I entered the building while the restaurant next door bustled lively with millennials celebrating the start of the festive season. My name was crossed off the guest list. The grungy hallway and flights of stairs led me to the start of a spectacular evening filled with epic music.
I apologise for the low quality videos. My camera was in for repairs at the time and I had to use my phone to record everything.
Last Thursday I was kindly invited by Charlotte at Upstairs on Bree to attend a single release party for Deslynn Malotana. The atmosphere in the venue was incredible! I was greeted warmly by both Charlotte and her business partner, Ty. Simplistic, functional and stylish are a few words I'd use to describe the look of Upstairs On Bree. The easy-going vibe set the tone for the rest of the night. I walked into Upstairs on Bree not knowing a single person yet I left having enjoyed the company of a good handful of people. And nothing encourages good company more than great music!
BACKGROUND ON THE ARTIST: DESLYNN MALOTANA
Born in Johannesburg, Deslynn was destined to move to the Cape. She studied at COPA (Campus of Performing Arts) Cape Town and majored in Vocal Performance under the guidance of Emily Bruce, vocalist for Goldfish. Musical genes run in the family as Deslynn's father was the founder, keyboardist and band leader of Brenda and the Big Dudes where Brenda Fasie was the front woman. If that wasn't cool enough, he also wrote and produced their infamous single, 'Weekend Special'. Deslynn released her self-titled EP in 2014 and has since performed in and around Cape Town at events like the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. She also performed on Expresso (SABC 3) earlier this year.
The event started officially with a beautiful monologue given by the emcee. (Please excuse the quality of the videos since my camera was in for repairs when I attended this event).
There were four amazing opening acts that performed before the main act, being Deslynn. The first opening act was Taliana - a first year music student at COPA Cape Town and man, is this lady talented! When she started singing I was expecting her to sound good but Taliana completely blew my expectations away. She covered two songs and all I can say is that when she does decide to release music of her own, my iTunes voucher will be on standby.
Next up was the oh-so-brilliant Androgenius. (They are low-key my new, favourite, local group.) Their performance was insanely good and what surprised me was the fact that the songs they performed were all their own; written by frontman, Al Clapper. I could visualise the stories in the songs and I think that was a huge part of the reason the why the audience really connected with them overall.
Manny Walters was the third opening act of the night. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but Manny’s appearance kind of foreshadowed his performance. He looked like a regular, handsome guy with a twist of something unique and magnificent and his performance was just that - unique and magnificent. His gruff voice turns listening to a song into an experience.
Jackie Queens was up next. The soulful house beats of the backing track and her astonishing vocals lit the room alight with sidestepping and joy. Her voice commanded you to move your body and have a good time, but not only that, her stage presence was so warm and welcoming.
Finally, the moment we had all come here for had arrived. Deslynn took to the floor and gave a touching speech introducing her performance. She performed four songs before performing her brand new single, Black Love. Deslynn is absolutely phenomenal. I enjoyed every second of her performance, honestly. Her voice is so smooth and gentle yet strong and aware. The lyrics of her songs aim to send a message to the listener and not just follow boring trends.
The song, Black Love, is centred on the love black individuals have for themselves or the lack thereof. It is a celebration of all the perfections and imperfections of being black. Deslynn shares such an important and relevant message through this song and I really admire her for it. There is nothing more liberating than accepting yourself, flaws and all, and empowering those around you to celebrate themselves as well.
The evening was wonderful and I'd like to thank Upstairs On Bree and Deslynn Malotana sincerely for being such phenomenal hosts that really had the best interest of the guest at heart.
For the location of Upstairs On Bree and the contact details for Deslynn and the prior, see click/tap on the links below.
UPSTAIRS ON BREE CONTACT