Livestream New York, NY
Material: Big Apple rapper Brodie Bell, alternately known as Brodie NY, has a flow built to match a country stream. Emma Paige, sexy R&B singer extraordinaire, is one of his creative collaborators. Currently the only artist on Bell’s RdoubleF roster, she performed second during this gauzy Livestream that doubled as a CD release party for both artists. Bell’s lyrics explore drug addiction and the struggles he experienced growing up. Paige’s material covers interpersonal matters, such as breaking free from expectations of dependency within a bad relationship.
Musicianship: Bell and Paige used strictly prerecorded instrumentation for this performance. Although their vocal abilities are pretty much extraordinary, a lack of players meant less musical skill on display. Bell’s soul glow rhythms spread like melted butter, yet his old-school style lacks originality. Likewise, his streetwise beats please eardrums without forging new ground. Paige is an exceptional singer, bursting with emotion and range. Sadly, layers of artifice dampen their talents.
Performance: Bell and Paige each delivered a regretfully short smattering of songs from what appeared to be a home studio. Bell ably spits rhymes and Paige is capable of intense vocal fireworks, yet the hard divide between their performances created a disjointed feel. Blue-tinted, constantly moving camerawork made everything feel like an underground music video. While this added to their appeal, it also diluted the sense of intimacy that livestreams are so apt at delivering.
Before long, music gave way for a Q&A chat that ran far longer than the cumulative runtime of their songs. Topics of discussion included forthcoming projects, musical influences and Brodie’s affinity for lyrics about Spider-Man.
Summary: Without question, Bell and Paige possess powerful skills. Where they need help is in the presentation department. The manner in which they currently display themselves is unlikely to catch fire with an indifferent public. And though they lack the oddball perspective that makes pioneering artists eminently recognizable, they both display great potency. A dose of managerial expertise would likely set them on a better career path.