Shawn Sounds, who proved to be a powerhouse crooner on Season 16 of “The Voice,” will headline this year’s Pride Winston-Salem on Oct. 19. He made it into the Top 8 on the popular competition TV show.
Known as “the singing teacher,” Sounds’ cover of the Luther Vandross’ classic “A House Is Not A Home” reached the No. 2 spot on iTunes’ R&B chart.
He has sung alongside chart-topping artists such as John Legend, Chrisette Michelle and Carl Thomas and toured with jazz man Jarrod Lawson, R&B crooners H-Town, and as one-third of the soul group Six Minutes ‘til Sunrise.
His mini-bio says his favorite artists are Usher and Beyoncé, and that he is obsessed with hats, sunglasses and cologne. He answered some questions for Relish by email from Houston.
Q: What cologne are you wearing?
Answer: Michael Kors.
Q: What did being on “The Voice” do for you?
Answer: It created a platform for me on an international level and has helped to add value to my fan base.
Q: What does it mean to you to play Pride Winston-Salem?
Answer: It means a lot. This will be my first time performing in the great state of North Carolina and my first Pride event.
Q: How did you get into music?
Answer: I can honestly say I was born into it. I’ve been singing since I can remember. My mother and all of her siblings were singers/pianists too. Music is in my blood.
Q: How are you growing as an artist?
Answer: I’m working on my debut project now. I’m definitely growing as a songwriter and performing artist by taking my work to new spaces, stages and audiences.
Q: Who has influenced your art?
Answer: As a singer and songwriter, I don’t really take after anyone. I don’t think I sound like anyone; nor do I try to. I have my favorite artists that I enjoy listening to, but, no one artists has influenced me to be who I am or do what I do.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
Answer: My biggest challenge right now is getting over some vocal issues I’ve been having as of late. Maintaining good vocal health is of the utmost importance for singers, and I’ve been struggling with it, because it’s hard to step away from music for a long time to heal.
Q: What does art do for you?
Answer: Art allows me to express what’s on the minds and hearts of others as well as myself.
Festival and food trucks
The theme for the 2019 Pride Winston-Salem Festival-Parade & Food Truck Rodeo is “Walking Tall for Stonewall” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT community against a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.
Also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion, the incidents are considered to the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the U.S.
The 2019 Pride Winston-Salem Festival will open at 10 a.m. on Trade Street. The parade will start at 11 a.m. at Fourth and Poplar streets, travel east to Trade Street, turn south on Trade, then west on Fifth Street. As they pass a reviewing stand, parade participants’ bios will be read.
Local dignitaries and drag queens will ride on convertibles and in Jeeps. The new Mr. and Miss Pride Winston-Salem and Winston-Salem Police Chief Katrina Thompson will lead the parade.
According to Jerry Morin, the event’s president, Pride had 29,000 attendees in 2018. “This year we expect to exceed that number,” Morin said.
Two stages on Trade Street will provide entertainment throughout the day, culminating with an official after-party 9 p.m.-2 a.m. at The Ramkat where Dueling DJ’s will spin the music and drag performance will pop up. Sounds will also be there for an encore performance.
Besides a performance by Sounds, Tito’s Vodka Main Stage will feature the Charlotte-based Kids in America, a 1980s cover band; and several local drag entertainers.
Kids in America is a six-piece band that covers all genres from the ‘80s from new wave, pop, dance and rock and rock ballads. The band specializes in recreating period visuals and delivering accurate covers.
The Second and Green Tavern Community Stage will host local musical and drag performances starting about 12:30 p.m. — after the Main Stage opening ceremony concludes. Bring dollars to tip the entertainers on the street-level dance floor.
This year’s festival will have 133 vendors hawking everything from pride merchandise to pet-rescue organizations to local affirming churches, and Liberty Street will host 15 food trucks.