*I will admit it. Before last month, I had never heard of quasi a cappella singing group Naturally 7. That was then. After the performance I saw on May 2 at the Mint in Los Angeles, I will never forget them. They are seven of the most talented men I have ever seen and their concert was, well, I could not recall a concert I enjoyed more.
They perform what they call “vocal play,” which is the ability to make their voice become a musical instrument. Each ones voice made the sound of a different instrument, from drums to guitars and even brass instruments. It was amazing. It did not take long for me to discover what I have been missing all this time: pure talent and entertainment.
The evening began with a warm up band named Cerulean, but we won’t speak about them. Naturally 7 took the stage and THAT is when the evening officially began. Performing their cover of Phil Collins’ “Feel it (in the air tonight), warmed things up and it only got hotter. They performed song after song, each better than the last. “Run Away” which was written by lead singer Dwight Stewart, had me mesmerized. On second thought, the whole evening had me mesmerized.
There was something for everyone. You needed rap, it was there in the form of “Rappers Delight” as well as other rap choruses here and there. You needed a rich baritone voice? It was there as well. You needed eye candy? How about SEVEN fine brothers, with bodies, voices and a rich stage presence. Talk about hitting the lottery.
Naturally 7 engaged the audience, including doing a process of elimination to see what couple had been married the longest. Two couples who had been married forty-three years were treated to Roberta Flack’s “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” How is cool is that?! Talk about REALLY cool…when Warren did a drum solo….without drums. His voice made every drum sound. Naturally 7 can definitely put charming on their resume; but of course I would think that since I was up front and they looked directly at me as they were singing. Engaging the audience…remember?
They seemed to genuinely like each other. The chemistry was unmistakable. Okay, so two of them are brothers; they probably do care about each other, but they all seemed tight. One of my favorite parts of the evening was when six of them stopped what they were doing in midstream and the seventh one turned them back on one by one. They began where they left off, without missing a beat; syncopation at its’ best.
Although the group is from New York, they have roots in Jamaica. With the exception of one member, all of their parents are from Jamaica, so we were treated to a Jamaican moment when the Jamaican flag appeared as they started singing “Englishman in New York” and turned it into a Jamaican in New York and then went into Bob Marley’s, “One Love.” Yep, everyone in attendance was feeling all right, including actor Obba Babatunde and EURweb’s own Lee Bailey.
The evening ended with something reminiscent of a sermon and, “Fix You.” It was a night to remember. I can you tell that I am now a fan. I am hooked. Check out Naturally 7 and you will be hooked as well.
For more on the amazing Naturally 7, just visit their website (www.naturallyseven.com) where you get more info on the group, their new album (Both Sides Now), see more clips of their performances and get their tour schedule to find out when they’ll be in your area.
Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles based writer/reviewer. Contact her via [email protected]