Less than a year after bursting on the soca scene, Nailah Blackman is proving she is a force to be reckoned with.
The launch of her EP, Sokah and band of the same name, held in the form of a concert on San Fernando Hill was a gutsy move that many veterans in the business have never attempted.
The venue, too, was a strategic move for the singer who was born and grew up in the Southland and where her grandfather, Lord Shorty, resided.
Held on her 20th birthday, Sokah Origins had a dual aim: to pay homage to her grandfather, the inventor of soca and give fans an insight into who she is.
On the style front, Nailah showed her flair for fashion with several costume changes in between sets.
On the talent front, she showed her range across different genres: soca, reggae and her acoustic pop sound.
She opened the show with Kees Dieffenthaller with whom she collaborated on her break out hit “Work Out”. After her first costume change, she donned her guitar and reminded the audience of her acoustic roots with a song called “Oceans” which she initially wrote for the Parallel Riddim.
Unfortunately, the sound system marred what should have been an outstanding moment as the guitar sounded too loud and overpowered her voice.
A reggae-inflected song “Dangerous” led into one of the highlights of the night, her duet with rising Jamaican sensation Shenseea.
Nailah capped her performance with songs from her grandfather which tied back to an earlier performance of his music from his siblings.
If you grew up seeing the Blackman family unit performing, seeing them all on stage as adults together would have been a nostalgic and heart-warming one. Isaac with his brothers Eldon and Sheldon and sisters Nehilet and Abbi, took the audience down memory lane with Shorty’s songs such as “Om Shanty Om” and “Who God Bless”.
Prior to the family performance, Isaac, known for his big hit “To the Ceiling” and Abbi, both did solo performances. Abbi, Nailah’s mother, showed the audience where her daughter got her spunk when she threw off her first costume to reveal a glittery cold-should number.
Other performances on the night included Collis Duranty, Kees Dieffenthaller, Turner, Isasha, Patrice Roberts, GBM Nutron, Sekon Sta, Prince Swanny, Preedy, Voice and Marge Blackman.
By Laura Dowrich-Phillips