“People call me the P. Diddy of New England,” J. JEWELS says when he calls to confirm that I got his e-mail. “That’s what some people say.” It remains to be seen whether he can top the pop charts, but he’s got Diddy-style diversification on lockdown. Jewels is the proprietor of JewelsE Inc., a self-styled New England conglomerate that’s throwing the NEW ENGLAND IDOL super-event this Saturday night at the Chevalier Theatre in Medford. The evening includes the competition itself interspersed with performances from Jamaica’s MR. EASY, local sensation OMEGA RED, former Sony item SMOKE BULGA, and T-CRISIS. Red is signed to Jewels Entertainment; T-Crisis is signed to Big Thing Records, a label distributed by, yes, JewelsE Distribution Company.
As for the contest, Jewels is proud to include genres the TV show leaves out. “American Idol focuses only on singers; New England Idol offers opportunities to a wider range of talent from models to dancers . . . competing in such genres as hip-hop, R&B, reggae, and reggaeton. I can already see the competition growing into a phenomenon. This year alone we have people coming in from PA, Jersey, RI, and more.” A DJ since the age of 14 and a producer since not much later, Jewels credits the New England Patriots for his renewed inspiration. “I said, ‘Wow, forget about just representing Boston, there is now a wider market out there.’ The Pats just put New England on the map big-time, so now it’s up to me to do my part.”
New England Idol is an all-ages event, with TV cameras, a light show, and backstage footage on projectors out front plus cash prizes and record contracts for the winners. “There is a lot of undiscovered talent in New England, people that would put Mariah Carey to shame and give everyone from Mary J. to Christina a run for their money. A talent is a talent in my eyes, either you have it or you don’t.” Jewels won’t be a judge, however — that task goes to BIG DADDY and GEE-SPIN from JAMN 94.5, modeling professionals, and a few others. “I want people to attend and be a part of it all, it’s JewelsE history in the making.” Next up for Jewels is the “Keep Hope Alive” concert at the DCU Center in Worcester, with Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, and Jay-Z protégée Teairra Marie plus local talents EDO G and the aforementioned Omega Red, of whom Jewels says, “Keep an eye out for him, he’s going to be everywhere this year.”
If hip-hop and models aren’t your thing, two miles away that same night you can catch some creative “radical transcriptions” of cutting-edge sound design. The Nave Gallery, my friends at Non-Event, and the Berwick Research Institute are putting on a strange event featuring the aural sculptures of SF SOUND and the always reliable BSC with local microsound guru BHOB RAINEY. It’s a rare appearance for the Bay Area collective, who specialize in avant-garde composition, electronic sound, and tape music. The Saturday-night showcase takes place at the Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church, 155 Powderhouse Blvd in Somerville. . . . A modern giant of electro-funk DJs is at T.T. the Bear’s Place tonight (February 23). CYLOB, who records for Aphex Twin’s Rephlex label and is a perpetual placeholder in discerning mixes worldwide, drops records sometime around midnight. Cylob (né Chris Jeffs) is the man behind the dance hits “Rewind!”, “Cut the Midrange Drop the Bass,” and “Living in the 1980s”; he’s worked with Squarepusher, 2 Many DJs, and many more. Expect a knee-cracking set of plugged-in funk. Also playing: Charlie Cooper of Telefon TelAviv, the Flashbulb, and Aliens at Home vs. Two-Bit Vision. Live visuals for the night come courtesy of Emerson College graduate and familiar name James LeSage a/k/a BROKEN LENS, who’s played with DJ Flack, VJed at Zeitgeist in Inman Square, and rocked Mass Art. He’ll provide eye candy for this soultronik freeq extravaganza. Drink plenty of water.