The beauty of the human mind is our imagination. When I think of artists with soulful, smooth vocals, I picture Billie Holiday entrancing a captivated crowd in a smoky, dark hole in the wall. Being of this era, I never had the pleasure of hearing Billie live, but Sy Smith’s March 26 performance at Warehouse Live Greenroom came close to that image I had in mind when picturing the perfect setting for an intimate vocal performance. The dark performance space furnished with booths and rows of chairs felt more like a speakeasy than a bar. Contributing to the intimacy of the setting, Sy Smith’s team ensured all guests received a gift upon entry-a copy of her latest album, Sometimes a Rose Will Grow In Concrete, candy, and a pin touting Smith’s powerful branding associated with her album-a fist shaped rose.
Prior to the performance, the audience had the pleasure of hearing a conversation between Smith and local radio personality Mista Good Bar (who you can hear on 90.1). Sy discussed how her wonderful album’s meaning is left open to be interpreted how listeners please. The album was produced by the artist herself, a feat not common nor appreciated enough in the music industry. Smith serves as a pillar of strength and solidarity-on this evening she told stories of her family roots and how important this history is to modern Americans now. This talented songstress was introduced to music at a young age, studying classical piano for ten years. As she got older, she had the privilege of performing with Whitney Houston at the tender age of 23 and has shared the stage of other legends like Chaka Khan. Smith received an award from the city for her musical contributions after the interview and her genuine joy upon reception was nothing short of infectious.
An insightful opening interview lead its way into a beautiful, raw performance. The show actually opened up with slight technical difficulties so Sy improvised an acapella while thanking the hardworking audio employee resolving sound problems. Smith’s set included songs new and old, including a special track featuring her father. Now and Later, a song that is sure to be an upbeat hit making us all crave summer time fun, was executed perfectly. Sy wrapped the evening’s set with Sometimes a Rose Will Grow In Concrete, hitting a high note that most vocal artists dream of approaching in their fantasies.
Unlike some artists that might make a quick exit, Smith was filled with joy when meeting her fans and posed for photos with some. She seemed truly full of love and happiness when around those who appreciated her musical talents. We at BSL want to take this moment to thank Third Eye Promotions, Serious Sounds Records, and of course Sy Smith for hosting a wonderful evening we won’t forget any time soon.
If you have the opportunity be sure to download Smith’s album and see her while she is touring. We promise it will fill your heart and satisfy your imagination.