Jay Allen Sanford 11 a.m., July 11
RIYL: Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Bill Withers, Michael Jackson, Brian McKnight, Leon Bridges, John Legend, Ed Sheeran, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers, Bruno Mars
Inception: San Diego, 2010
Influences: Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Leon Bridges, Brian McKnight, John Legend, Al Green, Michael Jackson, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers, Adele, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars
R&B singer Durell Anthony was born and raised in Kansas, attending Benedictine College on a vocal scholarship. After receiving his Bachelors degree, he pursued careers in both counseling and education. "I’ve always enjoyed working with kids, so my initial goal was to become a teacher. That seemed to be the responsible thing to do. But deep down, I really wanted to sing. I just wasn’t sure how to turn that into a career."
A summer job in San Diego as a fitness counselor led him to relocate to California in 2010, where he joined the Black Belt Jones Band. He later became a member of the Mighty Untouchables, as well as leading his own R&B band, the Durell Anthony Collective.
His single "Dreams" was released in 2018, followed by an EP in 2019. In February of that year, he appeared on an NBC Elvis Presley TV special. "I was a part of a small group singing backup for Yolonda Adams and Carrie Underwood," he told the Reader. "Elvis performed a special in 1968, and this special was a 50 year anniversary tribute to that. We performed a couple of his gospel songs."