Show Review: RAY BLK at Mercury Lounge

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At the last stop of her five date headlining tour, RAY BLK (also known as Rita Ekwere), took the stage at her sold-out show at New York City’s Mercury Lounge.

Going into this show, I had only briefly listened to the R&B artist’s single, “My Hood,” so I went in with little to no expectations. At 9pm, RAY BLK strutted through the crowd to the stage with her band playing the sultry “West Side Story.” As soon as she took the stage I was sold. RAY BLK has an enticing swagger about her and at only twenty-three-years-old she seemed wise beyond her years. The crowd couldn’t take their eyes off of her as she performed. There was a very loyal crowd in Mercury Lounge and they sang along and danced to every song. You can tell that both RAY BLK and the audience were lost in the moment; just enjoying the music.

The South London native stayed true to her roots, and only performed covers of fellow Brits. She closed the show with a mashup of Adele’s “Hometown Glory” (insert tears) and “My Hood.” It was nice to see how proud she is of her upbringing and her hometown.

Aside from her London pride, RAY BLK showcased an immense pride in her femininity. Majority of her songs deal with the experiences of being a woman, especially a black woman, and she aims to empower throughout her music. She unveiled a new track, “Empress;” one with a message of not “settling for less.” It was a mantra that was well-received by the crowd–by women and men alike. I’m mostly looking forward to that track being released in RAY BLK’s forthcoming album.

RAY BLK effortlessly combines R&B with rap, and jazzy riffs with ’90s throwback influences the likes of Mary J. Blige and Lauryn Hill. With her dominating presence on stage and these infectious elements, RAY BLK won me (and I’m sure plenty others) over with her performance.  She’s definitely not one to count out as she continues to rise in the music world.

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