Thursday, March 12, 2009


Photos by Ma'atology

LEFT: Host Nicci Roach got the mike "wet" by having the crowd join her in the last notes to Earth, Wind and Fire."

First up was signer CJ Conrod who started his set with a a crowd fave, a cover of Sade's" Love is Stronger than Pride."

His next song was an original song, "I Choose Love" from his upcoming CD,
For the Broken and the Mending.

Other songs he sang from the CD were "It Wont Always be this Way," and "This is My Destiny."

After his set, Roach interviewed Conrod ala Don Cornelius style, about him and his career ("This is my destiny. I have no back up plan. This is it); his performing for the first time at Jazz at the Bistro late last year with Lamar Harris ("It was great for me because with me being an alum of Webster University and most Webster alums go to the Bistro , we actually just threw that show together at the last minute"); who he would like to work with in the future. ("Anyone locally, especially Black Spade." ) ; what does he see himself in 5 years ("an established singer, songwriter and producer. Eric Roberson is my role model." ); which one does he prefer writing, singing or producing ("Singing. I can always find a song to sing and make it mine." ); the last CD purchased( "Donald Lawrence and Company."); and his message to artists ("Just do you, cuz u is enuff." )

Before Charisse Swann of the Fury performed, she brought on her brother, Brian G formerly of the Fury to perform and toe it up Teddy P and Johnny G style with , "Let Me Know Your Name."

Featured Singer Nikko Smith (in hat) was looking on during the show.

Before her set, she jokingly told the crowd that she created a monster bringing her brother on to precede her. ( So we think she was joking. LOL)

She performed songs from her upcoming solo CD, "Princess in Exile" including, "Didn't I Tell You," and "I Love You"

Swann and her background singers, including Brian G, highlight was when they segued a gamut of cover sings from different genres including Aretha's "Chain of Fools, " the Jackson's "Shake your Body," No Doubt's "Hella Good," Justin Timberlake's "Sexy Back," and Gloria Gaynor's " I Will Survive."

Her background singers also got into the groove and danced (We don't know what was goin on with the sista they were dancin with who was wearing the Solid Gold dancer stretch pants!)

During Swan's interview, Roach asked about her band, Fury ("I'm just so blessed , they are good musicians. Who would have thought we would come together cuz of favor for me at first." ) how long they been Fury ("Almost three years now. We are a cover band. We travel to spots like Edwardsville, Ill, Knockouts, Dino's that used to be on Broadway, Llewlyn's and small spots outside of St. Louis.") what she was seeking ("I wanna be everywhere. We do every genre but my heart is with the funk. My upcoming CD will be separate from Fury, they kinda pushed me out the group , a bit, that's why I call the CD, "Princess in Exile." ) the challenges ("It's a novelty that an African American band will do rock. Little towns we play in are blown away. and with the economy . deejays, big bands are not supported." ) and her message ("Don't give up. Its difficult, heartbreaking. But just don't give up the dream, because if you give up the dream, you die. You gotta grind. Keep crying to God. He is listening. When it's your time. It's your time.")

Nikko Smith came up singin' a bit of his audition song from American Idol in 2004, Stevie Wonders; "All I Do" (that was intro'd by host Roach)

He then sang a song form his upcoming CD, Revolution, the rock edged, "Get in Your Soul."

Then he sang the Aerosmith cover, "Come Together."

Then he sang another original song form his upcoming CD, "Get 'Em." then the highlights were when he performed the cover songs, "Dirty Diana; by Michael Jackson and the showstopper, "Purple rain" by Prince.

The crowd was gettin into the "Rain."

Smith clowned on his falsettos on "Purple Rain" as did his guitarist!

It was like the film Purple Rain's finale all over again!

Roach interviewed Smith about his growth as an artist ("The last time I was at the Old Rock House, people kinda just saw me as a contestant on "that show" and expected me to sing songs about rainbows . Ive been to the Suite Soul Spot and saw that singers hit 'em over the head with their style. So now I know. It's like whatever. I do what I like to do.") his music style ("I don't want to be lumped in a box. I grew up listening to everything growing up that my mom played like the O Jays, Stevie and Marvin Gaye, and my auntie who played the Police and Led Zeppelin. So I took certain elements of all of it and add to my own flavor. You gotta do that. That's my influence." ) his regrets ("I don't have any regrets. I guess people thought I shouldn't have came back her after "that show" and asked why I came back. But, I am loyal to the people who I worked with before I did "that show." I wanted to give them a jump start they needed. Some say that was a stupid move but it helped me work more on my craft." ) tips to overcome fear of success ("I think its good t be scared so you wont get that cockiness. I always tell myself, this is what I was supposed to do, and like what CJ Conrad said, 'I have no back up plan. This is it.'") influences ("My mom. She wanted to be a singer, but, when I came along she took her energy to my career contrary to what my Dad (Ozzie Smith) wants to say." ) slept on artists ("Everyone here in St. Louis, Nite Owl, Teresa Jenee and Theresa Payne. I listen to local radio and sometimes I just go like (puts up a gun like symbol with his finger to his head) what is goin on? Don't get me wrong everyone should have their moment, but come on, to me it's seems like its all about getting paid.Where is the real stuff?") and message ("Do unto what you want done unto you and stop the hatin." )

Suite Soul Spot creator Vanita Applebum poses with Smith after the show.

Applbum and Smith also poses with performers conrod and Swan.
NOTE: Scheduled performers Illphonics had to cancel that nite because of a family emergency with one of its members.

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