V Bozeman, featured on the pilot of FOX’s “Empire,” headlined the Highline Ballroom last night. She previewed some new material featured on her forthcoming album with executive producer Timbaland and paid homage to some of the vocalists and songwriters that initially inspired her career. The event found ample energy in the opening set from local Brooklyn based artist Kiah Victoria, who surely rivaled her headliner’s talents.
Kiah Victoria’s salient, soulful tenor is formidable and earnest. But when paired in a live setting with her regular collaborators and accompanying musicians (the four-piece experimental rock band altopalo), the spectacle of her voice takes on a new, idiosyncratic form that seems to challenge notions of R&B, pop, and everything in between. On stage, the chemistry between these five players was more than evident, especially on tracks like the uptempo electro jive “Tralala” or the re-calibrated Coldplay cover “Fix You.” The singer-songwriter also performed two unreleased original songs. One such song, a bluesy, prog rock trap ballad titled “Call For You,” pushed the limits of her vocal range to new heights with very satisfying results.
V Bozeman brought a very different energy to the room. She offered her personality over her talent, which only truly made itself known on a few unreleased tracks from her upcoming project (possibly because the music managed to overpower her own vocal presence). Bozeman commenced the set with a string of crudely delivered, uninspired covers of Whitney Houston and Cee Lo Green. She presented herself as a sassy lounge singer clearly lacking the self-confidence or skill to connect with the audience.
Watch videos of Kiah’s set below.