Art,  Music

St. Beauty & Willow Smith – It Sounded like a Chant to Me 11/27/17

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September is when I first heard there would be a Jhene Aiko Trip Tour. Early October, I went ahead and purchased V.I.P tickets to see her at House of Blues. I was also excited to see Willow was opening up for her. When you hear V.I.P it’s likely for one to assume there’s a meet and greet involved. But that was not the purchase I made. My purchase came with early entrance and a package that included a Size Large Trip Shirt and poster. Early entrance meant that I didn’t have to stand in a longer line than some of her other fans. They were still general admission/standing only tickets. I didn’t mind though. The goal was to just be closer to the stage. Plus, a meet and greet felt like it was no longer necessary to me. In my mind, I was convinced any artist that inspired me to do what I love, I’d eventually meet and it would be the most unexpected and natural way possible. At least that’s what I preferred.

Even though the event was on a Monday, one of my friends and I still planned to make it work for us. We were both really excited about it. But the week before things got a little strange between us, in my opinion anyway. She stood me up on a night I believed I really needed someone to be there for me. It turned out to be a beautiful solo night anyway and another one of my friends who I actually had not seen in years, met up with me later on. The one I was supposed to be with later explained she was too in her own head to remember she was supposed to be someplace. I honestly wasn’t sure if there was truth to it or not but I didn’t really see a reason for her to lie either.

Either way I think she really needed that day to relax and reflect. I typically try to ensure I am still on good terms with people instead of “falling back.” I actually really disliked this way of handling questionable relationships. Communication is always the key to me. I preferred to talk things out so we both knew where each other stood. Unfortunately, not many people in my life appreciated this kind of effort. Majority of the people I hung around in my early life seemed to always view this as confrontation or think “I don’t have to explain myself to anyone.” Feeling completely opposite about this, it was an early level of maturity I noticed in me. This eventually caused me to stand out at school -not in a good way either.

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For the year of 2017, I simply preferred not to get further into any situation that involved questioning myself. It felt great so far. I had enough experience with people from my past to understand when someone wasn’t really as close as they used to be, they didn’t really get along  with me like before, nor did they put in the same effort to try, like I was. I just really wished they would say what they were feeling and walk away with no hard feelings. She also mentioned how sick she had been and didn’t want to attend the show under the weather. That part was understandable. As far as everything up until then I just disregarded it without taking it personal. Maybe 2015 or early 2016 this would have really gotten to me but I was now in a place that accepted it for what it was. I no longer forced anything in my life. I also eliminated worrying myself and wondering what I may have done to cause it or if I did anything at all. I genuinely wanted to believe she was taking life just as hard as I was instead of what it felt like she was doing. I hope it gets better for her though.

Per Willow to the The Fader: “Aripithecus Ramidus is the scientific name of the first hominid bones found on earth. I wanted to name my musical compilation after it because while I was making these songs I was in such a transitional state. Digging deep in the soil of my heart and finding bits and pieces of my ancient self that tell stories [.]”

I ended up driving to the show alone and right up until entering the venue I was alone as well. This I discovered was one of the best parts about that night, my independence.

After waiting in line and grabbing our VIP package I started to get anxious about Willow’s performance. I had recently gotten into her music a few months back after hearing “9” featuring SZA. It was another song that expressed my current state of mind. I also had both albums “The 1st” and “Ardipithecus” in constant rotation. Over the weekend I’d made another solo trip to Dallas for mushrooms. This transaction always evolved into much more. Our interactions always turned into some kind of soul search experience. It was then I might have realized the timing of meeting Nick’s Spiritual Advisor may have been the universe’s way of telling me I am still on the right track and to stay in tune with myself. She thought she could find a way to get into the venue somehow to meet the artist. She was also desperate to hear “Nobody” by Jhene and “Female Energy” by Willow. She invited me to an event she was hosting next Sunday called “The Art of Intuition” I was down and agreed to listen for those specific songs the night of the show.

Walking into the venue I quickly observed the crowd was much younger than expected. The vibe was different too. But I figured we are all there for the music so they had to be pretty decent individuals. The DJ played a lot of high school throw-backs like Crime Mob’s “Knuck if you Buck” and some current music too.

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Once the lights dimmed down, two slim, thick haired women hit the stage with the most soulful vocals and an electric guitar. They were both hipster as shit. Their style was partly modern but also straight out of the 70s. I couldn’t tell if one was Willow or if they were both apart of the other openers for Jhene. After the lights brightened up the stage they introduced themselves as “St. Beauty” and kept coming with fire- they completely owned the stage. First listen, I quickly compared their sound to Ravyn Lenae. I had recently witnessed her opening for SZA back in September.

