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Trio singing in harmony charms audiences

By: Wakana Tomori

Date Posted: 2001-09-07

“B4” or “Brothers Forever” is a trio that sings with such a beautiful harmony that captivates their audience with such intensity that they shut everything else off and just concentrate on listening. I used to wonder why their songs tug at people’s hearts so much, but now I know why.

The three members of the group, Chris Bell, Leonard Smoot and Horace Miller come from different parts of the U.S and met in Okinawa. Each of them had been raised with a church background, and had been involved in singing since they were children. They met at a restaurant called Lighthouse in Naha City. The three men were all singing in different groups, but after meeting several times became friends, until one day, it seemed the most natural thing for them to decide to sing together. “God brought us there. It was just strange how we met,” Smoot says, “but it was natural to sing because that is what we all have been doing since we were children.”

B4 has performed at many different venues in Okinawa already. They have had shows on base at Club Raphsody on Camp Foster, Kadena Officer’s Club, the 4th of July party at Marek Park, and off base at Pescaderia, many wedding receptions and private parties, Dragon Café in Naha, J’s Bar in Nago and many others. They have also successfully performed at shows in Tokyo.

The trio also was the opening act for several major recording artists’ concerts in Okinawa including Erykah Badu on Kadena, the Case/Naughty by Nature/112 concert, KC & JoJo, Carl Thomas, Montell Jordan and 98 degrees.

The B4’s repertoire covers many different kinds of songs. They can sing R&B and old school songs, can give the audience a Latin flavor, and can bring up the pop sound as well! Recently, the group has recorded three original songs; “Real Life” is about educating children, the other two songs are “I Know” which is a dance song, and “Before You Go,” a ballad. The trio’s goal is to complete their first CD, which they hope to complete by October this year.

I asked how they feel about the show business in Okinawa. “We love Okinawa and people on the island. That is why we love to sing here,” Smoot says. When they have shows, it is hard for them to communicate with the audience because of a different language, but they have a magical device called music. “Music is an universal language. Even though we don’t speak the same language, we have music to communicate with,” Smoot continued, “we have built a lot of friendships by performing in Okinawa, and that is very wonderful.”

The members say that the best thing about performing is that they can change people’s feelings. “Even if you have a bad day, the music can make it better,” Smoot says. “At the beginning of our show, we see people with stiff faces, but once we start singing, they loosen up.

B4 is growing, and just as its name, Brothers Forever, they are like a family sticking always together. “We appreciate L.A and Kevin of Sunset Productions who are doing the sounds for us, Bull and Yuka who are our managers, and of course, most of all the listeners,” Smoot says, adding, “We bring smiles on people’s faces. That’s why we’re here. We hope to build good friendships through our music.”

B4 has a show every first and third Sunday starting at 8 p.m. at Dragon Café, just across the Okinawa Prefecture Office Building in Naha City, and at J’s Bar in Nago City on the third Saturday of the month. The group will also perform at Camp Kinser Summerfest on Sep. 9.

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