Jhené Aiko performs soulful set at RamFest

Julia Trowbridge



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Bright lights, good music and screaming crowds were the theme at last night’s RamFest.

Openers Chaz French and Eric Bellinger and headliner Jhené Aiko were a hit with the audience as they sang along with some songs and enjoyed others.

RamFest is an annual concert hosted by Ram Events. In its tenth year running, Aiko was the first female of color headliner. This year’s concert was also the first to feature hip-hop and R&B genres. 

“I like (Aiko), and it’s nice to just get out there and meet new people,” said Raghda Eldeeb, a second year graduate student studying student affairs and higher education. 

The first opener, Chaz French, is an artist who has struggled with a near-death experience and homelessness. French was very interactive with the audience, continuously jumping off the stage and jumping into the center at one point. Although most audience members did not know his music before the concert, he was loved by the end of his performance.

Chaz French raps into microphone and points towards audience
Rapper Chaz French performs on stage at Moby Arena during Ramfest 2017. (Jenn Yingling | Collegian)

“(French) is an artist who’s very hungry,” said Kent Washington, the Ram Event coordinator who recruited French to perform at the concert. “He has a lot of great potential and a great message: Anyone from the bottom can make it to the top. He’s a treat for our audience to have.”

The second opener, Eric Bellinger, is a singer, songwriter and engineer from California who has worked with big name artists like Usher, Drake and Chris Brown. Bellinger’s had a spectacular voice, and his set consisted of commentary empowering women, which was popular with the crowd.

Eric Bellinger raises hand and sings into microphone
Eric Bellinger famous rap artist and singer, performing for the 2017 CSU Ramfest at Moby Arena. (CJ Johnson | Collegian)

“I like the beat and tempo of the music,” said Tasha Martin, a Denver resident and fan of Bellinger. “It’s like baby-making music.”


Jhené Aiko, the headliner for the event, is an R&B artist who has a more soulful and laid back style. Using instruments like violins and harps in some of her music, she combines new, old and classical R&B to create her unique style. The audience loved her, with most of the audience singing along with some of her more popular songs like “While We Were Young.”

Jhene Aiko holds hands up while singing.
Headline performer; Jhené Aiko performign for CSU students and faculty during Ramfest 2017 at Moby Arena (CJ Johnson | Collegian)

“(Aiko)’s R&B is more of a soulful type of R&B,” said Isaiah Martin, a fourth-year political science major at CSU. “She is a very chill and laid back artist. She does her R&B sound in a different way.”

The Ramevent concert was a success this year, with its first R&B concert, a large attendance and overall enjoyment from the crowd. Pressed up to the front as much as they could be, the audience danced along, put their hands in the air and belted their favorite songs as they were performed on the stage.

“It’s a pretty cool and chill concert,” Martin said. “These are good artists, and this is a really good crowd for RamFest’s first rap and hip hop venue. It’s really big.”

CSU students raise hands, take photos, and enjoy concert
CSU students watch Jhené Aiko perform at Moby Arena during Ramfest 2017. (Jenn Yingling | Collegian)

Reporter Julia Trowbridge can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @chapin_jules.