By: Jaja Grays
Before heading to NYCROPHONE’s next show September 24th, read about the artists who brought on the summer heat during the June performance.
“Who’s here on a Tinder date,” said NYCROPHONE host, Marxman at the June 25, Acoustic Gold concert. Despite audience members’ reluctance to answer—because the dating struggle is real—Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3’s rustic décor, dim red lighting—similar to the ambiance of a photography darkroom—is an ideal venue for a Saturday night date. The show featured four eclectic artists including Sam Himself, Kita P, Kyle Shedrick and surprise guest performer, Chanese Elife.
According to NYCROPHONE founder, Hauke Gahrmann, the first act of the night wasn’t exactly planned. During Gahrmann’s commute to the venue, he stumbled upon R&B singer, Chanese Elife in NYC’s central hub for all underground talent—the subway.
Holding nothing but her guitar in hand, Gahrmann decided to take a chance and allow Elife to take center stage, in front of the large audience. Despite Elife’s petite stature and urban attire, the Harlem native made her presence known by shocking the crowd with her explosive vocals and lyrics about economic injustices, in “Scream My Blues.” Needless to say Elife did not disappoint.
Sam Himself, a Brooklyn resident by way of Switzerland, followed Elife’s surprise act. Sam Himself started his performance with his hit single “Boatman’s Song,” featuring soul-songstress, and returning NYCROPHONE performer, Denitia Odigie.
Behind his Johnny Cash baritone vocals, the “Boatman’s Song” sheds light on the ongoing refugee crisis. “I came to kill, I came to steal. Your wife, your job, your Sunday meal. My name is beggar/warrior/thief, ain’t that what you’re calling me?” In the song, Sam Himself illustrates the misconceptions and negative stereotypes often portrayed about the Syrian migrants who are desperately seeking safety.
The theme of the night certainly revolved around major current events until singer and songwriter Kita P flipped the script and temporarily removed the audience from the chaos of the world—taking us back in time with a cover of “Let Me Know,” by R&B’s fallen angel, Aaliyah.
The 30-year-old Pennsylvanian’s sultry voice quickly mesmerized the crowd as she continued to sing classic slow jams such as Janet Jackson’s “I Get So Lonely,” and Floetry’s “Say Yes.” Cover songs can be tricky business if not properly executed, but Kita P. did not disappoint as the attendees willingly sang along.
After melting our hearts with flawless covers, Kita P slayed with some of her original material including one of her newly released hypnotizing song, “Dream.” Her own work not only demonstrated her unique vocal capabilities but also showed her poetic side in her lyrics. “Dream of the beauty within your soul…Dream through the fears of the unknown the dream will light your soul.”
Prior to the recently released and highly anticipated Frank Ocean album, R&B singer and songwriter, Kyle Shedrick teased us with a seamless performance of Ocean’s “We All Try.” The New York native also demonstrated versatility when he captivated the audience with an acoustic remix of Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning.”
In the wake of the police shootings, earlier this summer, Shedrick’s final song of the night struck a chord close to home with his moving performance, in “War.” In “War,” Shedrick emphasized the unjust treatment and use of excessive force by police officers against unarmed African Americans. Toward the end of the song, Shedrick asked the audience to join him, singing “are you ready for war, get ready for war I’m ready for war.”
Harlem resident, Terrence Dilworth, 35, was surprised the artists’ music reflected problems in today’s society. “When you are not only able to perform well vocally but use your platform to send a powerful message that addresses significant issues, you are an influential artist. And I think that’s a good thing,” Dilworth said.
The musicians were not the only attractions of the night. Alongside the performers that night stood—or sat—Delaware visual artist, Alim Smith who created abstract paintings of all three artists during their respective acts, which was pretty impressive. The artist’s work, which is inspired primarily by music, can be located on Instagram @yesterdaynite or on his site at www.ydnite.com. Brooklyn Cake Pops were also a crowd favorite. The delicious treats—miniature frosted cakes on a stick— were complimentary at the event and can be purchased at brooklyncakepops.com.
You can check out the artists’ music on NYCROPHONE or Soundcloud. On September 24, NYCROPHONE will be featuring a new set of artists including Nicholas Zork, Sho Ishikura, and Wayna, at the Rockwood Music Hall. Tickets are available at http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1304407.