A graduate of Howard University, Sneed is an accomplished pianist, organist, vocalist, conductor, composer, producer, arranger and music educator, and works in genres from gospel to jazz to classical. He last worked with Washington Performing Arts as the headliner of a holiday performance at Sixth & I in December of 2019.
During the performance, Sneed will be joined on stage by some of his favorite musicians, and noted gospel singer Tasha Page-Lockhart will be a special guest.
On the night, Sneed will lead the song “Oh Freedom” and the rest of the program will include “He’s Right There Right By Your Side” sang by Chenee Campbell; “In A Still Small Voice,” by Tiffany Stevenson; “Jehovah God, You Are My All,” by Matia Washington and “Broken To Minister” led by Linny Smith. Page-Lockhart will sing “To God Be the Glory” and “Why Not Me” and will also perform a reprise of “Broken to Minister.”
“All of my singers are something special,” he says. “These are major artists who have worked and recorded with some incredible musicians as well. They have worked with everyone from Lin-Manuel Miranda to Wynton Marsalis to the Clark Sisters. They have worked on Grammy Award-winning projects and I am lucky to have them.”
As part of the stream, recorded at the Lincoln Theater, Sneed will also interview Page-Lockhart about some of her favorite memories of growing up amid Detroit’s thriving gospel music scene.
“I think this performance is great because the songs are full of inspirational messages, and this is a way for people to see us perform together live,” Sneed says. “This is full of messages of hope that will help all of us to move forward through this pandemic. The songs are very healing.”
In conjunction with the stream, Sneed will also be releasing a new album on the same day as this premiere, titled “Damien Sneed Unplugged.” The recording, released by LeChateau Earl Records, is a collection of familiar inspirational songs, with Sneed on piano and vocals alongside Campbell, Smith, Stevenson and Washington.
“It’s an inspirational album and I’m excited about it because it’s a reunion of sorts with all of my singers and village, who are like family to me,” he says. “Many of these people have been with me since the very beginning, since my first recording, and I decided to go back and re-record some of my original songs, some that go back years and years.”
Sneed is thrilled that he’s able to get this music out there and invites people to get a sneak-peak of many of the songs during the Damien Sneed and Friends concert.
Damien Sneed and Friends will premiere on April 16 at 8 p.m., and will be available to stream until April 22. Tickets are $20. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit washingtonperformingarts.org. Learn more about Sneed at www.damiensneed.com and follow @damiensneed on Instagram.
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