Bell, Biv Devoe: Bringing the ‘80s Back to Cincinnati Music Festival, July 28
With their roots in New Edition, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivens and Ronnie DeVoe, known collectively as Bell Biv Devoe, are back on the charts with a new album and back touring, with an upcoming stop at the Cincinnati Music Festival, set for July 27-29 at Paul Brown Stadium.
Bell Biv Devoe is part of the Friday, July 28 lineup that includes, among others, En Vogue, SWV and Mary J. Blige.
“I guess the reason we got packaged together is because there’s a tone that needs to be set going into the weekend,” Bivens said in a phone interview. “We will do our part to help them reminisce with great music.”
That music will include some New Edition hits, according to Bivens. “We keep that in the arsenal, that’s the pride of our discography, the New Edition music. “We know the crowd and the fans love it. We love to throw in a few of those classics and let the crowd come in with us and sing along. Everybody gets the chance to go back and be a teenager.”
While Bell Biv Devoe may be a fan favorite from decades past, the group is finding a new audience thanks to a BET mini-series on New Edition and a new album, Three Stripes.
“It’s probably the reason we’re out working this summer,” Bivens said. “The success of the product has helped us put together the ‘Three Stripes’ tour. It caught us off guard, but it was definitely time after 15 years to put out another product.”
Bell Biv Devoe’s fans stretch across several decades, a fact Bivens is proud to note. “Candy Girl is a new single right now, Mr. Telephone Man, these records from ’83 and ’85 have resurfaced and given these kids new lyric content. Back then the lyrics were safe, it was about love and girls and smiling. I think that was our calling to bring R &B and families and kids back to lyrics that are safe for parents and teenagers to enjoy together.”
And while other R & B groups have come and gone since the time Bell Biv Devoe got started, Bivens said the group’s longevity was something that was planned from the beginning. “We were taught to be professional, we were taught to be entertainers,” he said. “So when the music industry stopped selling records that only hurt the artists that were used to putting out records but not touring. But it never affected us, because we never stopped touring.
“Things have changed dramatically music wise, but one thing that will never change is a woman getting beautiful and being taken out by her man or a guy going to a concert looking for a beautiful wife and meeting at a New Edition concert, saying they found love. That’s why we’ve been able to sustain and provide a night out on the town for people to enjoy themselves and reminisce.”
The 2017 Cincinnati Music Festival lineup includes:
Thursday, July 27: Party with a Purpose with Doug E Fresh, Kid Capri, Rob Base
Friday, July 28: Mary J. Blige, KEM, SWV, En Vogue, Bell Biv Devoe, Ed Thomas
Saturday, July 29: Usher, Fantasia, Anthony Hamilton, Confunkshun, Ro James
Tickets are still available at www.CincyMusicFestival.com.