So much for the timeworn strategy of posting plaintive, beseeching flyers on East Bay Express news racks:
Oakland teen band PopLyfe — whose members are scions of Tony Toni Toné singer D'Wayne Wiggins and jazz drummer Ranzel Merritt, and students at Oakland School of the Arts — feel just short of the $1 million grand prize on NBC's nationally televised song-and-dance competition, America's Got Talent. Instead, the prize went to West Virginia-born singer Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., whose hard-luck biography probably elicited as many votes as his growly, endearing rendition of "Under My Skin." (He apparently spent several years washing cars at a West Virginia dealership before perfecting the American Songbook.)
Despite the loss, PopLyfe garnered scads of new fans in the Bay Area. As Merc writer Chuck Barney noted this morning, the band compensates, in talent, for what it lacked in votes. And the road ahead looks bright for these six young musicians.