St. Beauty danced so freely and continued to request that the crowd rock along too. I was rocking, my friend was sitting down ready for Jhene and frustrated her feet were hurting, The crowd was  stiff. I had seen a few people rocking with them up close but not many. It didn’t change their vibe not one bit though. I was enjoying that they weren’t as into the performance because there were hardly any distracting phones in the air, blocking my view of the stage. But I still had to question how the hell they weren’t moved by such greatness? The first song that stood out is “Borders.” I felt it; all the feels about love and heartbreak. The best line read “Tell me where’d ya go when you said goodbye? I never thought I’d lose you. Didn’t think you would make a sacrifice. There was never any room to head for the road and live your life and I’ll read all the signs. Tell me where to go when the love has died.” Another line that stuck out for me was “I’m not sorry. I won’t apologize for my freedom.”

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I was completely amazed by their performance! I knew by looking at St. Beauty that they weren’t likely as old as me but not as young as Willow. They ended their set confirming it was meant for me to witness it and become a fan. St. Beauty performed the cover of OutKast’s “Prototype.” Although it’s not posted on my blog just yet I am currently writing about this song and how it helped me come to a realization about my own relationship this week. It was so beautifully done and I knew I’d be showing up to support Nick and his friend’s at their album release party. That’s the way music moved me. It was like it wasn’t even my decision to make anymore and I had to continue that vibe the entire night. After all, Nick did ask me to come last week.

Willow was up next and that girl moved me like I imagined she would but I did not expect her to be as powerful live too. She came out in a long, thick, brown, wool like dress she later mentioned she quickly picked up at some small indie shop in Dallas about an hour ago. I laughed and looked around at myself and the crowd. We were all pretty dressed up and some of us probably put some real thought and effort into our outfits for that night. But Willow, the star, just made it work.

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She performed my top favorites including “IDK” and “Wait a Minute” with pure perfection. The crowd picked it up a little bit more but I can feel she was still being slept on. I had even overheard a lady behind me state “Girl, please, you ain’t nowhere near old enough to call a song an oldie.” This was after hearing Willow say to the crowd she had just a few more songs left for us and announced the next one as her throwback. Little did this woman in the crowd understand, although Willow is only 17 years old she had been writing songs for years. I mean, she may not have written “Whip My Hair” but she performed it at 10 years old. And we all know girls (little women) experiences are real. We are all still just as deep and into our emotions, especially during those years of our lives- I know I was.

I always found it convenient how we are constantly reminded we scientifically mature sooner. If this level of maturity is true, why is our self-awareness and consciousness constantly questioned by adults? We are also told to never forget that men don’t always catch on as quickly. Especially when a man or (anyone else  that should know better) continue to make excuses for why they don’t know how to treat us. We are told to teach men how to love and that when they do love, they have to learn how to love us the same way we put it out. It seemed to only apply when it benefited the other person and allowed them to continue treating us like we are unworthy. It made me feel like I wasn’t allowed to take time to grow and find myself and I should easily brush off my pain because I will bounce back better and adjust much sooner.

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Willow simply amazed me with how lyrical she was and how quickly she had a lot of life figured out during an early age. Not all of life but a lot of the portion some adults still haven’t figured out by now. To witness someone so young find themselves that soon and creatively express it through music was kind of scary but beautiful. Especially being the daughter of two well-known Hollywood celebrities. I’m sure it’s just as challenging for her to find herself when she is constantly in the spotlight. Plus, I’m sure everyone wants to assume they already knew who she was, because of who her parents were or the kind of story one could force from a behind the scenes, paparazzi photo. She was defiantly coming into her own & I imagine she’ll be properly recognized, and Grammy nominated by age 20. She and her brother, Jayden Smith, were up next.

 “I will never know but that’s the greatest part. And I won’t stop! I’mma ride this wave, right to the shore of my grave. When I say goodbye to Earth. When I say goodbye to the third dimension; when I say goodbye to all this, amnesia.” – Willow “IDK”

That really stuck out for me.

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It sounded like a chant. I really wish I had heard “IDK” & “Wait A Minute” at age 8 & then again at age 13.

The girl could do no wrong and then completely rocked out like Led Zeppelin during her final performance. Still, the crowd appeared to be unable to take all of it in. An older gentlemen and his wife standing near me were blown away by it. He was possibly 40-45 years old.

He said, “Wow, wasn’t that amazing? I didn’t expect that at all!” I said “Yes! She was so dope!” I thought, at least there’s one person out here appreciating this and I’m not overdoing it on my level of excitement here. This crowd made me feel like I am easily entertained or something. I really am, but that is beside the point.

Finally, Jhene hit the stage. She was awesome but I think it’s absolutely necessary to dedicate this entire blog post to St. Beauty and Willow. It was well deserved and I’m completely inspired. It was pure music from the soul.

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