Good vibes and good times filled the Curb Event Center Saturday night as performers took the stage for the Hip Hop and R&B Showcase.
Starting off the night, showcase marketing director Dallas Pritchard and production staff coordinator Ellie Hernandez hosted the evening with an introduction to each performer.
Summer Joy was the first to perform.
She started with powerful and energetic vocals in her song “Melinda,” giving the audience something to groove to and get the night started.
After, she encouraged the audience to “grab a partner and hold their hand” as she began “Gotta Feed,” her second song, with a much more somber and mellow feel.
Finishing her set with “Bum Boy,” Joy introduced the audience to her band members, or “bum boys,” as the audience brought out their flashlights.
Up next was Florine, who incorporated some of her tradition and culture into the music, switching between English and Spanish in her first song, “Oasis.”
She kept the vibes flowing with “False Oxygen,” a story of dating someone with different values, yet doing it anyway while knowing it would be temporary.
“Great Expectations” was her final song, where she finished with a strong and steady vocal solo.
Bringing a different feel to the stage, Brady Firenze was the third artist and began with his first rap song, “Walk in Early.”
In sunglasses and a black blazer, Firenze prompted audience participation with his second song “Party,” having them repeat “I came to party / let’s get it started.”
The audience did not participate.
He ended the set with “Heart Attack,” as the band rocked out on their guitars.
The final performer of the night was Nai’a Rose, who had a chill sound and a ton of band chemistry from the beginning, with her first song “Bored.”
She followed up the single with “Time, Again,” a song she released two years ago from Saturday. A vulnerable song about love, it felt as though she bared her heart to the audience.
Rose then introduced her band, which had very recently been named “Nai’a and the Delinquents.” They finished their set with unreleased song “Close Your Eyes,” a song full of attitude and energy.
After the judges deliberated, Pritchard and Hernandez returned to the stage to announce the winner.
Ecstatic about her win, Joy expressed thankfulness for the opportunity to perform.
“I was kind of scared I wouldn’t take up as much space as I was given,” she said. “As a black girl, a plus size girl, I feel like I try to shrink myself a lot to fit in to these predominantly white spaces. And I just felt like on that stage I was just given so much room to be myself, no filter.”
Joy and her band will take on the Curb stage again on April 4 for the Best of the Best Showcase at 7 p.m.
— This article was written by Katie Beth Cannon