Unplugged NYC Showcase at the Red Lion, feat. Timothy Bloom, Tammy Hendrix, Muzi, Brandon E. Williams, Serious Voice, Niva the Soul Diva and Others
November 19, 2014
I often go to a variety of networking events across town. After all, it’s a good way to meet folks in particular industries that I wouldn’t normally have met and it’s an even better way to get the word out about me and JOVM. It’s just part of doing business. So a few months ago, I was at a networking function and met a brother who worked at local, independent reggae label based out in Jamaica, Queens.
I quickly scanned the man’s card and saw his company’s address and realized that I not only knew where it was, I passed it countless times when I had worked in the area about 15 years ago. (It’s incredible how time passes, right?) We talked a bit more and it turned out that he commuted back and forth from Jersey to Jamaica everyday. And at one point I had joked to him about how terrible I thought New Jersey Transit was. He later mentioned that he ran a monthly showcase featuring up-and-coming urban artists that he had called Unplugged NYC.
Ever since I’ve started JOVM, I’ve had an interest in covering things that caught my attention – especially those things that the rest of the blogosphere aren’t paying attention to and should be. And any opportunity to discover and champion a new act is something that I believe is very important. So I went down to the Red Lion in the West Village for November’s installment of the Unplugged NYC Showcase. And much like countless other showcases I’ve been to, they can often be a bit of a mixed bag – generally speaking, there’s maybe one truly exceptional act, one act that’s kind of middling but with the right guidance may become exceptional, and one or two acts that are frankly unlistenable; however, what made this particular showcase interesting was that there was quite a bit of talent. Granted, much of that talent was pretty raw with one notable exception.
- Timothy Bloom – Bloom is a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter who has penned songs for the likes of Ne-Yo and Chris Brown. And his own work, which had Bloom switching between guitar and keyboards, reminded me quite a bit of Cody ChesnuTT, in the sense that it was soulful but with a very adult thoughtfulness and sensuality. By far, his stage presence was the most polished of all of the artists and he did a great job of doing small things to engage the members of the crowd who were there to see the showcase.
- Muzi (sadly not pictured) did a short but energetic set of trap-inspired hip-hop that wasn’t exactly the most original stuff I’ve ever heard but it was fun.
- Serious Voice had sound that possessed elements of hip-hop and R&B in a fashion that reminded me quite a bit of Missy Elliot and Lauryn Hill. She managed to perform with an infectious energy that won over a large section of the room.
- Niva the Soul Diva, performed a funk/soul/pop set that reminded me a bit of Jodi Watley; however, she sung her lyrics with a terrible lisp that made listening to her extremely awkward. I honestly couldn’t help laughing throughout the entire set. (I know, it’s mean but yeah.)
- The other male singers were okay but they had stiff and cliched stage presences but pleasant enough voices.
- There was also a gospel group that sang very beautifully but considering that I was in a bar, drinking heavily, it seemed odd to hear songs about Jesus. But maybe that’s me.
For these photos and more check out the Flickr set here: