Monday, February 22, 2016

Usher and Demi Lovato join White House tribute to Ray Charles

Usher and Demi Lovato are heading to the White House to perform in a musical celebration of the late Ray Charles.

Gospel singer and actress Yolanda Adams, country rockers The Band Perry, soul singer Leon Bridges, R&B jazz musician Andra Day and singer-songwriter-producer Anthony Hamilton will be joining the line-up for the Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles: In Performance at The White House event, it was announced on Friday (19Feb16). 

Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard, veteran soul singer Sam Moore and Empire star Jussie Smollett are also due to take part in the occasion, to be held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday (24Feb16). In addition, the show will be broadcast on Friday (27Feb16) on the PBS network across the U.S., a White House representative confirmed. 

It will be the 16th such event held while President Barack Obama has been in office. Prior to Wednesday evening's celebration, First Lady Michelle Obama will hold a daytime workshop with some of the artists, for more than 130 school and college pupils from across the country. 

Ray Charles, who was played by Jamie Foxx in 2004's Oscar-winning Ray biopic, died on June 10, 2004, aged 73.

Demi certainly has a busy few months coming up as she will also be hitting the road with Nick Jonas on their joint Forever Now tour in June (16). 

The two former Disney stars have a shared history - they co-starred in the TV movie Camp Rock (alongside Lovatos ex and Nick's brother Joe), and Demi was a supporting act on the Jonas Brothers' 2009 tour. 

It was during the South American leg of that tour that the pop star suffered a meltdown backstage and entered rehab to seek treatment for a series of emotional issues. 

Nick also helped put together the Skyscraper star's comeback shows for her 2014 Neon Lights Tour. 

"Two tours ago, I was a part of (Demi's) creative team... and getting a chance to work behind the scenes was fun, but now to do this together is really special for both of us," Nick told U.S. breakfast show Good Morning America. 

"I hope that we have an incredible time and that our fans enjoy it, that's the most important thing," Demi added of the joint gigs. 

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