Most of today’s biggest artists began small, performing at showcases and tiny venues. Those who performed at NY's recent New Music Seminar showcases, rocked and proved their staying power.
Artists like Dylan Owen, M Bars and Kiah Victoria each attempted to use the intimacy of these little stage spaces to their advantage.
New York independent songwriter and hip hop artist Owens was the opening act during a showcase at Tammany Hall. Performing a brief set to a smaller than expected audience of about twenty people, the crowd slowly made their way into the venue. Those in attendance watched quietly, bobbing their heads to Owens' rhymes. Despite the rude crowd being relatively engaged in chatter amongst themselves, Dylan displayed a sense of professionalism and confidence in his performing style with a set that included the song, “Ghost.”
New York MC, M Bars, hit the stage at Tammany Hall after Owens. Bars tried to engage the crowd with his song “Invented Swag,” yet the empty room didn’t return his lively attempt at attention. Still, like Owens, Bars wasn’t defeated, continuing through his performance, appearing to still be working on developing his own unique style.
Over at Drom NYC– a nightclub in East Village, it was clear that the Artist on the Verge Showcase was what everyone came to see. NYU’s Clive Davis Institute alumna Kiah Victoria, rocked the hardest, during her 40 minute set which featured her take on PBR&B, a type of alternative hipster influenced style of R&B with a heaping helping of soul. Evident in original songs like, “I See My Own Friend,” “You Don’t Know,” and “Aurora,” the crowd of about sixty chanted for one more song. And the young soulstress pleaded with the powers that be to give the audience what they wanted. But time restraints prevented Kiah from delivering that one extra single.
“Kiah Victoria is the truth,” a few of those in attendance could be heard declaring after she left the stage, as the night quieted down and wound to an eventual close.