Just days before the Grammys, nominated artist Emily King returned to perform an intimate show in her native Manhattan. Fans surged around the small SOB’s stage when the acoustic opening of her “E Melody” began to blare from the speakers. The acoustic jam is one of the highlights of her 2007 debut “East Side Story,” which was up for best contemporary R&B album alongside entries from Akon, Fantasia, Keyshia Cole and eventual winner Ne-Yo. With a guitar in hand, King leaned into the mic and beckoned them to get even closer as she moved into “Colorblind,” a song about race.
Her hair Honey-hued and Farrah Fawcett feathered, and dressed in a sheer gold tunic over black cigarette pants, King swayed to a mid-tempo beat as her band transitioned into the next song, the self-penned “U & I.” “We’ve all been through it,” she said as she introduced the heartfelt love song.
But it was 21-year old King’s rendition of the Bill Withers classic “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which is also featured on her debut, that got the entire crowd to abandon their chairs.
King closed the show with the “East Side Story” single, “Walk in My Shoes,” a heavy-hearted tune of daily struggle. “Sometimes I feel the world is after me / trying to get to me, trying to stop what I do / I’m the only one that looks out for me / Can’t be me and walk in my shoes,” she sang, as the crowd chimed-in.