Minutes before hitting the stage at Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records on Thursday (Dec 12), Tanya Stephens was enraptured by Dovey Magnum’s Bawl Out, faithfully belting the chorus while doing her own little two-step.
Before the end of the night, the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd at the second 2019 staging of ‘Tracks Live Sessions’ would be doing the same thing – except with Stephens’ music.
Decked in all black and her signature sunnies, the unvarnished entertainer was welcomed with great praise, and rightfully so as her last extensive local set was in 2017.
She skillfully piloted a near 90-minute musical odyssey making pit stops at love and heartbreak, man and woman relationships, and in classic Tanya style provoking the male ego with wry anecdotes.
A female-choir ensued as Stephens finessed her catalogue dating back to the 1990s. Yuh Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet and Can’t Touch Me No More were early starters, before Stephens delved into recordings from her 2004 Gangsta Blues album.
“I could have been here til morning light, and by the looks of it the people would have stayed too.”— Tanya Stephens
The compilation appeared to be the soundtrack to the lives of many women in attendance as they carolled every intro, verse and chorus of sexual numbers like Boom Wuk and Good Ride, channelling the wife’s frustration in What’s Your Story, soloing the bridge of It’s A Pity and showing another side in After You and Can’t Breathe.
Patrons were well engaged in fact, with one woman requesting Way Back which Stephens delightfully obliged, and a male patron hollering, “Tanya is a national treasure!” just before the singer performed the 2006 hit, These Streets.
For Stephens, it was all “too much fun.”
“I could have been here til morning light, and by the looks of it the people would have stayed too,” she told BUZZ. “This is the first performance of this kind that I have done in quite a few years but the longer you wait a di more your anticipation builds up. It’s so much more satisfying and a much bigger climax.”
The evening’s showcase also featured top tier producer and singer Serani, who delineated the breadth of his artistry in a high-energy performance. Backed by Di Baddiss Band, Serani catered to the ladies with well-preserved records like She Loves Me and No Games. His soul-baring voice reiterated conviction in inspirational songs like Stinking Rich, and others including Doh and Study People.
Serani also brought his Instagram rhythm tutorial to the stage, highlighting his production credit on the Stepz, Anger Management and Smash rhythms.
“I loved tonight; I felt comfortable to act a fool, be myself on stage and express myself as a musician”— Serani
He also performed Secret, the afrobeats bop featured on Burna Boy’s African Giant album, which has been Grammy-nominated for best world music album.
“I loved tonight; I felt comfortable to act a fool, be myself on stage and express myself as a musician,” Serani told BUZZ. “Everybody here may not have been my fan because it’s a show with other artistes. Tanya’s fans were patient with me, nobody never boo me. I could see that some people who are not fans really enjoyed certain parts of my show. Mi express myself as best as I could. Mi go high energy, mi go feelings, mi dance, mi give dem all kinda something in da show here. I enjoyed it.”
The evening also featured the loc’d living, double bass-playing, singing wonder, Jamila Falak, whose single LA AAA ADY and rendition of Adele’s When We Were Young kept the crowd engaged.