r&b Concerts

Find upcoming concerts of popular r&b touring artists.

R&B, alternatively spelled R’ n’ B, is the abbreviation of Rhythm and Blues, a genre that originated from African-American communities in the US in the 1940’s. It is derived from jazz, blues, and gospel music.

Starting from the 1920’s, there was a big overlap between jazz and blues musicians, with many of them playing both types of music. Typically, these artists were urban African-Americans. This continued into the 1940’s. In 1948, RCA Records marketed some of their “boogie-woogie”, a subgenre of blues that is tiered toward dancing crowds, and jazz records as “blues and rhythm”. The phrase got switched up a little bit, but the term “R&B” stuck. So much so that by 1949, it had its own Billboard chart category. The first famous R&B artist was Louis Jordan. However, the types of music the term “R&B” has referred to have changed a lot over the decades. The description you’re about to read below is that of “contemporary R&B”, which originates in the 1980’s.


In contemporary R&B, the beats (or instrumentals) are typically produced electronically. Mostly drum machines and bass, but also electric guitars and keyboards are often used and are prominently featured. Overall, the instrumental is more prominent than in pop.

Also, R&B is slower than pop and other popular genres of today. The typical beat per minute for an R&B song is between 60 and 80, as opposed to 100-130 for pop and 110-140 for rock. There is usually one lead vocalist on an R&B track, with occasional backup singers. R&B vocalists often use the technique of “sliding” or “melisma”, which is the practice of quickly and gradually moving the pitch from one to the other while still on the same syllable. They also often use “vibrato”, which is the rapid, slight variation in the pitch in the singing voice.

The songs in this genre have the classic verse-chorus structure with occasional bridges, however, there is more emphasis on the lengthy verses compared to the chorus. The most common chords in an R&B song are C major 7, F major 7, and Bb major 7.


Like most other genres, love, sex, and relationships are the most common themes in the lyrics of contemporary R&B songs. Historically, they often sang of the struggles of the African-American experience. The lyrics have loose rhyming patterns, there’s more emphasis on the story, rather than writing clever and perfect rhymes.


Since the genre of contemporary R&B is so closely tied to pop and hip hop, there is no artist that would not fit in either of the latter two categories as well.

The American Beyoncé started in the R&B group “Destiny's Child” as a teenager in the 1990’s. In the early 2000’s, she launched her solo career, which propelled her to even higher levels of fame. Her biggest hits in the genre are “If I Were a Boy” (2008), and “Single Ladies” (also 2008). Another world-famous female African-American R&B star is Alicia Keys, with such hits as “If I Ain't Got You” (2003). Chris Brown’s most famous singles are “With You” (2007), and “Look at Me Now” (2011). From the younger generation, The Weeknd from Canada has become very popular in the 2010’s.

The modern Rhythm and Blues genre is primarily popular in the United States. It is also commonly played in Africa, but those artists, such as Amanda Black or Tellaman, don’t tend to get international attention. Outside North America, famous artists in this genre are scarce. The best examples would be Craig David and Ella Mai, both from the UK.

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