The Artists of A Salute to the Troops: In Performance at the White House
U.S. Army Sergent Christiana R. Ball
A native of Rising Fawn, Georgia, Ball is a Drill Sergeant with Company B, 787th Military Police Battalion in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and was named Army Entertainment’s 2013 Rising Star winner — the top singer in the United States Army, chosen from a field of vocalists from Army garrisons around the world. She is a combat veteran, and was deployed in Iraq from June 2008 to September 2009. Recently, Ball performed on national television with country music singer Lee Brice, in a concert special in 2014.
Mary J. Blige
An iconic GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and philanthropist, Blige is a figure of inspiration, transformation and empowerment making her one of the defining voices of the contemporary music era. With a track record of eight multi-platinum albums, nine GRAMMY Awards (plus a staggering 31 nominations), a 2012 Golden Globe nomination, and four American Music Awards, Blige is a global superstar. The singer-songwriter has attracted an intensely loyal fan base — responsible for propelling worldwide sales of more than 50 million albums.
Multi-GRAMMY Award-winning musician, actor, author, community activist and inspirational leader, Common has spent his career pushing boundaries and taking listeners out of their comfort zones with his socially conscious words. With his continued work in film, Common has emerged as one of Hollywood's most sought after leading men. His tenth studio album, Nobody’s Smiling, was released by Def Jam/Atrium Records on July 22, 2014 and debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip Hop Chart. In 2007, he launched the Common Ground Foundation, which empowers youth in urban communities.
L-R Josh Paul, Josh Steely, Chris Daughtry, Elvio Fernandes, Brian Craddock, performers for “A Salute to the Troops: In Performance at the White House.” Premieres Fri., Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide.
John Fogerty, performer for “A Salute to the Troops: In Performance at the White House.” Premieres Fri., Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide.
A humanitarian, actor, author, health and wellness ambassador/educator and philanthropist, Harper’s credits include starring roles in the television dramas CSI: NY and, currently, Covert Affairs. His film work includes Lackawanna Blues, 1982 and The Boy Next Door, set for release January 2015. Additionally, Harper has authored four New York Times bestsellers, including The Wealth Cure, chronicling his diagnosis with thyroid cancer and his journey to health. In 2012, President Obama appointed Harper as a Member, President’s Cancer Panel; a key Administration post seeking to combat cancer and its devastating effects.
With a six-decade career and 200 plus albums, Nelson is the creative genius behind the historic recordings “Crazy,” “Red Headed Stranger” and“Stardust.” He has amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor and activist. In the last five years he delivered seven new album releases, two of which received GRAMMY nominations; published a Top 10 New York Times bestselling book; headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985; and graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. In December, Nelson will release a collaborative album with his sister called December Day, the first installment of his archival recordings series.
Respectfully known as “The King of Bachata,” Santos is firmly established as the leading Spanish-language music artist in the United States — fusing the traditional Dominican sounds of his heritage with modern elements of R&B, hip-hop and pop into a definitive new style. A dynamic singer-songwriter, Santos crafted the top-selling Latin albums of 2009/2010, 2012 and 2014 thus far earning multiple Billboard and ASCAP “Songwriter of the Year” honors. “Eres Mía” is Santos’ third #1 song from his multiplatinum album Formula Vol. 2 and his ninth #1 single as a solo artist.
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Matt Smith & Capt. John Ed Auer
These musicians formed their band in 2012 while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon at the 8th and I Marine Corps Barracks in Washington, D.C. Smith, a native of Bagdad, Kentucky, sings lead and plays the guitar, while Auer, from Franklin, Tennessee, plays the fiddle. Both have deployed twice, and discovered that music helped them pass the time while overseas. In 2014, they were chosen to represent the Marine Corps at ACM’s “All-Star Salute to the Troops.” The band has performed with Lady Antebellum, Alan Jackson, Little Big Town and others.
Don Was, Music Director
One of the most sought-after producers in contemporary music, Was has won multiple GRAMMY Awards and accolades for his work with a diverse array of artists, including The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Iggy Pop and Emmylou Harris. A native of Detroit, Was first came to prominence as a founding member, songwriter and bassist of the influential multi-genre band Was (Not Was). As President of Blue Note Records, Was is the company’s leader and ambassador for its music, presenting the label’s artists to worldwide audiences and building upon the label’s 75-year legacy of great recordings.