As four artists took the stage for the first ever Urban Showcase on Saturday, one thing quickly became clear: These are not your average Belmont songwriters.
Weston performs at Urban Showcase 2019 (Belmont Vision/Colby Crosby)
The performers displayed a broad range of musical influences, with everything from pop to hip-hop to R&B, and each encapsulated the “urban” genre in a unique way.
Chloé Hogan walked away as the competition’s winner — getting the chance to follow up her incredible performance with an encore at Best of the Best 2020 — but each musician showed major talent and got the audience excited and on its feet.
First to take the stage was freshman Matt Ryan, the youngest artist of the night. Leading off with an original called “Torture,” Ryan and his band opened with a slow but grooving beat. The energy built throughout the first song, which was packed with synth melodies and jazzy riffs. Ryan delivered a strong performance which showcased the talents of his band and the artist’s own unique style, fusing electronic hip-hop, jazz and R&B.
Matt Ryan performs at Urban Showcase 2019 (Belmont Vision/Colby Crosby)
Next came Weston, who brought the most hip-hop-heavy sound to the stage. Weston rapped confidently through two original songs, all the while alternating between bouncing around the stage and jamming out on keys. Though Weston’s vocals clearly dominated the performance, his band took it to the next level, enjoying themselves with the apparent ease of seasoned performers. Weston fittingly closed his performance with “Small Worlds” by Mac Miller, before jumping offstage to let his band finish the set.
After some technical difficulties — and a goofy trumpet instrumental to pass the time — Hogan filled the Curb Event Center with her incredible, soulful vocals. Decked in a sparkly jumpsuit, Hogan displayed a full range of emotion in just three songs — with the lighthearted “Lips Like Cherry Wine,” a powerful anthem about mental health and a touching tribute to love.
Hogan’s crisp vocals, regal stage presence and beautiful songwriting abilities paired perfectly with the effortless grooves of her band and background vocalists. She pulled off an altogether unforgettable set worthy of a showcase win.
Leah Colon performs at Urban Showcase 2019 (Belmont Vision/Colby Crosby)
Last but certainly not least came Leah Colon, who opened with a smooth but sassy R&B/pop blend, complete with snaps, beautiful background vocals and effortlessly fun stage presence. Her second song, called “Change” built into an energetic political anthem and then flowed gently into a verse of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” Colon closed out the night with a fun cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” dancing with her background vocalists and clearly having a blast.
On top of the impressive talent displayed by each of the four artists, the sheer diversity of music played Saturday night made this showcase one to remember.
This article written by Bronte Lebo and Grace Usleman. Photos by Colby Crosby.