After an official Grammy week kickoff show on Jan. 23, Billboard’s Inaugural Industry Nights showcase continued Wednesday night (Jan. 24) at the Ludlow House in lower Manhattan, featuring showcases from music’s rising stars.
The dim lighting, and perfectly placed, lit candles on each table, created the perfect ambiance for a soulful night of love, heartbreak, breakthroughs and R&B — and a night of powerful female performers.
Sasha Sloan opened the show with a soft, warm performance of “Ms. Astronaut,” followed by three other singles and last year’s, “Runaway.” The singer poured her heart out over the melancholy beat, with Danny Silverstein on the guitar and piano keys. “This song, it’s pretty real to me at the moment,” speaking of her recent breakup. To close out her set, the singer performed a snippet from an upcoming song, “Normal,” released everywhere February 2nd.
Second, Australia’s own Cloves came out voice strong, with the attention-grabbing, “Better Now,” accompanied by guitars, bass, and drums and bright white lighting. The singer crooned “Don’t Forget About Me” — which was featured in the movie Me Before You — in her most comfortable clothing style, t-shirt and jeans. The song peaked at No. 34 on Hot Rock Songs in 2016. While she wasn’t on stage, the singer enjoyed the performances of other acts, dancing freely in the crowd.
Next up, Grace Weber gave a moving, arm chilling set with plenty of crowd participation. The church-grown singer performed new music along with her recent, “Elated.” The audience was moved by her feminine, yet, edgy tomboyish style blended with her impressive vocal prowess, as she sung “More Than Friends,” a track from her forthcoming album produced solely by The Social Experiment. The duo produced Chance the Rapper’s 2015 album Surf. She finished her set with, “Just Love,” a soulful hymn-like, gospel-felt ballad. The song flowed out of her body, as she came down from off the small stage to enjoy it with the audience.
London-based artist Ella Mai closed out the night, in a white baggy t-shirt and red and black track pants singing, “Boo’d Up” with her acoustic band. Encouraging the crowd to move closer and closer to the stage for a warmer, more personal setting, she sang a few songs from her Ready EP, “Breakfast in Bed,” “Makes Me Wonder,” and “Anymore.” The 23-year-old singer closed out the night with her latest single, “Naked,” with the crowd singing word for word.
“[It’s] somewhat vulnerable and some of what everyone needs, which is love, right?” she asked the crowd. “Right.”