Hitting the stage with her spunky fusion of pop, Hip-Hop, and R&B, singer ABIR lit up the stage at the first stop of her college tour: the one and only Taylor Down Under on Friday, March 30th in the University Program Board’s last Spotlight Sounds concert of the year.
“This is my first college show,” said ABIR at the beginning of her set, “and we gon’ make it a lit one.” And lit it was, as ABIR’s stunning vocalization and natural stage presence had members of the audience enthralled, one even up and dancing.
“…She’s really on the come-up,” said senior ISAT major, Cailin Dyer. “I’m really excited to see where her career goes.”
Donned in a sleek black outfit, gold chains and glittery Chucks, ABIR debuted an unreleased song titled “Way Out,” along with rocking some fan favorites such as “Wave” and “Girls.” She even teased a collaboration with the popular Hip-Hop artist Macklemore. Although many attendees weren’t familiar with her before this Spotlight Series, she gave them a standout performance that they won’t soon forget.
“Unbelievable riffs– her vocals are crazy good,” said freshman SMAD and communications major Dylan Bernetich. “She’s definitely very talented to say the least.”
Although she now claims Queens, NY as her home base, ABIR once lived in Arlington, VA. She coincidentally attended high school with many attendees and even one of the openers, Bianca Galvez, whose dazzling voice in covers of artists like Childish Gambino and Daniel Caesar left her fellow JMU students star-struck.
“Wow, so good!” exclaimed senior English major Brendan Callan when asked his reaction to Galvez’s performance. “She had lots of really cool vocal runs that were really unexpected and awesome.”
Galvez followed JMU student and producer Ryan Cam, whose fresh flavor and original lyricism kicked off the event and commanded the audience’s full attention.
By watching his performance, it was made clear that “Ryan is very very passionate about his music,” said Bernitich. “Just like ABIR, he can work the crowd pretty well too.”
Therein lies the beauty of UPB’s Spotlight Series: bringing all kinds of musical talent and musical lovers under one roof for an intimate and breezy night of music.
“It’s always entertaining; it’s always an interesting performer. It’s always someone you wouldn’t expect to hear,” said Katie Weems, a sophomore political science major. “You get to [experience] a really unique sound every time you come.”
ABIR’s performance marked the last of Spotlight Series’ for the year, but stay on the lookout for more of UPB’s fun and unique events by following them on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram @UPB.