If Rachel Kerr’s performance at yOyO’s is any indication of what the future holds for this rising star, then it’s safe to say we have a lot to look forward to.
Every Thursday night, the Notting Hill Arts Club brings yOyO, a night to enjoy the finest in hip hop, dubstep, garage/grime and bassline-heavy music, while also showcasing live acts with musical styles that range far beyond the usual parameters of urban sounds. On 16th February 2012, I was invited to see Rachel Kerr headline yOyO’s, at the Notting Hill Arts Club, with her passionately powerful vocals.
Earlier that night the singer tweeted, “Just over a year ago we begged and pleaded for Yoyo’s toeven let us in, now we’re headlining what an awesome God we serve.” Still grounded in her gospel roots, Rachel also attended choir practice before her performance.
The performances for the night started at 9pm with Rachel lined up to hit the stage at 10pm. The opening act,Ruby Goe, did an awesome job of warming things up and getting the crowd ready.
She came on stage with her big curly hair, pink top and blue leopard print mini skirt, jumping and hyping up the crowd with her rock star edge, heavy drums and and hypnotising stage presence, which was reminiscent of Kelis in her “caught out there” days.
After a stage setting change and a nice hip hop and r&b set from the resident DJs, Seb Chew and Leo Greenslade, the mood was set for the soulful high energy performance Rachel Kerr was about to grace us with.
Considering I was unable to make the press interview, imagine my shock when I found myself standing right next to Rachel right before her time to go on stage. She was even nice enough to take a couple of pictures with me. Even her background singers took some pictures with us. Her humility is something to be admired and appreciated. Especially with the talent that she possesses. Because it was now past 10pm and once she hit that stage she was a star in her own right that could easily stand with the Patti La Belle’s, Aretha Franklin’s and Beyonce’s of the world.
She started her set by saying she was going to take us on a journey. And that was exactly what she did. No gimmicks, no special effects and no auto tuning, just herself, background singers and her band. Live.
From the first note of “Walk With Me” to a tribute to the late Whitney Houston to the last note of “Hold My Hand”, Rachel owned the stage and commanded the audiences attention with her amazing voice which you can tell is heavily influenced by the authenticity of her gospel roots and her performance influenced by contemporary sass. A formula which has made giants like Whitney Houston and Beyonce the most successful female artists of our time.
Although the influence is evident, Rachel is her own person. A singers singer and she definitely does her the best way she can. Giving her all leaving it all in the stage. Take it or leave it, live it or hate it, it’s who she is and what she does.
Then walks off stage, catches her breath and is sweet as pie once again. Thanking me and everyone within her reach for coming out to support her as if she wasn’t aware of the fact that she left evryone in that small intimate space with chills and hairs standing on the back of their necks. This most certainly is what stars are made of.
Highlights of the night: I’m No Angel, Whitney Tribute and Hold My hand