“Are you nervous?”
“No, right now I’m just excited. But I know I’ll start feeling it when it gets down to showtime.”
Last weekend I had the opportunity to see one of my oldest friends live out her dreams. It was a talent showcase organized by hip-hop producer Statik Selektah at New York City’s Blue Note Jazz Club. The quiet girl from my childhood took the stage ahead of a rough and rugged lineup of hip-hop acts, decked out in a red suit meant to make a statement.
Sitting there as a spectator, I had what I can only describe as an outer-body experience as Enisa heeded Statik’s call to the stage. It was as if she was meant to be there. I couldn’t believe he said her name. I couldn’t believe she was going to grab the mic out of his hand, and then wait for the beat to drop - a beat he made for her. My friend was about to perform with one of best producers in the game! #mommaimadeit
I’ll never forget my disbelief when I heard her cover of Hozier’s “Take Me To Church.” - the struggle to process what was happening - “Wait, this is Enisa?!”
Even with the years that followed, the revelation of “That’s Enisa?!” never seemed to fade away as I found myself eagerly awaiting new projects and watched as her star grew. “Glory Days” became the anthem for the young kid I was in high school, aspiring to be the man I am today. “Burn This Bridge” encouraged me to move on from those who don’t share my vision. And apart from being my personal nominee for the 2017 Shower Song of the Year, “Freedom” quite simply kicks your ears in the face.
Though a proud fanboy, I sat in there in awe at the beauty of the voice that validates the personal message she exudes through her music. The voice that earned her the right to be on that stage. Because oddly enough, until last night, I hadn’t had the chance to hear that voice live. My experience with her work had only been through the medium of the headphone. Nevertheless, sitting there in that chair, hidden behind the freakishly broad shoulders of her too-damn-big, 6’9” brother, I felt goosebumps race down the back of my neck. The little girl from my childhood took the mic as a woman commanding a red suit and brought a room of hip-hop heads to their feet. Her message, conveyed. Her voice, undeniable.
“I have a hard time enjoying music with no meaning behind it.”
“Well I guess that’s why you’re a fan of mine, aren’t you?”
Yea, she’s got a point there.