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Local South Florida Artists Join Stellar Lineup At 16th Annual Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival

On March 11th & 12, 2023, the 16th Annual Jazz in the Gardens (JITG) Music Festival will showcase the depth and diversity of some of South Florida’s most talented artists with an exciting home-grown artist lineup just announced. Local acts performing on the 2nd stage include 2016 JITG alums April RaQuel and Lavie, along with 2018 JITG alum Ronnie, the VOP – produced and backed up by Miami’s most popular R&B band, Jody Hill and the Deep-Fried Funk Band.


On Saturday, March 11th, April RaQuel, a multi-talented singer, songwriter, model and accomplished entertainer will bring her special brand of soul, funk and fierce fashion with her on stage artistry. Her powerful, captivating voice holds its own merit, lighting up the stage with her bold presence, commanding the attention of all. April displays an impressive range and depth, unmatched exuberance and a soulful voice and energy like no other. Among many accolades and accomplishments, April RaQuel was recently featured on the Ready to Love Miami TV show 2022.


On Sunday, March 12th, jazz and soul songstress LaVie will tell her story through music. Raised by Haitian immigrant parents, LaVie discovered her love for music at a young age. In 2009, LaVie released her first inspired soul album titled “Life Music. In 2015, LaVie toured 10 major cities including New York City, Boston, D.C., Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, opening for the son of Bob Marley, KyMani Marley. In 2016, LaVie performed at the 11th Annual Jazz in the Gardens to thousands of enthusiastic jazz lovers.

Additionally, Ronnie D. Smith Jr., an American singer, songwriter, also known as Ronnie The VOP, which stands for “Voice of Platinum”, will perform an exciting set of R&B and hip hop hits also on Sunday. Smith appeared as a contestant on season two of FOX’s hit music competition series, “The Four: Battle for Stardom” featuring a panel of industry experts including Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khalid and Meghan Trainor. Smith also performed the National Anthem for President Barack Obama.


JITG’s 2nd stage is produced by Jody Hill Live Entertainment. Backing up all artists on the alternate stage is Jody Hill and Deep-Fried Funk, South Florida’s own powerful, high energy R&B band who boasts wide popularity in the region, known for performing at a prime selection of high-profile events. DFF’s performances are characterized with a professional sound, performing an extensive musical repertoire and creating unstoppable grooves that always get audiences on their feet.

“Jazz in the Gardens is not only a spectacular music festival, but it's also a celebration of our culture where we create all types of opportunities for our local community to get involved,” said City of Miami Gardens Mayor Rodney Harris. “We are fortunate to have world-renowned artists perform at the event, but it's also important to get our local artists engaged. We are looking forward to the performances of our local artists, and we're excited to share the creativity and talents of these individuals from our community.”


These local acts will open for an A-list artist lineup of award-winning R&B, neo-soul, reggae and gospel artists, including Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Charlie Wilson, Sean Paul, Jodeci, Ari Lennox, El Debarge, Mike Phillips, the Adam Blackstone Experiece, Kierra Sheard, Chandler Moore and Pastor Mike, Jr.

More About The City of Miami Gardens


The City of Miami Gardens will celebrate its 20th anniversary of incorporation in 2023. With a population of approximately 113,000, it is the third largest city in Miami-Dade County. Miami Gardens is a solid professional community of unique diversity. It is the largest predominantly African American municipality in Florida and boasts thousands of Caribbean and Hispanic residents. The City is the home of the Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Dolphins football team, University of Miami Hurricanes football team, Orange Bowl football game, 2020 Super Bowl, Miami Tennis Open, the Miami Dolphins Training Facility and home of the Formula One Miami Grand Prix Race. The City has demonstrated steady growth in the areas of community and economic development and has gained a reputation for being a premier destination in South Florida. Miami Gardens is a 2020 All-America City, www.miamigardens-fl.gov.


By ML Staff. Images Courtesy of South Florida Local Artists

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