Kalae Nouveau Rips Stage at R Bar with a New Name and Sound
Kalae Nouveau told us she hadn't peformed with a live band in a year and half but you wouldn't have known it standing in the audience at R Bar last night. Donning black lipstick (a change from her former "Kalae All Day" and signature bright-red lip gloss days), a vintage style black evening dress with broad, embroidered shoulders, she shimmered like gold, like royalty. Classy, but still kickin it and spittin' lyrics while barefoot. There was something earthy and grassroots about it, and with her Mom in the audience singing loud to every word you get the feeling that all though she has come a long way in the New York underground music scene, she is far from forgetting her roots. The energy of this woman and the crowd was a synergistic display worth way more than the $8 that was charged at the door. She expresses with her cat-like eyes almost as much as she does with her mouth, and that makes sense: her new single is "Word Theft." Hm. I might need to dedicate that song to an ex. It's about the vicious cyle that is the result of the communicative stalemates that plague undefinable relationships. When giving the silent treatment is all you can do not to scream. Listen to it and you'll know what I mean.
The range and depth of styles and lyrics she possesses makes for a concoction so dope that it is nothing less than fierce. Add to that she's a fearless woman dominating an overtly masculinized independent music scene and she can see over the top of most men's heads (the woman is an Amazon at 5'10"). She's gorgeous, wise-cracking, indpendent, grounded by family, true to her Harlem and hip hop roots. Talented and ever expanding- that's the artist I witnessed last night.
When asked about the new name and image, Kalae offers a short and quippy response: "It was time for a change." A rose by any other name is still a rose, and Kalae Nouvaeu by any other moniker is still a dope ass artist.
(Photo by Samir Abady Photography)