A review of rhythmic soul singer Juliyaa’s debut headline show, Stars & Dragons Live at Richmix.
Last night, saw the sensuous, spirited, soulful songstress that is Juliyaa perform at her first headline show. An excited crowd congregated at sold out Richmix show, in the heart of Shoreditch ready to be engaged in what she describes as ‘rhythmic soul’.
Hosted by BBC 1Xtra’s DJ Ace and presented by Eke Bravo, the night opened with performances from supporting acts, Nick Brewer, Wilson and Dionne Reid. Ready to deliver the promised explosion of ‘rhythmic soul’ the North London hailing darling graced the stage.
Kicking things off, the Ghanaian/Welsh singer-songwriter burst into her energetic Stars & Dragons track ‘Tidal Wave’, immediately captivating her company. Mixing the heavy bass track with the similar sounding and equally awesome ‘Earthquake’ by Labrinth as she brought the track to its end, it was obvious the show was going to be amazing; and that it was!
Turning the tempo down a notch, she slowed it down with ‘Talk To Me’. Usually when an artist “slows it down” after a lively track, the audience does too, but not with Juliyaa! She maintained our attentions and enchanted us with the sweet sound of her song, as she made eye contact with us all as she sang out her story.
Taking the tempo down another level, Juliyaa broke out her guitar, embraced her inner folk and passionately performed ‘Bitter Sweet’ – a song about “that special someone” hoping we’d relate to it. Of course we all did, but when asked no one was brave enough to admit it!
Speeding the pulse of the show back up, but still remaining in the love section, Juliyaa belted out her ballad ‘I Do Less’ that features a heavy bass breakdown in which prepared us for her happy-go-lucky track ‘Smile’.
Interacting with her audience on a different level, Juliyaa got us to join in with the singing of her “10 Days of Smiling” campaign track, while encouraging us all to smile! Jumping the keys, showcasing her wide range of musical talents the soulstress performed a brand new single ‘Roundabout Love’, which will hopefully be on her forthcoming second EP, 4Loves.
After dropping some Blackstreet ‘No Digitty’ which had the audience grooving, up next was soulful feel good 2011 track ‘Down To The River’.
Bringing the crescendo to an epic climax, dug deep into her Ghanaian roots, channelled her strong Welsh dragon and delivered an extremely energetic rendition of heritage anthem ‘Stars & Dragon’. Filled with angelic harmonies in the digital version, Juliyaa took her live edition of the track to a whole new level. With the live band pulling all the stops Juliyaa broke it down on stage with some awesome azonto moves to the afro-centric percussion.
Stars & Dragons Live promised to be an “explosive evening of ‘rhythmic soul’ celebrating the collision of cultures, rhythm and art”, and this promised was delivered and more. Conveyed with utter brilliance, passion and soul, Juliyaa’s journey stardom is well on its way.