|Erica Jacob performing “Kryptonite” at her album release party|
By Lawrence Newton
It’s not as if the superlative isn’t already built in: The name of singer/songwriter Erica Jacob’s debut album is “Extraordinary Woman.” Based on her live performance at New York’s Penny Farthing Tuesday, August 13, 2013—where she celebrated the release of her new 10-track disc—there are a few more descriptors we could add. How about: fierce, gifted, a natural performer and commanding?
|Erica Jacob with her producer Ayhan Sahin|
New York-based Erica, who moved here eight years ago from Houston (with her visiting mom in the audience), filled the cool downstairs private room at the East Village locale with more than 150 followers and fans, as she ripped through five songs from the album, which is available on iTunes, amazon and CDBaby. It was produced by Ayhan Sahin and released on his independent label Young Pals Music.
Journalist Chuck Taylor introduced Erica to the crowd, and told us, “She’s young, she’s beautiful, she’s theatrical, she’s ambitious and best of all, this girl can sing. This album is a labor of love between Erica and Ayhan. They met eight years ago and devoted three years to finding the perfect 10 songs to suit this ‘extraordinary woman’s’ voice and message to the world.”
That said, her message is obviously one of liberation, being a free spirit and unity. With a background in theater, Erica was as comfortable before the crowd as if she were having Sunday brunch with her favorite sistas.
|Jacob with journalist Chuck Taylor|
She opened the show with a song that she wrote the lyric for, “Kryptonite,” which made clear from the first note that this talent can deliver the goods in a live setting. With a fun rapid-fire lyric that’s like a melodic rap—and a super-cool opening that samples the Phil Collins’ drum solo from Frida’s 1983 solo hit “I Know There’s Something Going On”—Erica nailed every word of the shuffling song, while the crowd roared in approval. “Lost and Found” is another buoyant up-tempo song that Erica delivered like a true diva, with whirling production that feels like a Coney Island roller coaster ride that highlights both the crisp, clear highs of her vocal range and the satisfying husky lows.
The ballad “Falling” was equally captivating, as Erica sang: “You’re so cold, cold as ice… It’s getting hard to be around you.” Delivering this beautiful sad, slow song showed yet another side to the young lady’s expertise, which again had every eye of the crowd intently focused on her.
|“Falling” songwriters Jerri BoKeno and Sahin|
The first single from “Extraordinary Woman” is “Run,” which is absolutely a highlight of the album. It has fun clapping throughout, with a jaunty beat and layers & layers of harmonies. This was probably the best song of the night—and a deserving hit that radio needs to search out.
Erica performed the title track acoustically with guitar player Jade Zebric. On the album, the song is a fast-driving patchwork of dance instruments, but in her performance, she really drove home the lyric, which offers a commitment to her ultimate message as an “Extraordinary Woman”: “There’s much more to me than meets the eye, don’t stop at the what, babe, go for the why.”
After this song, the enthusiastic crowd demanded more, so Erica sang a capella a version of the perfect finale: Stevie Wonder’s “I Can Only Be Me.” The song says, “Butterflies begin from having been another, As a child is born from being in a mother’s womb/But how many times have you
|Jacob with “Extraordinary Woman” writers Tara Bahna-James and Sahin|
wished you were someone than who you are/You can only be you, As I can only be me.”
The night was made complete with a drink special called “Kryptonite,” named after Erica’s song, as well as a “red carpet” entrance, where every guest was able to have their picture taken with the artist. We also all got a copy of the disc to take home. Erica Jacob is already living in the greatest city in the world—New York—but with the release of her album “Extraordinary Woman,” it’s obvious this amazing talent is going places!
|Producer Tyrone Smith with Jacob and Sahin|
|Jacob performing “Lost and Found”|
|Jacob with friends|
|Penny Farthing during the launch|