THE RIGHT NOTE: Dje spreads her wings as she serenades the Essence crowd.
One of the joys of covering the live music scene, especially here in the capital, has been the chance to come across something or someone entirely new – chiefly, amazing young vocal talents ready to be plucked from relative obscurity and thrust into the heart of the wider public consciousness. By all accounts, singer Dje Dyke is poised to have her shining moment.
The twentysomething songstress, who jokes that she is “from the Netherlands” was the featured act at the increasingly popular Tuesday Night Live, a weekly musical performance event put on by the sophisticated speakeasy The Essence, in the heart of King’s Plaza. Dje was tasked with keeping patrons in the groove as they nursed their drinks and devoured their jerked chicken and escoveitched fish. I admit that at the outset I had my doubts that she could reel us in. Boy, was I wrong.
Equal parts melodic and mesmerizing, the pint-sized singer’s hour-long stint (accompanied by the competent Pon Fire Band) offered the stark reminder that you just never know where excellence will spring from. Possessed of enchanting vocal dynamics, the songbird (a fair-skinned lass dressed in a breezy top, jeans and flats) showed why she was tapped for the gig, tunefully interpreting standards and timeless classics, breathing life into such gems as Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why”, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “Cruisin’ Together.”
This is a girl whose tastes impressively span the gamut from jazz-club anthems to R&B to rootsy reggae, so she unsurprisingly made light work of Erykah Badu’s megahit “Call Tyrone” before launching into Bob and Lauryn’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low” and another Marley favourite “Is This Love?” Dje is no Tessanne Chin, but when drops the first few bars of “Underneath It All” you can’t help but swoon under the warm seductiveness of her melodic caresses, each note carefully signed, sealed and delivered.
As for the bigger picture, it helps that on-the-come-up artistes like Dje Dyke are fully aware of the need to strike that chord, forge that rapport with their audience, regardless of the size. With charm to spare and a sly sense of humour, she pulled this off quite neatly – even securing the assistance of ‘Mike’, for her sprightly take on Duffy’s” Mercy,” which she followed up with a spin on the majestic crowdpleaser “Purple Rain.”
Against the backdrop of the tranquil outdoor setting, soothing renditions of Sade’s “By Your Side” and Vanessa Carlton's “A Thousand Miles” went down just as smoothly, and sent us off into the night utterly satiated.