Her four-episode run over 10 weeks brought her just short of the top-12 finalists.

For the 25-year-old Claymont resident, who was born while her father was stationed at Dover Air Force Base and grew up in New Castle, her appearance on the television show was the culmination of a lifelong dream to sing professionally.

“I’ve wanted to sing since I was 12 years old,” she said.

“I sang in the church choir and then started to sing professionally when I was about 16 years old, both recording and out gigging.”

Her father dabbled in music, in choirs and playing some instruments, but her mother was a biology major in college with little interest in the arts.

“They are two completely opposite people. This wasn’t what they expected for me necessarily but they are all for it now,” Ms. Nicole said.

She credits Jeremy Hebbel and Gayle Dillman, of Gable Music Ventures, producers of the locally popular Smyrna at Night event, as giving a kick start to her career, booking her for shows in the Wilmington area.

“I always say they had the plug when they met me. They were great in introducing me to people, trying to book shows for me. They got me my first sold-out show. They, along with my parents, helped me grow quite a bit,” Ms. Nicole said.

She bolted into the national spotlight in the fall of 2015 when she attracted attention on “The Voice.”

Both celebrity judges Adam Levine and Blake Shelton vied to be her mentor with Mr. Shelton getting the nod from Ms. Nicole.

“The whole thing was wonderful,” she said. “To this day, I still can’t get over how surreal the whole experience was. I try to tell people to be proud you’re from Delaware but to realize there are bigger fish to fry and to try to get a taste of everywhere else you can.”

She was not only mentored by “The Voice” judges but other musical artists such as one of her idols, Rihanna.

“She smelled great,” Ms. Nicole said enthusiastically.

Aside from the exposure it gave her, Ms. Nicole said her time on “The Voice” provided her life and career lessons as well.

“It gave me standards. Like when I’m doing a show, make sure I’m getting the best deal I can and I’m not working my behind off and not getting anything out of it. I learned so much business stuff and how to delegate responsibility and not take it all on myself,” she said.

Most of all , the show gave her confidence that she could do what she’s wanted to do since she was young.

“Everyone who goes on there is such an amazing singer and to know that I could sing right with them was such a boost,” she said.

“That I could sing on a national television show just as well as I can sing at World Cafe Live (in Wilmington) was very validating.”

She also loved the chance to represent her home state.

“I talked about this on the show. We’re such a small state that some people don’t even realize that Delaware is a state. I was happy to talk about it. If it wasn’t for our former vice president, some people still wouldn’t know about Delaware. But we matter. Delaware lives matter,” she said with chuckle.

For Saturday night’s show, Ms. Nicole said she will sing a mix of familiar and unfamiliar songs.

“I don’t like to tip my hand too much before a concert but my band and I always come to impress,” she said.

Ms. Nicole said she met Mr. Mayfield at the Delaware Black Awards in October, where she won the Best Performer Award.

“He was one of the hosts and I met his daughter and whenever two people are admirers of each other in this business, you always say ‘Let’s link up,’” she recalled.

“He called me around the first of the year and asked if I’d like to be involved. He has such a positive message and is such a positive person. I’m a little picky about who I work with. I don’t want to be around the wrong crowd or the wrong people. But Amillion is a really great guy and such a talented artist so that’s not something that I have to worry about with him.”

Next month, Ms. Nicole will go to New York City to be a part of New York Fashion Week. She will be singing for a couple of different fashion shows.

“It’s a great opportunity. Not everyone watches shows like “The Voice,” so it’s a great way to get some more exposure,” she said.

The evening will include a tribute to late music artists who inspired Mr. Mayfield — Victory The Producer, Thomas TC Clay and Big Snap.

Opening acts will include local rising talent such as Amani Ciarra, winner of the Delaware State University Talent Showcase, Big Frank and Dover’s Cypher Clique and Chris Skillz.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $10 in advance or $15 at the door and can be purchased by visiting SchwartzCenter.com, calling 678-5152 or stopping by the box office at 226 S. State St.

‘Days of Power’ premieres

Up in Middletown on Thursday, a movie that is also distinctly Delaware will premiere.

“Days of Power” will be shown at Westown Movies at 7 p.m. The film was shot almost entirely in the First State and features local actors and musicians, such as Milford native Missy Grynkiewicz, along with Oscar-nominated actor Eric Roberts.

The film is a thriller about an international pop star and band mates who mysteriously disappear while on tour. As past and present merge, they find themselves searching for answers and fighting for more than just their own lives when a concealed industry is revealed.

The film was shot at such places as The Everett Theatre, Westown Theatre, Main Street in Middletown and the Port Penn Wetlands. The filmmakers also partnered with Delaware-based rescues Faithful Friends, Delaware Puppy Rescue and features dancers from New Castle Dance Academy.

Additionally writer/producer, Michel Grey, is a local to Middletown.

For more information, visit www.daysofpower.com.

Milton students at Disney

The Musical Theatre Ensemble at Milton Theatre is gearing up for its annual upcoming Disney showcase performance later this month. For the past few weeks, kids from all over Sussex County converge at the historic Milton Theatre for rehearsals that will prepare them, and their show, to Disney theme park standards.

There will be two benefit shows this weekend at the Milton Theatre. The Funsters Dance Party will be held Saturday. Sunday’s Disney Cast Benefit Show will feature the participating kids presenting their full talent showcase ahead of their performance at Walt Disney World in Florida. All proceeds will aid in trip expenses.

Aside from performing live at Disney World, the kids will also undergo special workshops conducted by Disney professionals specializing in different disciplines on the same trip.

Tickets to both events will be $10 and are available for purchase at MiltonTheatre.com or by calling 302-684.-3038.

The Milton Theatre is at 110 Union St.

Sing your heart out

The Southern Delaware Nautical Sounds Barbershop Chorus is offering Singing Valentines throughout Sussex County Feb. 13 and 14.

A quartet will travel to the home or place of business of the object of your affections and present him or her with a long-stemmed rose, a Valentine card and two songs.

The cost is $40. Proceeds from the program allow the chorus to continue its tradition of barbershop harmony at various locations and local charitable events.

Contact Herman Rotsch at (302) 644-1321 to arrange time and place.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the horror sequel “Rings” and the sci-fi fantasy film “The Space Between Us.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the animated “Trolls,” the holiday film “Almost Christmas” and the acclaimed film “Loving.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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