Cameo and R. Kelly to Perform on Soul Train Awards

·Senior Editor

Soul icons and Cameo and R. Kelly have been added to the list of performers at the Soul Train Awards 2015. The acts join the previously announced host Erykah Badu and honorees Jill Scott and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, who will receive the first-ever Lady of Soul Award and Legend Award, respectively.

Cameo lead singer Larry Blackmon said the band behind massive hits “Word Up,” “Candy,” and “Shake Your Pants” is excited to return to the show. “We did the very first Soul Train Awards, very, very first. Don Cornelius asked us to do it,” he said about the late founder and host of the long-running music program. “It was fun and we haven’t done it since.”

Though the details of their set are still being finalized, Blackmon anticipates performing a medley. “We are going to do mostly familiar songs,” he said. “I put together what I thought might work, about three songs. I marked that down to two when I saw heard the time element.”

Though the band is known for its lively stage show, Blackmon said it took them some time to figure out how to approach their show. “When we first started playing live it took a great deal of work,” he explained. “We were a work in progress. We developed into what we became.”

The band that formed more than 40 years ago makes an effort to keep all of their performances fresh. “Every time we play those same songs we play as though we’re playing them for the first time,” he said. “It’s such a rush that every show is great.”

Cameo’s deep catalog has kept their music on the radio as oldies as well as reinterpretations by other artists. Blackmon said he especially enjoyed working with Mariah Carey when she sampled “Candy” for her No. 2 hit “Loverboy.”

“Mariah was great of course,” Blackmon said. “I’m always inspired and surprised by how well they might be familiar with our music. She knew every part of that particular song. She knew every adlib. Every part. She’s a professional.” Cameo’s music has also been sampled by Will Smith, Tupac, Korn, Aaliyah, and numerous others.

In January, the band kicks off its first residency at the Westgate Cabaret in Las Vegas. “It’s 42 weeks,” Blackmon said. “It’s the old Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, the same hotel Elvis Presley used to play and he used to stay there as well, in a penthouse.”

The Soul Train Awards taps Friday, Nov. 6, and will air on Centric and BET on Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. ET.

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