CHARLESTON, SC | February 13, 2024
The American Lung Association in South Carolina is pleased to announce that LaFaye Benton of LaFaye & the Fellas has signed on as a local celebrity performer in the 8th annual Lip Sync for Lungs, aptly themed “Totally ‘80s.” The Live Battle VIII, presented by Audi Charleston, will be held on February 29 at the Charleston Music Hall. This one-of-a-kind fundraiser supports local health programs, lung disease research and advocacy efforts in South Carolina and beyond.
Benton is one of five local celebrities who will perform in this totally rad showdown to win the title of Lip Sync Battle Champion. In addition to bringing star power to the stage, each celebrity performer has a fundraising goal of $15,000 to support the local efforts, including the Back-to-School with the American Lung Association: Backpacks for Bright Futures school supply drive in August.
We managed to snag an interview with LaFaye amidst her full schedule of shows to learn more about her approach to performance art and why lung health is so important to her.
LaFaye Benton, U.S. Army veteran and frontwoman of Rock-Soul band, LaFaye & the Fellas
Q. You’re a singer. When you served in the Army, one of your many roles included performing for military groups around the world. Now, with your band, LaFaye & the Fellas, you’ve graced local stages from Charleston Galliard Center to Music Farm to the Pour House. You’re also no stranger to the Charleston Music Hall’s stage, the longtime home of Lip Sync for Lungs. But lip syncing is a whole other can of worms. How are you expecting this night to go for you?
A. I live for tribute shows, which are all about the performance. When I’m portraying an artist, I try to truly embody their persona, their craft, their moves—what they’ve provided to the world. Audiences really respond to that.
My biggest inspirations are Tina Turner, James Brown and Prince. Their vocals are incredible, but they knocked people’s socks off with their performances. They’re my spirit animals.
And, I have a little edge because I’ve inhabited this persona before. But it’s a secret! You’ll have to buy tickets to the show to find out…
Q. You were a celebrity judge in last year’s Live Battle VII: We Be-Lung Together. Before the night was over, you knew you wanted to perform.
A. I was so impressed by the performances. They were amazing! There was so much support from the crowd. The energy is truly one-of-a-kind because everyone there has a connection to lung health and the mission of the American Lung Association.
The people, the energy and egging on from Andrea Serrano, who serves on the event planning committee and local leadership board, gave me the extra boost I needed to sign on as a performer. I thought to myself, “you’ve got to do this.”
Q. This year’s theme is “Totally ‘80s!” So, are you a big ‘80s fan?
A. Absolutely. I’ve always wanted to time travel back to the ‘80s. The big hair and the bright colors! That’s my personality. I’m a 90s girl to my core but the bright and wild style of the 80s really resonate with me.
Q. What’s your connection to the American Lung Association’s mission? What’s driving your participation in this year’s Lip Sync for Lungs?
A. I’m doing this for “Ma,” who’s biologically my grandmother, Polly. She passed from stage 4 lung cancer right when I got to the Army. She saw me through basic training—it’s almost like she waited for me to get there. We were incredibly close, and I take such pride in our relationship and love, and I miss her so much! Anytime I have a chance to honor my loved ones that are both still here and now in heaven, I’ll never turn down the opportunity to do so.
Q. What would you say to someone who’s never been to Lip Sync for Lungs?
A: You should come to Lip Sync for Lungs because we love life! Of course, we’re all here to have a good time, but we’re also here for an amazing cause: to prolong life and help find a cure for lung cancer and lung disease. We want to keep our loved ones with us and to put smiles on their faces.
Q. Thank you, LaFaye, and good luck! You can support LaFaye by purchasing a ticket or donating here.
The American Lung Association’s Lip Sync for Lungs Live Battle VIII: Totally ‘80s!, presented by Audi Charleston, will be held on February 29 at Charleston Music Hall. To purchase tickets, or make a donation, visit LipSyncForLungs.org. For sponsorship opportunities, please email [email protected].
2024 celebrity performer lineup features:
- Geoff Richardson – Owner of Lava Salon and co-founder of Lip Sync for Lungs
- Erin Lok – Stand-up comedian and Second City alumna
- Anna Krepelka – Owner of Charleston Lash & Brows and event record spinner at “Soul 45s With Anna”
- Julianne “JuJu” Taylor – Owner of Julianne Taylor Style and business coach, product designer and content creator
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.
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