“This is my first time in the United States,” artist Vicktor Taiwo said during his performance Friday night at The Standard East. The Nigeria-born, London-based singer-songwriter made his overseas debut as a part of the Annie O Music Series, going through several songs in an intimate rooftop space on the hotel’s twenty first floor.
Standing tall in a corner of the room between an accompanying guitarist and percussionist, Taiwo began his performance with “Paradise Island,” a synth pop song that’s much more melancholy than the title suggests. “But inside you, you still believe in love,” crooned Taiwo, followed by a repeating of the words “in love” several times. Part of you begins to wonder if the words are something of a mantra for Taiwo: that if he sings it enough times this long lost lover will actually realize the love they may still possess.
The singer followed up “Paradise Lost” with “Digital Kids,” a standout song he released in 2013. Live, the track takes on a new life. Reverberated, shimmering guitar complimented electronic booms and hi-hats, as Taiwo sung about the loss of innocence children face. Peering into the crowd, his face disguised by a combination of blue, purple and yellow lights, sometimes he’d make eye contact with someone in the room, the lines “You look lost” packing a heavier punch.
The trio concluded their set with the recently-released “Fade” and a cover of a song. The songs performed Friday night showcased Taiwo’s growing into his own as an artist. Some moments there would be an elongated, subtle rasp that likened itself to Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. Other moments he was more subdued, allowing words to bask in a low whisper, before belting them out.
“New York is great. You’re all great. I’m great,” Taiwo said before mingling with members of the audience. Taiwo may very well be on the road to greatness: he definitely shows the potential and promise.