Acoustic nouveau

The Signature brings acoustic soul to new show

By Chelsea Davis

Photo: Singer/songwriter Leon Timbo will perform in The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show’s Signature Acoustic on Sept. 26

The Signature is at it again! This time around, The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show, is giving the audience an acoustic show unlike any they’ve seen before.

On Sept. 26 at the Loft Theatre, audiences have the opportunity to see an array of renowned artists in a show that combines an acoustic backbone with poetry, singing, social awareness and a whole lot of soul.

“I think what you get is such a blend of energy from the caliber of artists [performing],” Lee Croxx, the CEO of Tripple Croxx Entertainment and co-founder of The Signature, said. “The grit and the heart that goes into this show … and our dedication to the artists and community is what sets us apart.”

Tripple Croxx Entertainment, founded in September of 2001, originally as a record company, was created out of a need and desire to give artists – poets, performance artists, singers, musicians – a platform to showcase their talent, as well as give a voice to urban creative arts.

“We’re a creative arts company … the record business did not seem like it would be the viable business for what we wanted to do,” Croxx said. “[Our] artists don’t fit into the traditional arts category.”

“Non-traditional” is a term used by Croxx, but also a term he tries to stay away from, feeling as though it can be a turn-off to some people.

“These are arts outside of normal arts … outside of the box,” Croxx said. “But there is no box.”

Performer Sierra Leone, co-founder of Tripple Croxx Entertainment and producer/writer of many Signature shows, believes the company and shows do so well because the artists, and audiences alike, don’t play it safe.

“It’s always eclectic, it’s always people who are willing to take a risk and come have an experience,” Leone said. “These live experiences are intangible. To be present and feel that energy … it’s a beautiful look at creativity – the essence of urban creative arts.”

This quest for the differently creative is what drove Croxx, Leone and their team to create the acoustic show in 2013. Tripple Croxx Entertainment had built a name for itself and driven creativity in a new direction, so much so, others began taking inspiration from the Tripple Croxx style.

“The landscape of art before the company was a lot of slam poetry … but now the landscape has changed and everyone wants to do a poetry mixed show,” Croxx said. “In order to keep fresh, relevant and on edge, and set us apart from the now-saturated market of urban creative arts, we created the acoustic show to keep our brand exciting.”

The acoustic version of the The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show, brings a more theatrical and intimate element not as present in the other shows.

“We wanted to add more theatricality,” Croxx said. “There are social issues that arise and they are spoken about in different pieces. We want to do theater, not just a show.”

This year, the audience has the great pleasure of seeing three wonderful talents: Tony Award-winner Georgia ME; neo-soul powerhouse Leon Timbo and jazz drumming wonder, Cedric Easton.

“We pride ourselves on some things – we have the best of national and local talent, and upcoming talent,” Croxx said. “We brought them here to not only expose Dayton to them, but to expose them to Dayton. We always want to make sure there is an even and fair exchange.”

Leon Timbo has worked with recording industry giants Quincy Jones and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, and has a strong friendship with singer/actor Tyrese Gibson.

“We are very humbled to be considered a show that is higher-minded,” Croxx said. “Timbo is interested in shows that are higher-minded.”

Cedric Easton is a jazz drummer out of Columbus. He currently performs with the Pete Mills Quartet, as well as serving as a faculty member for the Jazz Arts Group’s Jazz Academy.

“You’ll definitely see he’s amazing,” Croxx said. “Easton is awesome.”

And then there’s Georgia ME.

“If James Brown is the godfather of soul, then in Georgia’s genre, she’s the top-notch,” Croxx said. “You can’t say enough about Georgia.”

Tamika “Georgia ME” Harper, also known as GA Me, which stands for “God’s apostle, moving everyone,” has loved poetry since she was eight years old. However, she didn’t begin her poetry career until some time later after a coworker encouraged her to perform.

“I did the poem and my whole job came out,” ME said. “I got a standing ovation … I was just praising God for the opportunity.”

ME said after that performance she asked for God to allow her to do this for a living and be able to provide for her family.

“I’m a ghetto belle, God got me out of Atlanta and put me on Broadway,” ME said. “When you are righteous in your intent, God will give you everything.”

ME has traveled the world performing her poetry, including a European tour with Def Jam Poetry. Her many successes, including Emmy, Tony and BAFFTA awards, have only pushed her to succeed even more, but she never forgets her causes, or herself.

“I want to have the most fun I can as a grown person,” ME said. “I say my prayers every night and I get heaven all the time.”

ME is thankful for her relationship with Tripple Croxx and is looking forward to performing at the Loft Theatre.

“I think the integrity of Tripple Croxx sets them apart,” ME said. “They never diminish or demean the art form, and they are consistently great, so you want to give your all.”

Croxx and Leone are happy to have ME, Timbo and Easton and hope to continue to impact the community by bringing them phenomenal shows with extraordinary artists.

“It’s been a long road. We’re humbled and hope to do this for a long time,” Croxx said. “If Nashville is the epicenter of country and Atlanta is R&B, then we want Dayton to be the epicenter of urban creative arts.”

The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show’s Acoustic show is Friday, Sept. 26 at the Loft Theatre, 126 N. Main St. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. and the show begins at 9 p.m. For more information, please visit tripplecroxxent.org/index.html.

Reach DCP freelance writer Chelsea Davis at ChelseaDavis@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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