Tucked in the basement of Rockwood Music Hall in New York City’s Lower East Side, a crowded room of musicians, singers, songwriters, fans and supporters of Maryland-bred, Philadelphia-fed artist Aaron Camper gathered as he showcased new music from his highly anticipated EP, B.L.O.W. (Better Left On Wax), coming this year.
In an intimate setting late Wednesday night dimly lit by candlelight, the corner stage was eventually illuminated by Camper’s energetic four-piece troupe of musicians and the stories he told of his leave of absence from touring internationally with artists like Jill Scott and Justin Timberlake meant to help him focus on his own songwriting.
The main bar upstairs may have been buzzing with guests consuming libations and engaged in light conversation, but downstairs the environment was both inspiring and interactive. Camper welcomed audience participation on a few of his jam session-style numbers like the acoustic openers “Drifting” and “Daytime Loving.”
Camper quickly dove headfirst into last summer’s buzz worthy and spellbinding single “Hypnotizing” before moving swiftly into his enchanting short take on Aaliyah’s “One In a Million.” Catching the transitions from one R&B/hip hop classic to the next, it wasn’t long before Camper’s title cut from his new EP took on a life of its own spinning out a spontaneous R&B medley featuring a cover of Ryan Leslie’s “Quicksand” and “Find My Way, ”a brief plausible homage to Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest who passed away the night before.
With a swift survey of the room, Camper slid straight into the magic of Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It” and spotted another soul singer/songwriter Stacy Barthe whom Camper invited from her front row seat to the mic to give the classic song her own interpretation. While he played tambourine beside her, Barthe got caught up in the moment just as fast as Camper did and churned out a few bars of her “Flawed Beautiful Creatures” – a musical gem in its own right released on her 2012 debut EP P.S. I Love You and featured on BET’s Being Mary Jane.
The soul soiree didn’t stop there for guests or Camper as he returned to his place on the stage to groove on the contagious vibes of last fall’s “Choose You” (minus its guest singer Brave Williams). It wasn’t long before Camper had everyone on their feet again screaming for an encore to which he obliged and offered “Cast Away” to close the first of two shows in the Tri-state area.
Be on the lookout for Aaron Camper as he makes a stop at Bogie’s in East Orange, NJ on Friday, March 25th and, of course, be ready to purchase B.L.O.W. this spring/early summer. In the meantime, check out photos of the special night celebrating Camper’s new music and ongoing love affair with adding just the right touch to every song, every lyric and every melody.