Our wicked writer Mocha Carter went to Bilal’s concert in New York this week and created an awesome write up on this man, who happens to be one of her favorite artists ever. On top of that she had photographer Ron Specs take some vibrant pictures of the show, which we don’t want to hide from you!
Bilal is an artist who is undoubtedly on that “next level ish”, his voice, his songwriting, his compositions – he is the essence of a soul artist, totally embodying is craft in every note and performance. Mocha and I created a YouTube playlist for you including some of our dearest tracks from this soul man. Feel free to get lost in his music… Oh, and thank you Mocha, I discovered “Think It Over” through you! In love with that acoustic version!
If you’d like to find out more about Bilal, make sure to read up on him on our official NYCROPHONE artist page soon.
Below you’ll find Mocha Carter’s review/revisit of Bilal’s concert at Stage 48 in NY, May 9th 2014:
If you know one thing about me, know that I am absolutely infatuated with Bilal. For a long period I did not miss a performance if he was in NYC. I have been a fan from the very beginning. His album “First Born Second” is a gift from heaven. After some label problems, “All for Love” was shelved but somehow made it’s way into my collection and along with every single thing that he has recorded solidified his place as my number one.
His mouth is a musical instrument that produces the most amazing sounds. Some so out of this world that you’re looking around wondering, did he just do that? I’ve watched his style evolve from neo soul with traces of jazz to what can only be described as futuristic with a touch of rock.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Bilal perform but there is a point when you can almost see the music taking over him and he loses all control of himself. He is lost is sounds and melodies, hips gyrating and body leaning so far back it’s as if he’s caught in the matrix.
When I walked into Stage 48, he had already taken the stage. I walked hurriedly up the stairs and stood looking from the mezzanine area designated for press. I went to the restroom but nearly broke my neck trying to get back when he began singing, “All for Love.” I watched as he gripped the mic and leaned back so far it’s a wonder he didn’t fall. He belted out song after song with the help of one background singer. I swayed and rocked and sang along.
I needed to be closer. I needed to feel his energy. I went down to the main floor and stood at the bar. I still didn’t feel the energy. I inched closer to the stage as they began an extended (nine minute) version of “Back to Love“. I felt the energy! the last five minutes it’s as if they have forgotten the audience is there and they are having a good old fashioned jam session in a studio or a garage. JAMMING! Not only does each band member do a solo but Bilal and the other vocalist get into a skat battle! It’s wonderful! After this he asks, “Any requests?” The room erupted with excited screams of his most popular tracks, “Sing ‘Sometimes’!”, “Do ‘All for Love’!”, “Soul Sista!!!”, I laughed with everyone as he said, “Oh shit, did I say that out loud? &*$# ya’ll!” LMAO
I waited excitedly for him to start the next song. I felt a rush as the first few notes of “Butterfly” (featuring Robert Glasper) played on the keyboard.
He sang so beautifully, my eyes filled with tears. I love this song.
And just like that, it was over! They left the stage.
We all stood there waiting for them to return to the stage.
The crowd began to yell, ” Encore!”
The venue lights came on.
The stage crew came to remove the mics.
Most of us stood in disbelief. Surely he would return, I mean, he hadn’t sung, “Sometimes” But alas, he did not.
We all walked out, dejected. Wondering why he had forsaken us. LOL.
Such a low after the high energy of the show.
– “I wish I wasn’t me, SOMETIMES! I wish I was drug free, SOMETIMES!” –
I laughed and although disappointed that he didn’t perform “Sometimes” it was still a great set that I was happy to experience.
– Mocha Carter –