Pull-Up: Live From Kingston @ Skyline Levels

In the days leading up to the event, it was announced that Live From Kingston would be staged on the same night as Popcaan’s Unruly Fest. This fact had some people in shambles as they couldn’t make it to both and they were of the opinion that the turnout for Live From Kingston (LFK) would have been affected by the other MASSIVE show. Well, this all-female edition of LFK was a sold out event.

Photos by Yannick Reid. Courtesy of New Wave.

The announcement of the show had a lot of persons excited for various reasons. Last year’s edition of LFK was unfortunately cancelled so it was good to know that the show was back this year. Now to the lineup for the show.

Not only was it an all-female lineup but they are all young artistes who are pretty much at the early stages of their respective careers. In the context of Jamaica’s music industry, this is indeed a very BIG deal. They even made sure to get a female host as well which was Kamila McDonald. Lastly, I’m sure this was the first time some people were seeing some of the featured artistes perform live.

The event was slated for a 9 pm start and at 9:30 as I was approaching the venue, I heard that the venue was already jam packed. When I finally reached the venue, I realized that they weren’t lying. Sadly, I missed the opening act. The tiny powerhouse, Yanah. Her set consisted of Sadé and Tessanne Chin covers along with her singles, Doe Try Me and The Cycle. I got the opportunity to link up with her after the show though, to get her thoughts on the show.

Yanah by Yannick Reid.
“It was a wonderful, very empowering experience. It was crazy, almost felt like a dream. I really enjoyed myself and I was also proud of myself. I’m just grateful and thankful to Protoje and the other organizers for believing in me and giving me a chance.”

Following the tiny powerhouse was the very likeable Naomi Cowan. She went through her set with much ease and precision. She was obviously having a great time. She brought along a legendary special guest, Carlene Davis which just happens to be her mother. It was really pleasing to see both of them on stage. Her father was also side-stage looking on. It was a good look. Naomi got the crowd rocking and singing along to her breakout single, Paradise Plum. She also performed two unreleased tracks (Editor’s note: “So Right” and “Climbing”). Dem sound good! Look out for them.

In comes the soulful sounds of Sevana! Sevana didn’t come with a full band, she was just accompanied by a wicked guitarist, Almando and that was sufficient. With a voice like that sometimes less is more. Plus she didn’t need any background vocals because the audience had that job locked. She served up some treats from her self-titled EP along with her most recent singles, Justice and Sometime Love.

The last two performers were Lila Iké and Koffee. Perfect way to close out the show. I’m pretty sure people in Gordon Town could hear us at this point. Yeah, the decibel levels went up a notch for both of them. Lila’s outfit… I don’t have the words. All I can say is that it bad bad bad bad! Big up the designer! The look really worked. Lila came out with so much energy! She was really revved up for the show. She definitely has stage presence. She opened her set with Biggest Fan, squeezed in a Lauryn Hill cover and called up another young female artiste, Jaz Elise. The crowd was singing along all throughout her set. So the show was winding down now and if anyone was tired, Koffee came to wake them up.

Lila Ike by Yannick Reid.
Lila Ike & Jaz Elise by Yannick Reid.

At first glance, Koffee is unassuming. As she puts it, she is just a simple little girl but once she opened her mouth on stage there was nothing simple about it. She definitely got the biggest response from the crowd for the night with her hit single, Toast. If by any chance she forgot a lyric, the crowd had her back. They knew it word for word. It was the perfect ending for a perfect night. Live From Kingston was a blessing. Gratitude is a must.