BET Networks’ newest reality music competition series The Next Big Thing, made its premiere last week with a lot of young talented artist trying to become the next big breakout sensation
Dame Dash, Zaytoven and Tina Davis will place 21 up-and-coming R&B and hip-hop artists through a grueling artist development boot camp designed to create bonafide superstars.
“We have reinvented the stale singing competition show for our audience,” explains Dame Dash. Handpicked hip-hop and R&B artists from across the country will compete weekly in survival-of-the-fittest challenges leading to a showdown where A&R executives, Serge Durand, Capitol Records; Erika Coulter, Epic Records; Tuo Clark, Def Jam Records and CEO Ghazi, EMPIRE Records will have the chance to offer a record deal on the spot.
“This has never been done before and absolutely, not on this scale,” adds Executive Producer/Creator and “The League” member Tina Davis. “The finale will change someone’s life.”
Nipsey Hussle, Lil Kim, Tamar Braxton, and Joe Budden are among the celebrity artists who appear on the show as guest mentors throughout the series’ ten episodes.
When asked about what to expect from The Next Best Thing, and the need for another reality-esque, music competition tv show, Davis replied:
“We need a show like this because of this clout chasing, social media [era]. What happens is, anyone can become a star from social media now. So even in music, if you sing and do a great job, you can actually get picked up and get a deal from that.”
The Source had an opportunity to sit down with Zaytoven and Miss Davis to talk about the upcoming season of The Next Best Thing.
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What drew you guys to this project?
Davis: What drew me to this project is the fact that this show allows the artist to get the tools that are necessary for them to reinvent themselves to be great.
Zaytoven: Anytime you get a chance to deal with artist development and coaching, I’m ready to jump in, it’s what I do.
How did the concept of the show come about?
Davis: Well, I think to be honest with you. This is my first rodeo when it comes to this part of the entertainment industry. I informally talked to Holly Carter about the idea and within a couple of days, she contacted BET and had a very informal breakfast when Connie Orlando. Connie ended up falling in love with the idea and we went into production maybe a month or so later. We actually had an air date before we even really started filming. It started so fast I wasn’t prepared personally. We ended up trying to figure out who would be great to share their knowledge with these kids and we immediately thought of Zaytoven obviously because has a lot of Grammys and we thought of Dame because as music entrepreneur, he’s built a lot.
What would you guys like the audience to know about The Next Best Thing?
Zaytoven: I want people to see how getting into the game isn’t an easy task. For some reason, everyone thinks the music industry is the easiest thing to get into. Just because you think you can rap or sing, the show lets you see it’s a lot more than that. You have to be hungry and willing to learn and take criticism well and be coachable.
Davis: I would add on top of that, it definitely takes sociology, it’s a little psychology, a little bit of everything. But you sometimes have to work with an artist, a producer, or with a songwriter to pull out what is necessary to convey in that session.
What was one of the biggest challenges for the artists?
Zaytoven: Well, I know one of the challenges for me that was difficult that I know a lot of artists today couldn’t even complete is when the artists had to create a song, write out a complete song, memorize it, and perform it in front of a crowd in less than 24 hours. You know, that’s a real challenge that a lot of people can’t do. I know a lot of artists that are popping right now that if you try to put that same task in front of them, I bet they couldn’t pull it off. So, you know, those are real challenges and I think the people watching that want to be artists, they need to see that they need to be at this level. You gotta be at this playing field to even try to make it as a successful artist.
Nowadays talent lack artist development is that something you guys are bringing awareness about on the show?
Davis: Absolutely. Having artist development back in the day, I’m about date myself, but that’s how The Temptations learned to be great. Even in Hip-Hop, artist development allowed MC Hammer to have those incredible performances. And even Public Enemy, LL Cool J, you can look at the artist development even with Migos right now. From the first time, we saw them perform to opening the BET awards, that’s a big difference. Artist development is important to have longevity, to reinvent yourself, and this show does that.
What do you guys think about the state of Hip-Hop and R&B right now?
Zaytoven: I feel there is room for improvement. We got to get it back to vocals and lyrics. Technology has made it a little too easy for some artists to not push themselves to the next level. A lot of artists don’t have an identity. Everybody is mimicking you know, what they hear already know, so you get a lot of this stuff that sounds the same. One thing you will see from the show is the levels that we will push these artists to be great.