This semester I got to experience my first Berklee Singer’s Showcase, and boy, did it live up to the hype!
Not only was it my first time experiencing a Singer’s Showcase, I had the pleasure of sitting next to an out-of-towner who was also attending his first Singer’s Showcase and getting his first real taste of the talent Berklee has to offer.
It’s easy to see from the photos why the showcase is considered Berklee’s biggest production of the semester, boasting additional LED stacks and a full compliment of talented musicians and dancers. Before the performance began, Berklee played a video real of past performers and famous alumni to really drive home the point that we could be seeing future stars and Grammy-winners at that night’s showcase, a point which I’m sure no one would deny after hearing the singers perform. Speaking of video, you can stream the entire performance and relive the excitement. But if you prefer to read about the show, here are the highlights.
To open the show, the organizers were wise to let fiery Sujin Lee take the Berklee Performance Center by storm with “River Deep, Mountain High.” As the next to last performer, Sujin Lee practically bookended the show with her vivacious energy on “Sweet Child o’ Mine.”
After Sujin’s high-octane opening, Luis Figueroa-Roig took the mood down to a low simmer with the acoustic ballad “Somebody Out There.” Later, Luis choose another more aggressive ballad, the Bruno Mars hit “Grenade,”demonstrating his sweet spot as a rocking crooner.
Argentinian vocalist Silvina Moreno followed Luis’ first song with “Death By Chocolate” and later showed her roots with the spicy latin number, “No Creo.”
Next was the crowd favorite during the auditions, Mario Jose. I felt that Mario was possibly a bit over-hyped at the Singers Showcase Auditions, and I continued to feel a bit underwhelmed with his over-played song choice, “Hey Soul Sister” at the Singer Showcase. But Mario’s second song made me eat my words when he stole the show with “All By Myself,” proving his place at the Showcase and his status as one of the most beloved vocalists at Berklee.
Naomi Gillies also gave an incredible performance at the Singers Showcase that I found far more memorable than her audition earlier this semester. Singing “Bringing On The Heartbreak” and later “Paris (ooh la la)” the petite Naomi was a pocket-rocket and belted and performed like a woman twice her size.
Dorian Allen gave Sujin a run for her money as the most entertaining performer of the evening with his rendition of Cee Lo Green’s hit “Forget You,” complete with costumes and back-up dancers. Although Dorien’s performance was fun and exciting, I’m glad Dorian brought the attention back to his incredible vocals with “Sometimes I Cry.”
Readers of my previous article about the Singers Showcase Callback Auditions may recall that Torrence Nelson gave my favorite performance of the evening, and that I felt he should have ended the night. Well, the producers must have read my article because Torrence was the last individual vocalist to perform before the finale with “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Unfortunately, I think Torrence was much stronger on his earlier, more soulful, song “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” but beggars can’t be choosers, and it was great just to see him highlighted.
But despite all the incredible performances throughout the evening, the real star of the showcase was Emily Miller. Not to say that Emily gave a poor performance at the Auditions, but nothing really prepared me for the power-house performances Emily gave at the showcase that really demonstrated her full capability as an artist. For her first song, Emily made a gusty choice to tackle the Esperanza Spalding song “Precious,” but her gamble paid off as she sounded every bit as powerful, passionate, and beautiful as the famous Berklee alum herself. And Emily’s second song, “In Your Eyes” also demonstrated her ability to take a well-known song and it make it her own without comparison. Both the guest sitting next to me and I agreed that she already sounded like a seasoned professional and that we’d pay good money to see her headline a show.
For the finale, all the singers returned to perform Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” which was, understandably, the most powerful performance of the evening including all the talent the Singers Showcase had to offer.
All in all, I had a fantastic time finally seeing a Singers Showcase, and I can’t wait to attend my next one in the Fall! Scroll down to see more pictures from the evening!