November 21, 2013
By Princess Manasseh
LAWT Contributing Writer
Talent show, family get together, fundraiser - these are the terms celebrity vocal coach Willie Norwood used to describe Platinum Mic Night Los Angeles (PMNLA) a showcase and singing competition. Modest terms for such a grand event, PMNLA is indeed all of those things but on a much larger scale than your average family talent show. That’s because the Norwood’s are not your average family.
Father of chart topping recording artists Brandy and Ray J, Willie Norwood is a singer himself, a celebrated vocal coach and a veteran in the music industry. Norwood along with his wife Sonja raised their children Brandy and Ray J in Carson California, guiding both of the stars music and acting careers.
These days the Norwoods are a known celebrity family with various projects at work in the realm of entertainment and community. One such project is The Norwood Kids Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Ray J, Brandy and their parents to help at risk youth succeed through performing arts.
The foundation trains young people in the arts of singing, dancing, drama, and musical theater according to their interests. In addition the foundation does a significant amount of community service, working with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of America.
In 2010 Willie had an idea that would help support the Norwood Kids Foundation, and PMNLA was born.
For a family that finds and cultivates talent by trade, it made sense to create a citywide singing competition to raise funds for a charitable organization, the family themselves serving as celebrity judges.
“We really have a good time, we have a lot of great talent, and it’s a great experience. This is the premiere talent showcase in Los Angeles,” said Norwood of the event. A portion of all proceeds going to the Norwood Kids Foundation.
Contestants of PMNLA are graded on vocal ability, stage presence, marketability, and overall presentation. As judges, Brandy, Ray J, Willie, and Sonja will make the final decision on which is the evening’s best performer; that winner will walk away with $5000 in cash and prizes.
Norwood also served as a celebrity judge at the 8th annual Taste of Soul festival for the StarQuest competition. Twelve-year-old Noah Maple was the winner of the StarQuest kids division and subsequently has been chosen to compete at PMNLA.
“Noah, really knew how to charm the crowd at the Taste of Soul,” remembered Norwood. “He’s a great performer and he’s going to do it again, but will it be enough at Platinum Mic Night? We’ll see,” said Norwood good-naturedly, reinforcing the stiffness of Saturday’s competition.
To buy tickets or for more information on the event, visit pmnla.com.