By Sade Smith, News Editor
On Friday night, the CVPA Atrium was filled with supporters of junior CVPA major Caiana Luse.
Christmas lights hung gently over the atrium bannister, lighting the room. Banter filled the area as the audience patiently waited for the singer’s arrival. A set list was provided, lining up the recital’s six songs.
Typical of CVPA majors’ recitals, Luse took the advantage of the spotlight, coming out in a white low-back dress.
Luse greeted her audience for the night and thanked them for coming out, continuing on to introduce her fellow NyLo band members including Ryan Strumpfler on guitar, Antonio Irons on bass and John Dalton on the drums. Mildred Walker and Lannette Begood served as her backup, helping highlight Luse’s strong vocals.
She also took the time to explain that the songs for her recital were ones that she genuinely enjoyed singing. She said, “I tried to choose a variety of songs. I had neo-soul and r&b, as well as jazz. I just wanted to show that I’m interested in a variety of different genres but I actually like to perform them too.”
While Luse’s vocals are heavily jazz-influenced, her talent can take the audience from slow and smooth to a higher energy bossa nova.
A close study and execution of these different styles is what helped establish Luse’s performance skills.
Her classic jazzy voice tinged with soul floated throughout the atrium, swaying people in their seats.
Nervous to perform at first, Luse got on stage and the rest came naturally. Starting off with Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair,” from her recently released album Seat at the Table, the audience was immediately entranced.
For the natural-born singer, the recital was an opportunity to showcase her technical abilities, including vocal range and breathing.
Although her technical capabilities are wide, Luse feels that defining her own sound is a must. “I want to create something of my own. I can’t explain that in words.”
While artistic development cannot be rushed, Luse is eager to discover exactly what her style would consist.
The personal and unique connection an artist has to particular songs or genres can serve as a driving force to defining their own sound.
As a growing artist, Luse will have the opportunity to channel any discoveries she’s made for her senior recital next year.
Preparation for her recital was a long and trying journey, but nothing short of worth it.
Luse even invited people by posting on social media, drawing in new and familiar faces. But being able to consistently perform for Luse has proven to heighten her on stage presence.
Previously, Luse has performed with NyLo for SAIL’s “Tunes at Noon,” S.P.E.A.K. social justice events, as well as with bassist Irons at M.E.N.’s Lost in Black Excellence show, all performed during this year.
The availability of different performance opportunities allows her artistic ability to shine through, creating an ideal live music experience.
She commented, “I feel like the best experience I have performing is always the last. It’s always a learning experience. I get to see where I am and then see what to do to get better.”
Photo Courtesy: Sade Smith